Burnout is so much more than just being tired. Burnout is the result of your brain and body trying desperately to cope with a long term energy deficit. Simply put, your gas tank is empty and you are running on fumes.
Burnout is the slippery slot that, if left unchecked, can lead to anxiety, depression, irritability, disengagement from our most meaningful relationships, compassion fatigue, and vicarious trauma. Burnout changes our brain and body including impacting our ability to think clearly, maintain focus, and make it hard to feel like we care. Burnout isn’t just being a little tired, it is being absolutely depleted.
If you or someone you know is depleted, here are 5 steps you can take right away to minimize the impact to your mental health:
1) Accept that you are struggling. Many of us ignore burnout out of the fear we will be seen as weak or lazy. Pride can be the difference between a complete recovery or becoming locked in a downward spiral of burnout. If you are burning out… now isn’t the time for pride.
2) Lighten the load. What would you do if suddenly you were bed ridden? Who would you call for help? What would you stop doing (even if only temporarily)? Where would you stop wasting energy?
3) Put a recovery plan in place. Most people who take a break, fill it with chores and things from their to do list. Make sure the precious time you have for recovery time is about recovery. Let your friends know you might not be in touch as often. Offload and delegate – letting your support people know who to call if there is a problem.
4) Fill your cup! Prioritize healthy nutrition, water and plenty of sleep. Midday naps are 100% approved. If you can get outside for a short brisk walk in the sunshine then do so. Pay close attention to everything you put in your body and mind.. junk food and junk information take a ton of energy to process and offer you nothing as a gain. As you start to feel better don’t hop back in too quickly.. read responsibilities very very slowly to give yourself time to adjust.
5) Reassess. Explore what made you vulnerable to burnout. Why were you taking on so much? Think of ways to re-arrange your day to day to bring the demands more in line with the energy you have. Do you have breaks at work, do take them (all of them)? Can you access child care for an evening so you can have a break ? Is there someone who could help with this? Every little bit helps and every drop in the tank helps us go further.
If you could use a more guided recovery, we are always here to help you. Our skilled clinicians will help you create a customized plan that can work around your life and responsibilities. If you’d rather go it alone, you can always post any questions in the BSCP Resource Group.
It’s time to feel better!
Start putting your plan together today and we’ll see you in the BSCP resource group for more tips on making the most out of your mental health!
Have you found these tips helpful? Are you looking for more? Jump over to our Facebook page (@bskinnerpsych) and leave a comment or join the BSCP Resource Group (BSCP Resource Group | Facebook) for more tips including live Q&A!
Bonnie J. Skinner, MEd, CCC, RP
B. Skinner Coaching & Psychotherapy