How To Recover From Burnout

Burnout affects people way more than we realize. If you’re constantly stressed out about work and lacking energy, you might be getting close to burnout – here’s how to handle that.

Burnout is a common condition that’s mostly linked to mental exhaustion caused by work. The causes can vary from bad working conditions, toxic environments, long hours, etc. Usually, this is a gradual process that’s hard to notice, and most people are only treated after they’ve been on the deep end for a long time.

Unfortunately, this condition affects so many people that are never able to take a step back and take care of themselves. We live in a culture that encourages constant work, and you can easily fall into the trap of burning yourself out, even if you love what you do.

Let’s take a look at what burnout is and if you identify with these symptoms, below are some tips that will help you recover.

What is burnout

Burnout is defined by a condition of mental (and sometimes physical) exhaustion caused usually by work. The specifics can vary a lot depending on the working conditions, but it’s most commonly associated with long hours, no time for vacation or hobbies, toxic work environments, and more.

Staying in this mindset for long periods of time can lead to burnout, a condition similar to depression where you will struggle to concentrate and find the energy to perform basic tasks, which can bleed into your personal life just as much as work.

Identifying burnout

A simple way to identify burnout is by watching for the most common signs:

  • Little to no motivation
  • Fatigue
  • Lack of concentration
  • Apathy
  • Negativity
  • Low productivity
  • Irritability
  • Insomnia

These symptoms are not exclusive to burnout, but they are a pretty clear indicator that something is wearing you down. Long periods of time with feelings like these can lead to a depressive episode.

What to avoid during this stage

If you find yourself in this situation, it’s time to take a step back. One of the most common reasons people get stuck in burnout is because they convince themselves that there’s nothing they can do about it.

And let’s be clear, work can be overwhelming. Everyone has to eat some frogs, but when your mental health is going down the drain, you have to take back control to some degree.

So first of all, don’t blame yourself for being in this position. Everyone has their limits – there isn’t a single person in the world that is immune to burnout. The fact that you’re having a hard time handling work has nothing to do with your skill or endurance level and there should be no shame in needing a break.

How to start recovering

Reach out to the people you love. At a time like this, it’s very easy to isolate yourself, which is also a common symptom of burnout. Try to stay close to the people you love and distance yourself as much as possible from anyone bringing you down.

Seek professional help. A psychiatric professional can really help you set yourself straight because burnout is a doorway to depression, a medical condition that requires medication and long-term treatment.

Take short breaks. Most people are in no position to go on vacation at will, but you can start finding some peace by taking short breaks during the day. Try to take breaks from technology as well, taking the time to read a book or practice some exercise – both activities that will improve your mood.

Exercise. No one likes to hear this one, but facts are facts. Exercise provides huge benefits to your physical and mental health, even if you can only go for 30 minutes a day.

Don’t try to compensate with drugs. I don’t even mean illegal drugs, I’m talking about alcohol, nicotine, caffeine, and yes, even sugar. It’s common to rely on these drugs when you feel like your body needs a “boost”, but this is obviously a trap. Reliance on drugs to get anything done is how drug addictions begin.

How to prevent burnout in the future

Exercise. As mentioned before, exercise is a huge deal. Ideally, you’d want to go to a gym, but if you can’t at the moment, look up a simple bodyweight routine that you can practice at home for 20-30 minutes – it’s enough to get you started.

Get enough sleep. Sleep is one of the most important things. Without proper sleep, nothing else is going to work because this is how your mind rests. Once again, take it easy on caffeine and practice some exercise: it will help you get some sleep if you’re having trouble.

Eat well. Sugar and wheat give you a lot of energy instantly, but they’re extremely addicting and therefore can make you dependent – just as much as a drug. If you don’t believe me, try to cold turkey yourself out of both: it will be absolute misery. It’s ok to eat either of these, just not on every meal. Opt for balancing it out with good sources of protein and vitamins.

Keep a journal. It might seem silly, but journaling is a good way to learn more about yourself. You will be able to identify what leads to stress and learn to prevent it before it becomes an issue in your life.

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