Amanda P. Johnson, MS, LAMFT • [email protected]
Everyone goes through burn out. Particularly now – at the end of one of the most stressful years we have had in a while. Although stress is so normal, where it starts to turn tricky is when stress is prolonged and felt at intense levels. This is when stress can lead to Burn Out.
What is Burn Out?
Mental, emotional, and/or physical exhaustion that is often caused by work, stressful events, and sometimes relationships
What are Signs of Burn Out?
Emotional and physical fatigue
Lack of focus or concentration
Loss of enthusiasm or enjoyment
A cynical or pessimistic outlook
Increased alcohol or drug use
Sense of dread
How to Cope with and Prevent Burn Out?
The moment you start to notice a lingering sense of burnout that is not cured by your normal self-care or weekend off – it is time for stricter boundaries. A few boundaries to check:
- Time spent with the stressor
- The frequency you are with/around the stressor
- How much attention you give the stressor (thinking or talking about it)
Whatever stress it is (work, event) put more space between you and it.
- A Break
I know this is not possible all of the time and breaks are necessary AND productive. Breaks help recharge and refocus so you are able to come back at 100% capacity. Breaks can range from 5 minutes when you are noticing you are getting overwhelmed to 2 weeks off.
- Time to Decompress
Plan some time to be still in big ways and in small ways. Being still = you + no other distractions (no phone, no kids, no pets, etc.). This looks like a few deep breaths in between tasks, doing nothing as you drink coffee, or sitting outside and noticing the changing light.
At the end of your day, find a ritual that helps you turn work off and turn home on. For example - when work is over: shut down the computer, maybe change your clothes, notice your achievements for the day (even if it was just surviving), turn your phone on silent, visualize that part of your day ending, and give your brain a few moments to shut down that part of the day.
- Time for Enjoyment
It is pretty simple: plan some time purely for you to enjoy and have fun.