How to Avoid Burnout

Burnout is a term that describes long-term physical and mental exhaustion. It can be caused by excessive and prolonged stress either at work or in your personal life. Burnout can make you feel overwhelmed and drained, often leaving you feeling unable to complete simple daily tasks.

Common Symptoms of Burnout

People who have burnout often experience the following symptoms over a long period of time:

  • Emotional exhaustion – feeling constantly tired, drained, and low in energy
  • Stomach pains, digestive issues, and headaches – physical symptoms such as these are common in people with burnout
  • Negativity – feeling negative about work and your colleagues
  • Concentration difficulties – not being able to focus and lacking creativity

Avoiding Burnout

Regardless of what is causing you stress, there are some things you can do to avoid burnout.

Recognise the signs

If you can identify the signs of burnout and make positive changes, you may be able to avoid burnout before it takes hold. Some of the common warning signs include:

  • Feeling tired most of the time
  • Frequent headaches or muscle pain
  • Change in appetite or sleeping habits
  • A feeling of dread, self-doubt, detachment, pessimism, and frustration
  • Withdrawing or self-medicating

If you have any of these signs of burnout, the following tips can put you on the path to avoiding burnout.

Positive self-talk

Start the day by giving yourself a positive pep talk. Encourage yourself to have an amazing day and believe in your ability to tackle whatever the day may bring.

Good nutrition

Eating the right foods will give you long-lasting energy to get through the day and improve your overall health.

Practise self-care

Regularly getting a good night’s sleep, exercising, practising mindfulness, or using coping tools such as listening to music and spending time in nature, etc can help with avoiding burnout.

Improve how you work

Self-reflection, time management, assertive communication, and problem-solving can help you nip burnout in the bud.

Re-assess your work goals, skills, and passion, and stay focussed on your own goals and outcomes. Take note of how you’re feeling while working and take small breaks if necessary.

Begin each day by planning for the day’s tasks and events and minimise distractions such as social media. Set realistic deadlines for completing tasks and learn to say no to tasks that are outside of your job description and delegate when required.

When conflict arises at work manage it in a positive way rather than avoiding individuals or tasks. Compromise when it’s feasible and appropriate to do so without putting added pressure on yourself and express your needs and opinions clearly and respectfully.

Ask for support

If you’re starting to feel overwhelmed, try talking to someone whether it’s a close family member or friend, or even a counsellor.

If stress at work is starting to get too much, seek support. It might be for assistance with time management, the scope of a project, flexibility, etc. You may even be able to access workplace counselling or co-worker support to help ease the load.

It’s common for everyone to bite off more than they can chew at times but by prioritising your health and well-being, burnout can hopefully be avoided.

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