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March 18, 2023

Tips on Preventing Burnout

by Carin Parker, MSW, LCSW

Are you experiencing feeling a lack of motivation regarding responsibilities? Have you been experiencing excessive irritability? Are you feeling apathetic or dissatisfied with your work? Have you been feeling a lack of excitement over new opportunities and assignments? Are you experiencing any changes in sleep and eating habits? Have you been experiencing excessive fatigue and an increase in tension headaches? If so, you may be experiencing burnout.

What is Burnout?

Burnout may sound similar to depression, but it is usually caused by a specific environment or situation while depression does not have to be caused by a specific trigger. Burnout can be common especially during this time of covid when people have been feeling more isolated and less supported by peers.

Possible Causes of Burnout

  1. Feeling a lack of control and an inability to influence job tasks
  2. Unclear job expectations
  3. Having a dysfunctional workplace dynamic
  4. Lacking a work-life balance
  5. Feeling as if your work is tedious or overwhelming.

It’s important to identify ways to attend to your health and well-being while also attending to your job and personal responsibilities.

Things You Can Do to Prevent Burnout

Establish a daily routine including setting boundaries.

Prior to the pandemic, setting boundaries and creating a work-life balance seemed easier. It included ending the workday with getting into the car, taking off a name badge, and driving home.  Now, there are more people who work from home so boundaries with your time might blur a little more. To establish a routine, you may want to set a timer to symbolize the end of your day or create a to do list and prioritize the tasks in order make your daily responsibilities clearer. Build in breaks and personal check-ins into your schedule: If you realize that you are feeling stressed or overwhelmed it may help to take a short walk or stop to get a snack and hydrate. By determining what noncrucial tasks can wait until the next day or after a weekend can be a helpful step towards creating and maintaining that balance by giving yourself time for rejuvenating, relaxation, and rest.

Practice mindfulness.

Try to be as emotionally present as possible. If you feel yourself becoming overwhelmed and unfocused you may consider utilizing deep breathing by focusing on each inhale and exhale. To enhance that experience you may close your eyes, focus on keeping the inhale and exhale the same length, or even participating in a class or doing a restorative yoga video where mindfulness is the focus.

Maintain an exercise routine.

This may increase your social support and improve and regulate neurotransmitters (ex: serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine) that are crucial in helping you feel more mentally healthy and combat stress and depression more effectively.

Some resources to help in learning more about burnout and how to address it include the following:

  1. Job burnout: How to spot it and take action – Mayo Clinic
  2. Burnout: 5 Signs and What to Do About It – Cleveland Clinic
  3. Burnout | Psychology Today

If you feel like you could benefit professional help, visit our website to learn more about Avance Care Behavioral Health services or call 919.237.1337 to speak with a Wellness Coordinator.

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