5 ways to combat Burnout For a Healthier Body and Mind

Healthy Body and Mind
In our fast-paced, results-driven society, it’s no surprise that burnout is an increasing phenomenon for both adolescents and adults alike. There are rising demands placed on individuals to do well in their personal and professional lives.

Burnout is a stage that we don't want to reach because it signifies that the body and mind have worked past their limits.

It can be easy to put your health on the back burner and just hustle on, as the majority of us have been taught to do. However, burnout can have detrimental long-term effects, especially if it’s left unchecked. The good news is there are ways to help prevent burnout or help us heal from it quicker.

5 Burnout Remedies

1. Set Proper Boundaries

In the COVID era, many people had transitioned to working from home wherever it was possible. This meant that separation between work and home was extremely difficult, not only in terms of physical space, but also as the time to commute to and from your destination had also disappeared. People had to train their brains from being "off" at home to being "on" in the blink of an eye. 

As more people are returning to their physical workspaces, the separation between work and home has become easier. However, there are still challenges, as many people literally and figuratively “take work home” with them. This has been an easy thing to do with advancements in technology, as well as the systems put in place due to COVID. Consequentially, this increases the demands on your body and mind and creates a recipe for burnout.

Periods of rest are required to enhance productivity during work hours. The following are some tips to decrease the risk of burnout for those returning to their physical workspaces:

» Use the commute time to do something you enjoy (e.g., read, listen to podcasts/music).

» Finish your work at work and leave unfinished tasks on a to-do list for the next workday.

» Have strict beginning and end times.

» Mute all notifications after work hours.

If you are still working from home, have the following parameters set in place:

» If possible, work in a space that is separate from where you sleep and where you eat.

» Develop a morning routine before starting work.

» Change into work clothes during work hours, and into life clothes after finishing work.

» Have strict beginning and end times.

» Stay disconnected after work hours and days.

Boundaries in your personal life are also important. Learn to be okay with saying no to others and yes to yourself. Leave the time and space for proper restoration and things that bring you joy, instead of being driven by obligation.

2. Ask for Help

Just because you can do it all, doesn't mean you should. Asking for help not only allows you to decrease your burden, but also allows you the space to only do what you do best. This can result in increased enjoyment and fulfilment, which are some of the best tools to combat burnout. 

This applies to both your personal and professional life. Determine what it is that only you can do and what is solely your responsibility, and delegate the rest wherever possible. If you're the type of person who takes care of everyone first, teach others not to need you; do not take on what is not yours to carry.

3. Prioritize Sleep

Sleep is one of the most underrated and underappreciated aspects of health; however, it is the most crucial in maintaining a healthy body and mind. Above all else, sleep should take priority. Aim for a minimum of seven to eight hours per night. Do not sacrifice sleep for exercise. If your to-do list is impacting the time you're able to get to bed, either learn to shorten your to-do list for the day, ask for help, or set better boundaries (see Tip 1).

Help yourself get a good night's rest by staying away from electronics and artificial light sources in the evening, going to bed and waking up at the same time every day, and avoiding heavy meals or exercise too close to bedtime.

4. Ensure Nutrition Basics Are in Place 

Your body and mind need fuel to meet the demands of your day, so don’t skip meals and make sure you're eating at least three solid meals a day. Keep up with your water intake too, and remember that coffee and caffeinated beverages do not count towards hydration. Ensure that your intake of macronutrients (i.e., carbohydrates, protein, and fats) is well-rounded, but if given the option of only one, focus on protein-dense foods to help balance blood sugar levels (e.g., nuts, seeds, chicken, and eggs).

For busy individuals, meal prep is your best friend. Spend one day grocery shopping and cook meals for the week so that you have ready-to-go nutritious meals on hand.

5. Be Intentional About Joy 

It is far too easy to just "let things happen." We schedule our appointments and we have work hours, but we don't often think about scheduling joy. When was the last time you did something just for you that was fun? How often are you doing things that feed your soul?

Without being intentional about joy, life can just pass us by. The days, weeks, and months continue through the same cycle of sleeping, eating, work, and other obligations; rinse and repeat. We need to start scheduling joy just as seriously as we schedule doctor's appointments.

Choosing joy is the best form of self-care. When you make conscious decisions about doing things simply because they make you happy, it can be a powerful shift in mindset that leads to great things. It's a reminder that throughout the hustle and bustle of day-to-day life, you are important and you deserve to feel good in your own body. To keep being well for yourself and for those around you, this is a necessity.

Our bodies are smart. They often send signals to us asking for help, but we must learn how to read them. 

As a society, we need to stop wearing exhaustion as a badge of honour. When getting to the burnout stage feels like a reward that has been unlocked, we feed into a vicious, negative cycle that only promotes poor mental health and chronic disease.

The bottom line is that things won't change unless you do. If you're tired of feeling exhausted, help break the cycle by doing something about it.