Burnout happens when you are too stressed out for too long, with little relief. It causes exhaustion that can wreak havoc on you both physically and mentally, leading to everything from chronic headaches to depression. But there are proactive steps you can take to reduce your risk of burnout, even if you work a high-pressure job.
What Can You Do to Avoid Burnout?
Take a Vacation
Vacationing is one of the best ways to reset your mind and body, but how you do it matters. Completely unplug as much as possible, not only from work but also from social media and other daily stressors. Explore someplace new or revisit a beloved destination. Either way, radically changing your environment and tuning into your surroundings instead of your phone can help you rest, relax, and shake off symptoms of burnout.
Do What You Love
At work and at home, there are likely tasks that you simply don’t enjoy. But other duties make you feel fulfilled. As much as possible, try to delegate your hated tasks to someone who doesn’t mind them, while you take on the duties that give you joy. For example, if you’re a numbers person, you might find happiness in balancing the family budget and keeping track of petty cash at work. But if numbers make you cringe, see if you can trade those tasks with someone else.
Schedule Free Time
You probably already know how important it is to make time for family, friends, passion projects, and hobbies. But did you know it’s equally vital to make time to do literally nothing? Even if you can only spare half an hour, put that time on your schedule and enjoy the break. Whether you want to watch TV or take a long shower, it’s your time to spend however you choose in the moment.
Learn to Detach
Detaching is a valuable skill not only for self-care, but also for helping you view problems in a new way. It doesn’t mean that you forget about the situation, or even that you stop caring about the outcome. Instead, it simply means that you are able to take a step back and clear your head rather than spiraling into unproductive stress routines. To learn detachment, take up yoga or meditation, or simply practice mindfulness as you go about your day.
Know the Signs
Our minds and bodies are great at letting us know what’s going on, if we tune in and listen. Signs of burnout are individualized, but they generally involve some combination of muscle tension, lashing out at others, and worsening negative thoughts. When you start to feel burnout coming on, boost your self-care routines and unload as many tasks as possible. You may just be able to nip it in the bud.
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