Managing Stress and Preventing Burnout

Stress is an inevitable part of life. You’re bound to face numerous challenges in your daily life, and most commonly, in your work. Whether it’s meeting deadlines, handling difficult colleagues, or managing personal responsibilities, stress can manifest in various forms.

While this is unavoidable, consistent and unmanaged stress can push us to a state called burnout. According to the World Health Organization, Burnout is described as a syndrome stemming from prolonged workplace stress that hasn’t been effectively addressed.

Burnout can not only affect the professional aspect of your life, but it can also cause problems to your overall mental, emotional, and even physical state. So here are the things you need to know about preventing burnout and managing stress. As they always say, prevention is better than cure.

 

How do you know when you’re experiencing burnout?

Burnout entails experiencing three key dimensions: a sense of energy depletion or exhaustion, growing emotional detachment from one’s work, and feelings of negativity or cynicism towards the job; ultimately leading to diminished professional effectiveness.

Everyone has this tendency to go into autopilot mode when they’re in a stressful situation and overwhelmed with work. We won’t necessarily feel the exhaustion unless we’re already spread too thin or until after the job is done. However, before we know it, another job is looming and waiting to be finished.

When you’re consistently working, without having the time to pause and take a break, you’re always on the verge of exhaustion, if not already. Your mental, emotional, and physical states become overworked, but you might not notice until you reach your breaking point — which is what experiencing burnout feels like.

 

Here are the three components of Burnout:

Exhaustion

preventing burnoutThis is a persistent feeling when one is experiencing burnout. It’s characterized by being in a constant state of fatigue that often leaves you feeling drained. Even if you’re just accomplishing simple tasks, you may find it difficult to focus since your brain is not functioning like it used to. It’s like you’re in limbo with no fresh ideas and no creative inspiration flowing.

What’s particularly challenging is the difficulty in breaking free from this state—it’s not something you can easily overcome. The hustle culture, in a way, contributes to this kind of exhaustion as workers would often be in a state of overdrive. When you’re in a fast-paced environment, you’re always thinking of the next thing.

While there are advantages to that kind of culture, it also leaves little room for rest, which may be more counterproductive than we realize.

 

Cynicism

Cynicism or depersonalization is another dimension of burnout. The research defines it as the response of detachment, indifference, and unconcern towards the work being performed and/or the people who receive it. This manifests as negative or unsuitable attitudes and behaviors, irritability, diminished idealism, and a tendency to avoid interactions with service users, patients, or clients. (Edú-Valsania, Laguía, & Moriano, 2022)

 

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When you no longer connect to the work or the people you work with or for, there is a tendency to disengage. You lose interest and completely operate on a different level. A lot of people go through this when they feel tired and unappreciated. This is a way to remove themselves from the situation albeit being unhealthy.

 

Inefficacy

Reduced personal achievement is the last component of burnout. This occurs when one starts to have feelings of incompetence and unproductivity. When you’re at this point, you have a lot of self-doubt and you question the value you’re bringing to the table. The constant self-doubt and questioning of one’s capabilities can perpetuate a sense of anxiety and insecurity.

Consequently, motivation declines, and individuals may struggle to find meaning or fulfillment in what they do. This downward spiral can have significant repercussions on mental health, relationships, and overall well-being, perpetuating the cycle of burnout.

Overall, these three components correlate with one another, however, burnout can still occur differently for everyone. Perhaps two of these components exist, while the other one doesn’t– that doesn’t signify you’re not experiencing burnout. These factors are laid out for you to assess your cognitive and emotional space, where you’re currently at, or what you’re predominantly feeling, so you can flag instances associated with them.

 

What are the ways for preventing burnout?

As scary as it may sound, it happens to the best of us. The good news is, there are ways in preventing burnout and managing the stress you’re currently feeling.

 

Take a pause

take a break preventing burnoutThe easiest and most important thing you can do when under a significant amount of pressure is to take a step back and pause. It doesn’t matter if it’s taking a mental health day here and there, or a 20-minute walk each day, or just a simple 5-minute break – try to remove yourself from that situation and let yourself breathe.

At the end of the day, we are still living and breathing human beings. Our minds tend to function better when refreshed and energized. You can use that time to do breathing exercises, take a nap, eat a snack, or just do anything that will help relieve any anxiety or unnecessary stress.

Once you’re feeling a bit calmer, you might see a difference in how you think and approach the situation.

 

Ask for help

Oftentimes, burnout is a result of doing so many things at once. We tend to get overwhelmed with a lot of things that need to be accomplished within a certain time-frame. If it’s not working out for you anymore, the best route is to let the people around you know. That way, they’ll be able to help you or at least come up with solutions to your problems, relieving you of that burden.

This is also the reason why it’s crucial to surround yourself with people whom you trust. It’s just easier for you to ask for support, without the guilt. You always take comfort in knowing that they’ll come from a genuine place when it comes to matters like this.

 

Change your mindset

balance and preventing burnoutWhile burnout is often influenced by situational factors, mindset can also play a role in how we experience it. There is this thing called Imposter Syndrome, where individuals perceive themselves as fraud despite their accomplishments. It is very much present in the kind of output-driven culture we’ve built.

We start to set unrealistic standards for ourselves all the while expecting to fail. Shifting your perspective frees you from this kind of thinking. A step is a step, no matter how big or small. As you start recognizing your efforts and achievements, you also build your morale and self-confidence.

Over time, you’ll notice a shift in both your performance and outlook on various aspects. Ultimately, burnout, while pervasive and challenging, can be mitigated through self-awareness, proactive coping strategies, and a supportive environment.

Remember its best to implement strategies for preventing burnout, rather than try to remedy the situation after you have reached a point of stress and fatigue that is problematic and persistent.

 

 

About Author:
Paul Jenkin | Life Coach & Somatic Facilitator
With 26 years of experience in alternative health and personal development, Paul coaches entrepreneurs and creatives to let go of limiting programming and empower themselves to reach greater levels of personal freedom, peace and success.

Author of ‘Heartfelt Manifestation’– he enjoys sharing information about a whole range of topics from LOA, optimal health, emotional intelligence, self-sovereignty and business. Schedule a 1-hr Expansion Call Today!

 

 

References:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8834764/

https://www.who.int/news/item/28-05-2019-burn-out-an-occupational-phenomenon-international-classification-of-diseases

 

 

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