Feeling stressed now and then is perfectly normal. In fact, a moderate amount of stress can actually make you stronger and better at managing stress in general. The problem is when you’ve got too many things going on all the time, you’re more likely to feel burnt out.
Burnout is a chronic level of stress that can leave you feeling physically and emotionally exhausted, detached and extremely negative. It’s often experienced by employees who have too much on their plate, expect too much of themselves, or feel inadequate. This all adds up to reduced work performance and can be considered a mental health issue.
If you feel like you’re experiencing burnout, or want to actively prevent it, we’ve got you covered. Here are three top tips for avoiding burnout:
Take a break
It might seem obvious, but getting away from work is the best way to avoid burnout. Since we’re now surrounded by the internet and mobile phones with 24/7 access to work emails, it’s easy to fall into the trap of not switching off when you head home for the day. If this is the case, why not consider booking some time off?
Travelling and changing up your environment is a great way to reset the mind and, when you return to work, you’re likely to be filled with new energy. Make sure to leave your laptop at home to avoid the temptation of checking in with the office whilst you’re away. Do something that makes you feel good and helps you unwind, such as booking tickets to see your favourite band perform live or enjoying an outdoor festival to take in both the music and the atmosphere.
If taking time off just isn’t an option, a meaningful break in the middle of the day can do wonders. When eating your lunch whilst replying to an overflowing inbox becomes a regular event, your brain doesn’t get time to recuperate and relax during the day. So, why not try plugging in some headphones and taking a walk during your lunch break? Listening to slow, quiet music can physically de-stress the body, lowering blood pressure, slowing your pulse and reducing levels of stress hormones
Adopt a fitness regime
When you’ve got a lot to think about, the gym is probably the last thing on your mind. When busy, most of us throw exercise to the bottom of our priority list but working out can reduce stress. Exercise also helps to reduce fatigue, while improving alertness and concentration, meaning you can go back into your workload with a fresh pair of eyes.
Even if you don’t fancy an intense gym session or a lengthy run, just taking a walk outdoors and getting some fresh air is proven to improve cognitive function. Put on a playlist of your favourite upbeat music to get you motivated or take it down a notch with some calmer tunes to help you de-stress whilst doing some simple stretching or yoga. If group exercise is more your thing, why not try a dance class or Zumba session? Music has been shown to be a highly beneficial aid to mindset and motivation when exercising.
Ask for help
Delegating some of your task-list is a great way to offload some stress, but we can find it difficult to give up some of our responsibilities. Asking for help is never easy, especially if you’re an ‘I’ll do it on my own’ type of person. You are, however, more likely to get things done and find solutions if you’re not the only person thinking about the problem. It never hurts to admit that you’re over capacity, and it can do wonders for your mental wellbeing.
Making sure that you stay on top of burnout and can recognise the warning signs is important, but it’s not the only way that you can make your working life easier. Finding ways to boost your productivity at work and identifying your particular working style is also helpful for keeping burnout at bay and keeping on top of your own mental health.