My previous two blogs about how to manage burnout looked at how connecting with other people and reframing the way you look at work can be of enormous benefit. This article looks at more powerful ways we can manage and recover from burnout.
If we’re lucky we spot the warning signs of impending burnout well before we are completely consumed by it and take necessary action. However, it’s probably more like that we steam on past our own individual breaking point, trying to push through the exhaustion. We tend to learn the hard way that this will only cause further emotional and physical damage.
So – spot it early and take some time to pause and change direction by learning how you can help yourself overcome burnout and feel healthy and positive again. And…
Take a daily break from technology
Set a time each day when you completely disconnect. Put away your laptop and switch off your mobile, at least later on in the evening.
Creativity is a powerful antidote to burnout. Try something new, start a fun project, or resume a favourite hobby. Choose activities that have absolutely nothing to do with work or whatever is causing your stress.
Set aside relaxation time
Relaxation techniques such as yoga, tai chi, meditation, and deep breathing activate the body’s relaxation response, a state of restfulness that is the opposite of the stress response.
Feeling tired can exacerbate burnout by causing you to think irrationally. Most of us think we can get by on a lot less sleep than we actually can – between 7 and 9 good uninterrupted hours is ideal
Even though it may be the last thing you feel like doing when you’re burned out, exercise is a powerful antidote to stress and burnout. It’s also something you can do right now to boost your mood. Aim to exercise for 30 minutes or more per day—or break that up into short, 10-minute bursts of activity. A 10-minute walk can improve your mood for two hours. Rhythmic exercise—where you move both your arms and legs—is a hugely effective way to lift your mood, increase energy, sharpen focus, and relax both the mind and body. Try walking, running, dancing, swimming or cycling. Yoga and pilates are also extremely beneficial both as exercise and ways to reduce stress.
Eat as well as you possibly can
- Minimise sugar and refined carbs.You may crave sugary snacks or comfort foods such as pasta or French fries, but these high-carbohydrate foods quickly lead to a crash in mood and energy.
- Reduce your high intake of foods that can adversely affect your mood, such as caffeine and processed foods.
- Eat more Omega-3 fatty acids to give your mood a boost. Go for fish (salmon, mackerel, anchovies, sardines), seaweed, flaxseed, and walnuts.
Quit the cigarettes!
Smoking when you’re feeling stressed may seem calming, but nicotine is a powerful stimulant, leading to higher, not lower, levels of anxiety.
Drink alcohol in moderation (or take a complete break for a few weeks)
Alcohol temporarily reduces worry, but too much can make everything much worse.
Need some advice and support?
If you are struggling with any of the issues raised in this article, or indeed any other emotional issues or life challenges and would like to talk things over in complete confidentiality, call Alison Winfield, Mindfully Well Counselling Cork on 087 9934541.
Book a counselling session today!