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How to Identify and Prevent Burnout

Burnout is often referenced in the workplace and is a state of emotional, physical and mental exhaustion caused by an excessive amount of prolonged stress. It typically occurs when you feel overwhelmed, unable to meet commands, and emotionally drained. However, it isn’t always easy to spot and friends and family may be experiencing burnout and stress which we can help with.

Burnout makes it difficult to cope with stress and handle day-to-day responsibilities, and if left untreated can lead to serious illnesses like depression, diabetes or heart disease. Anyone who experiences high levels of stress for a prolonged period of time can experience burnout.

What Are Signs of Burnout?

If you or someone you know is experiencing burnout, it may not be explicitly obvious. However, some tell-tale signs include:

  • Even with getting enough sleep, someone experiencing burnout will feel physically and emotionally exhausted at all times of the day. Some physical symptoms may even include no appetite, stomachaches, or headaches.
  • When experiencing burnout, you may be more easily agitated by friends, family, or co-workers. Completing regular tasks such as a regularly scheduled work meeting, driving the kids to school, or running errands can feel extremely hard to overcome.
  • Burnout causes people to feel drained, emotionally and physically, which can lead to people distancing themselves and begin to feel numb. Because people with burnout feel overwhelmed, they may not want to socialize with friends and family.
  • During the early stages of burnout you may experience mild symptoms of tension, worry, and uneasiness. As you continue to not take a break or treat your burnout, the anxiety may become so severe that it interferes with your ability to work productively and may cause problems in your personal life.
  • Frequent illness. Burnout and stress can lower the performance of your immune system making you more susceptible to colds, flus, and other illnesses. Burnout also can lead to mental health illnesses such as depression.

How to Avoid Burnout?

Stress in life is inevitable, however burnout is avoidable. By following some of these steps, you’ll be able to prevent burnout from getting the best of you.

  • Exercise is beneficial for your mental and physical well-being. Exercising daily can improve your mood, boost your energy, combat disease, and promote better sleep to name a few. Short on time? Even going for a walk or a quick mini-workout will be beneficial in combating burnout.
  • Eat a balanced diet. A healthy diet filled with omega-3 fatty acids can be a natural antidepressant. Try eating foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acid such as salmon, flaxseed oil, and different types of nuts to give you a mood boost.
  • Take a break. Every couple of months take time for yourself to focus on your mental health. Go on vacation, go to the spa, or just simply take a day or two off work to relax and enjoy some free time. Try meditating, journaling, or just getting out into nature.
  • Be sure to get enough sleep. Sleep is one of the most important things our body needs each day. People need at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night so our bodies can rest and reset. To do this, try avoiding caffeine before bed, establish a relaxing bedtime ritual such as reading, and avoid using your cell phone or watching tv in your bedroom. This will help you develop a good night’s sleep.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help. When you’re super stressed out, don’t be afraid to ask for help or guidance with a certain situation. You can also vent to family and friends so that everything isn’t bottled up inside.

Burnout can often feel insurmountable, but this feeling of being overwhelmed is a signal our mind and body is giving us that we need to address. By understanding the symptoms and causes and following these tips, you can prevent burnout and understand how to cope with it.

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