Burnout is becoming increasingly common in today’s world, with 77% of people reporting that they have experienced burnout at their current job. Many individuals find themselves feeling overwhelmed, exhausted, and emotionally drained due to the demands of modern life. By implementing the following strategies into your life, you can pave the way for a healthier and more balanced lifestyle.
What Does Burnout Feel Like?
Burnout is a state of complete physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion that is often brought on by prolonged exposure to stress. It’s often described as a feeling of emptiness, hopelessness and frustration. While they share similar characteristics, burnout is not a mental breakdown. Individuals experiencing burnout may feel like they have no energy or enthusiasm, even for activities they previously enjoyed. They may feel as though all their efforts are rewarded with little or no success, which can lead to feelings of inadequacy, irritability, and a general sense of dissatisfaction with life.
The World Health Organization has defined burnout as “a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.” It’s characterized by three dimensions:
- Feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion.
- Increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job.
- Reduced professional efficacy.
Symptoms of burnout can vary depending on individual circumstances but can include:
- Chronic fatigue
- Feeling disconnected from others
- Reduced productivity
- Changes in appetite
- Difficulty concentrating
It’s important to note that these symptoms can also be indicative of other mental health conditions, and it’s crucial to seek professional advice if you’re experiencing any of these symptoms regularly.
How Long Does it Take to Recover From Burnout?
How long it takes to recover from burnout can vary greatly from person to person. It largely depends on the individual’s unique circumstances, the severity of the burnout, and the strategies someone chooses for recovery. In some cases, individuals may experience a significant improvement within a few weeks or months by making changes to their lifestyle, seeking support, and practicing self-care. However, for others, the recovery process may take longer, extending to several months or even years. It’s important to remember that recovery from burnout is a gradual process that requires patience, perseverance, and a commitment to yourself. Each individual’s journey is unique, and it’s crucial to focus on finding a pace that works best for your personal healing. Seeking support from a counsellor or mental health professional can also help you navigate the recovery process, gain personalized guidance, and choose recovery activities that best fit your lifestyle.
How to Recover From Burnout
1. Acknowledge How You Feel
The first step in recovering from burnout is to recognize its presence. Often, people push through the symptoms without realizing the impact it has on their overall well-being. By acknowledging burnout, you take a significant step towards making healthy and essential changes. Understanding the root causes of burnout will aid in developing effective coping mechanisms.
2. Practise Self-Care
Self-care plays a vital role in recovering from burnout. It involves engaging in activities that promote your physical, mental, and emotional state and restore your zest for life. Allocate time each day for activities that bring you joy, relaxation, and rejuvenation. This can include exercise, meditation, journaling, spending time in nature, or pursuing hobbies. Prioritizing self-care will help you replenish your energy levels and combat burnout.
3. Seek Support from a Counsellor
One of the most impactful ways to recover from burnout is by seeking support from a counsellor. A counsellor can offer a safe and non-judgmental environment where you can process your feelings, gain insights into the root cause of your burnout, and develop coping strategies. Working with a counsellor throughout your recovery journey can equip you with valuable tools to better manage stress, set boundaries, and enhance your emotional well-being.
4. Establish Work-Life Balance
Achieving a healthy work-life balance is crucial for preventing and recovering from burnout. Evaluate your current work situation and identify areas where improvements can be made. It’s important to set boundaries between your professional and personal life. This can look like setting designated work hours, making time for hobbies and relaxation before or after work, and ensuring you have regular breaks during the workday.
5. Cultivate a Supportive Network
Building a supportive network of friends, family, and colleagues who understand and empathize with your experience is vital for recovery. Surround yourself with individuals who encourage self-care, promote healthy habits, and offer emotional support. Sharing your feelings and experiences with people you trust not only helps alleviate the emotional burden, but also eliminates feelings of isolation that often come with burnout.
6. Practice Mindfulness and Stress-Reduction Techniques
Mindfulness can be highly beneficial in feeling grounded again. Mindfulness involves being fully present in the moment and non-judgmentally observing your thoughts, feelings, and sensations. By practicing mindfulness, you can reduce stress, enhance self-awareness, and improve your overall health. Choose an exercise that works for you, such as deep breathing exercises, meditation, yoga, taking a warm bath or listening to calming music. These practices can help you manage stress more effectively, restore balance, and alleviate burnout symptoms.
7. Reassess Your Priorities and Set Realistic Goals
Burnout often comes on when you feel overwhelmed by a constant need to meet impossibly high standards or juggle too many responsibilities. Take some time to reassess your priorities and evaluate whether they align with your values and overall well-being. Are there tasks or commitments that can be delegated to someone else, eliminated, or postponed?
This can also tie into goal-setting. Reflect upon your long-term goals and set realistic and achievable milestones along the way. Breaking down larger goals into smaller, more manageable ones can alleviate the pressure and create a sense of accomplishment, which is the antidote to burnout. By aligning your actions with your values and setting achievable goals, you can regain a sense of control over your life and reduce the risk of burnout.
As you discover how to recover from burnout, remember it’s a gradual process and it’s essential to be patient and kind to yourself. Implementing a combination of these strategies, along with seeking professional support, can help you overcome burnout.
Recovering From Burnout
Recovering from burnout requires a combination of self-reflection, self-care, professional support, and positive lifestyle changes. By implementing these strategies into your daily routine, you can take significant steps towards overcoming burnout and achieving a healthier, more balanced life. Remember, seeking support from a counsellor can be monumental in working through burnout and feeling like yourself again. Feeling like you need support? A Wellin5 counsellor is available. Learn more.