With stress at an all-time high from threats of coronavirus, job loss, remote school and more, many people are finding themselves on the wrong side of burnout. It can happen before you realize it.
Burnout sneaks up on people because there are many contributing factors. Your emotions, workload, stress level, depression level, and care giving demands all play a part in contributing to burnout.
If you feel excessively exhausted, both emotionally and physically, you may be suffering from burnout.
Unlike a virus that simply runs its course, burnout won't get better on its own. You have to make changes to your lifestyle, but first, you need to address the physical deficits.
Heal your body
The mind and body are connected, and the mental burnout you've experienced has physical ramifications. Therefore, you need to focus on getting enough sleep, resting, and eating nutritious foods. Fill in dietary gaps with vitamins and supplements, and aim to get natural sunlight every day.
Set a Routine
As your energy levels start to rise a bit, try to add in small amounts of daily exercise. Set a bedtime, and try to sleep only during nighttime hours. This is a good time to see your doctor and discuss your burnout. It's important to keep stress at bay for now. If you can't accomplish this at home, consider staying elsewhere for a time.
Take steps to heal
As your body physically repairs itself from the extreme stress response you've suffered, you can slowly add in more normal activities. It's time to evaluate what contributed most to burnout and what might trigger it again.
Make permanent life changes that will help you avoid burnout in the future. This might mean asking a family member or close friend for help with housework, going for walks outside, and most important, to find time for yourself. The cause of burnout varies from person to person, so check in with yourself on what you need to change in your life. Only you will know the answer.
Chronic stress is damaging
The longer you go without treating burnout, the worse your health will be damaged. Sustained stress levels contribute to heart disease, sleep loss, depression, anxiety, and diabetes.
Anyone can become a victim of burnout. That's why it's important to try to manage stress levels before burnout occurs. Stress management can be simple daily things, such as meditation or exercise. Whatever helps you feel more relaxed and happier is what you should rely on for stress management.
Some examples of stress-reducing activities include knitting, reading, taking a bath, yoga, deep breathing, and painting. Time in nature is also known to reduce stress levels.
Sometimes it's not stress
For some people, burnout is less a result of having too much to do and more a result of not being passionate about anything. Feeling like you don't fit in, don't matter, or don't contribute something worthwhile will likely lead to burnout. You may not need to reduce stress in your life; rather, you may need to find something to be passionate about.
If changing your career feels too risky, you could look to hobbies as a solution. What have you always wanted to try? What did you enjoy as a child? Asking yourself these questions might help identify where you should start. However, seeing a doctor is still a good idea because burnout manifests as physical symptoms regardless of the source.
Treating burnout is more challenging than preventing it, so it's a good idea to make life changes before full burnout occurs.