July 15, 2024

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Four Tips For Beating Burnout Before It Beats You

Dr. Dawn Brown is a Child/Adult Psychiatrist and Serial Entrepreneur. She’s the CEO/Owner of ADHD Wellness Center & Mental Healthletics™.

Work is a big part of all of our lives, but it shouldn’t be our entire lives. When deadlines loom and more tasks are sent your way, you might accept the mounting pressure as a necessary but temporary sacrifice — and suffer when the stress becomes too much. Work is a responsibility, so we don’t always have a choice on how much we give to it, but giving too much can have serious consequences.

With a constant strain brought on by a heavy workload, burnout can almost feel inevitable. But it doesn’t have to beat you.

Why is burnout such a big deal?

Burnout is more than just stress, and it can affect more than just your mental state. The effects of dealing with this condition can extend into disrupting career prospects, damaging relationships and even harming your physical health. Yes, burnout, while a mental health issue, has been linked to physical problems, such as hypertension and coronary artery disease.

Yet, I believe burnout is avoidable. As a psychiatrist and entrepreneur, I’ve seen that while you might not always have control of your workload, you can own your mental health and take steps to combat burnout. Modern society might make you believe nothing is more important than productivity, but your mental health needs to be a priority as well. Here are a few of my tips for getting started:

1. Step back from the stress to reevaluate. The moment burnout becomes an issue for you is the moment you need to make a change. This doesn’t mean you need to rush right into a solution, but rather that you need to slow down and find a moment to evaluate where the problem might lie.

Look for the root of your stress so that you can find the right way to address it. If you’re simply working too much, better boundaries might be needed. If expectations are too high, that’s a conversation that needs to be had with your manager, client or whoever is putting on the pressure. Whatever the root reason for burnout, you won’t find it if you don’t allow yourself time for rest and reevaluation. 

2. Reconnect with your mind and soul. With some time reclaimed for yourself, you can focus on recuperating mental energy and nurturing your soul. It’s been said that much of the nature of burnout is a disconnect from yourself. I believe the right activity can help rebuild the connection. You might find meditation or exercise to be beneficial, for example. Or, you might want to dig deep into yourself, perhaps with journaling or another tool for self-reflection, to get back to the goals and dreams that really mean the most to you. This can connect you to the inspiration needed to break away from a period of burnout. 

3. Make a plan of prevention. Of course, beating burnout must be more than just applying a temporary bandage to your current situation. I find that prevention can be the best strategy. If you plan for the challenges and how you will combat them, you have a better chance of avoiding burning out again in the future. What I believe is crucial here is to recognize that you can’t control everything, but you may be able to do a lot with what you can control. You may find yourself in more stressful situations, but you can balance these out with boundaries and healthy self-care practices. 

4. Find support when you need it most. It’s also OK if these things aren’t enough for you to escape burnout. Sometimes, life can become too much for us to push through it on our own. Social support can be a big help, whether it comes down to collaborating with co-workers toward a better way to get things done, meeting up for a friendly discussion about what you’re struggling with or seeking professional treatment with a therapist. 

Especially when you recognize that you’re not alone, you can find that burnout doesn’t have to beat you. 

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