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  • Writer's pictureDena Lampert

It's Time To Take A Break

I just returned from a vacation that I am only now realizing was long overdue. Between building a group practice, covid lockdowns, and sending my daughter off to college, before I knew it it had been 4 years since I’d taken a real break and I was feeling the effects.

Due to the pandemic, the lines between work and home life have become increasingly blurred as many people are working longer hours, looking after children during the work day, and working from home more frequently. Sometimes our day-to-day responsibilities can get a bit too much. After feeling like this for a prolonged period of time, we can start to feel tired, unenergetic, lethargic, unmotivated, and essentially, burnt out.

What is burnout?

Burnout is a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress that occurs when you feel overwhelmed, emotionally drained, and unable to meet the demands of everyday life. If you’re struggling with burnout you might feel exhausted and sluggish, and simple tasks might feel overwhelming to complete.

What are the symptoms of burnout?

Symptoms can vary from person to person but here are some of the most common symptoms.

Physical symptoms:

  • Feeling tired most of the time

  • Lowered immunity and frequent illnesses

  • Change in appetite or sleep habits

Emotional symptoms:

  • Having a sense of failure and self-doubt

  • Feeling defeated

  • Loss of motivation

  • Negative outlook on life

  • Decreased satisfaction and sense of accomplishment

These symptoms can lead many people to:

  • Withdraw from responsibilities

  • Isolate from others

  • Procrastinate

  • Skip work, go in late and leave early

How to deal with burnout

Whether you’re already at severe burnout or you’re just starting to notice the signs, pushing through and carrying on is only going to make it worse. It’s easy to say to ourselves “one more day” or “one more week” but the chances are when you get to that point you’ll just keep going and you’ll end up feeling worse. Now is the time to take a break and change direction by learning how to overcome burnout and prevent it from happening again in the future.

Tip 1: Make changes to your routine

The first step in overcoming burnout is to look at your current routine and schedule and see what you can change. If you don’t have breaks scheduled into your day, schedule them in. And if you do have them scheduled but you don’t take them, or you don’t take the full amount of time, then start taking the full break. It’s important to step away from the computer or whatever it is that’s causing you stress, to attend to your health and wellbeing.

Tip 2: Turn to others

Turning to others and sharing your struggles with them can reduce the sense of loneliness you might feel from being burnt out. Opening up won’t make you a burden to others, in fact, it will most likely strengthen your friendship. Share with your friends/family what’s making you feel burnt out and listen to what they have to say. Take on board their suggestions and just generally spend time with them.

Tip 3: Maintain healthy habits

It’s common and understandable that you may want to stop working out or stop cooking healthy meals for yourself if you’re feeling burnt as you will likely be feeling tired and unmotivated. However, exercise and eating healthy is a powerful way to combat stress and burnout and it’s also easily accessible. Aim to exercise for 30 minutes or more per day. You can even break that up into short 10-minute bursts of activity if it’s easier to fit into your schedule. Similarly, aim to eat healthy meals each day full of protein, healthy fats, and vitamins. Ready meals and takeout might be easier and quicker to prepare but they will leave you feeling worse in the long run.

Preventing burnout in the future

Recognizing burnout is the first step in preventing it. Once you recognize the symptoms once, you’ll be better able to recognize them in the future and take action faster based on what you know will help. If you find yourself struggling with burnout regularly then it might be time to reassess your current situation and see if more drastic changes need to be made, such as finding a new job, to get you back to feeling well.

If you’re struggling with symptoms of burnout and are looking for some extra support, reach out to one of our qualified therapists. We’re here to help and you don’t need to suffer alone.


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