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How Do I Avoid and Repair Burnout?

By: Bridgette W. Gottwald, LPC, NCC

We all know that familiar feeling of burnout – when we are pushed to our breaking point and are about to snap. Burnout is defined by the World Health Organization as “a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.” The pandemic has not made things easier – we now bring our work stress home, and for some of us, it manifests there due to remote work. 

“I’ve seen that at the core, burnout prevention is about living out what is true about your body, your personality, and your reality” (Elizabeth Grace Saunders). 

Avoiding Burnout

To prevent burnout from happening in the first place, we should focus on short things that don’t take up a lot of time but are consistent within our routines. Avoiding burnout needs to be a daily practice that we commit to. For example, to maintain good dental hygiene, we brush our teeth every day for a few minutes – this doesn’t take long but it’s incorporated into our routine and daily practice. If this doesn’t take place, you might be in for expensive dental work down the road. When you know you have been pushing yourself hard or too far, be sure to pay attention to warning signs. Although stress and overworking are apparent, burnout has a way of sneaking up on us. 

What Are Warning Signs of Burnout? 

This might look different for everyone, but here is a list of common signs of burnout: 

  • A negative or critical attitude 
  • Difficulty sleeping 
  • Overwhelming feelings of inadequacy 
  • Physical ailments such as headaches, backaches, or nausea
  • Feelings of numbness or emptiness 
  • Difficulty performing day-to-day tasks 

Repairing Burnout 

Once you have gotten to your breaking point, you are going to have to dig deep and commit time to heal and recover. Figure out which practices work best for you and spend some time committing to them. For example, a quick five-minute meditation will not get you out of a hole or bad place. When thinking about what to do – consider your basic needs first. A good and non-intimidating place to start would be walking – our bodies are designed for movement. Start small, even if it’s just a short walk around the block. Then, think about breathwork and meditation. Next, consider nutrition and hydration. Without the proper nourishment, your body will naturally search for quick fixes and less healthy snacks. Healthy meals and proper hydration will help to maintain your energy levels. Lastly, and perhaps one of the most important things you can do for your body – sleeping is essential to preventing burnout. 

“You can help reduce the energy depletion associated with burnout and facilitate restoration by prioritizing three universal core needs: sleeping, eating, and moving” (Elizabeth Grace Saunders)

Set Boundaries

Are there some areas within your life that need stronger boundaries? Think about people, things, or actions that drain you, and how you could create a better relationship with those things. Forbes recommends that you “find 4-5 mini resentments that might be creating irritation and impatience, then finding a way to fix them before they build up and become overblown.”

What have you done recently to ensure that your tank is full? If you run your car dry of gas, you are going to stand at the gas station longer than you would for just a top-off in an effort to maintain. You should treat yourself the same way and ensure that every day you are practicing self-care to avoid running that tank dry. 

If you would like to talk to a licensed counselor about burnout and have support on your journey as you work to avoid and prevent these feelings, we are here to help. Explore our counseling services online, and contact Symmetry Counseling to learn more about therapy in Chicago, Phoenix, Washington D.C., and Texas.

Reference: 

Glo. (2020). The language of yoga: Preventing vs. repairing burnout. Retrieved from: https://blog.glo.com/2020/09/preventing-vs-repairing-burnout/?GA_campaign=16958286910&utm_campaign=16958286910&utm_term=&utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&gclid=CjwKCAjwwdWVBhA4EiwAjcYJEHiuhY12eRiFhRRZWklwMneYWhbd8R3dbJhYZd99KUC08dtOluSjxhoCCuEQAvD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds

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