If you’ve read this Goodness article about identifying signs of chronic stress or burnout and you’re worried that you may be heading in that direction, there are some key ways and steps to overcome burnout and ensure your physical and mental health remain your number one priority.
That being said, it’s important to remember that experiencing some stress and anxiety throughout your lifetime is normal. Stress, for instance, has many benefits, such as keeping us competitive and helping us achieve higher levels of knowledge, creativity, and strength. The objective is not to eradicate these emotions, but rather effectively manage them so they do not take over your life.
You can avoid burnout by following the three Cs:
Dedicate time to improving — and maintaining — your physical and mental wellbeing.
Have confidence and a sense of responsibility for your decisions. This includes the ability to say “no” and create boundaries with others.
Reassure yourself that life is unpredictable and that change is normal.
Below, we’ve outlined some practices that will help you ease your state of stress and begin to feel like yourself again.
Breathe and relax.
Focus on even, steady breathing and muscle relaxation through meditation, yoga, therapy, and other recreational activities.
Surround yourself with people who are positive. Focus on the here and now and ignore fears that are holding you back. Do not act on impulse — engage with (rather than react to) your emotions.
Learn to say “no”, set boundaries with others, and stand up for yourself.
Create quiet zones for yourself. Take routine breaks and get outside and distract yourself. Turn off electronic devices at designated times of the day to maximize your quality of life.
Create a plan to distract yourself while you wait for the effects of burnout to diminish. Sort through your belongings, clean out your drawers, call your loved ones, etc.
Change your perspective.
Be more creative so that you can more effectively solve problems. This will help improve your mood and overall attitude.
Make sure to eat.
Nourish yourself with positive eating and practice TASTE — take time to eat, attend to the eating process, savor the flavor, talk to yourself about the nourishment, and enjoy the food.
Exercise is both relief and prevention. Physical exercise gives you the stamina to handle stress.
Work on your inner peace.
Your spiritual self is a connection to something greater than yourself. Practice mindfulness and compassion for yourself — and others — any way you can.
Children need recess — and so do adults. Encourage playfulness to bring more positivity into your life.
Seek professional help.
If you’re worried that nothing you’re doing is helping or you’re experiencing dark thoughts, prioritize seeking professional help.
Sailaja Menon is a licensed psychologist at Life Works Holistic Counseling Centre. With over 25 years of clinical experience, Sailaja is the first psychologist from Johns Hopkins University to specialize in multicultural counseling.