It literally has the power to drain us on a mental, physical, and emotional level.
Before we dive into the steps to prevent or soothe burnout, let’s define it.
Burnout is caused by prolonged stressors over a period of time. Merriam-Webster defines burnout as “exhaustion of physical or emotional strength or motivation usually as a result of prolonged stress or frustration.”
Symptoms can range from mild to severe and can include: exhaustion, depression, lack of motivation, lifelessness, apathy, frustration, feeling overwhelmed, cynicism, hopelessness, prone to illness, and the like. These are not fun!
There are countless articles and studies on stress and the negative effects it has on our health. Suffice it to say that busy professionals easily get into the “fight or flight” mode and often overlook daily basic habits which promote well-being. These are the habits that will also prevent or soothe burnout.
Removing stimulus automatically takes away that added layer of noise, distraction, and “need to attend.” Whether it’s turning off the radio while multi-tasking, or silencing the phone when you are writing your blog, taking away the audio layer is extremely beneficial.
While you’re at it, change your settings on Facebook alerts and other push notifications. This added need to be “on alert” does not benefit your adrenals.
2. Email Management
I hear complaints about managing emails even from the “big-wigs,” and how they feel buried by their obligation to respond. I recommend setting certain times of the day to check and reply to emails (for example, respond at Noon, and 4 pm only). We are living in an instant reply world, but the repetitive pull on your brain keeps you in a responsive mode that overtime is draining and may even be harmful.
3. Batch Tasks
I love this one! It’s the process of collecting similar tasks and doing them all in one block of time. It prevents multi-tasking, conserves energy, increases focus, and is highly productive. Do you have a designing project on the docket? Create all your slides, social media meme’s, banners, and ads all at once. Not only will your project look consistently branded, but you will also save yourself time and stress in the process.
Use a project management tool, like Trello, to help you organize your tasks.
There are loads of apps that can take the mundane, repetitive things off your plate. Many of these are necessary to grow your business, but you don’t have to be a manual slave to them. Create canned responses within your email application for FAQs (you can always add a little, personal touch while the main content remains the same). Another task that can zap our energy is posting on social media.
Try an automated scheduling tool like HootSuite or Meet Edgar to schedule posts, categorize, post on multiple platforms, and even rotate older content to re-use posts…it’s pretty nifty.
We’ve all heard “Get 8 hours of sleep every night.” Yet, somehow this number feels arbitrary when we apply it to ourselves. It can also feel unattainable due to a common tendency (of burnout) to have a buzz of energy late in the evening — known as “wired and tired.” This is because of the consistently elevated levels of cortisol due to stress. However, when we start to balance one area, it will have a positive trickle-down effect on the others. Shut-eye is one of the most important pieces to look at when it comes to stress management, rejuvenation, hormone regulation, and so much more.
I use a Melatonin spray when I need extra sleep support.
6. Ask For Help
Any help at all is…well, helpful.
Whether you hire someone to clean twice a month, get a daily virtual assistant, or ask your partner to run an errand, it can add up to a hefty weight off your shoulders. This can be a challenge for Type-A personalities. However, once you commit to this, it not only “takes the edge off” but it also opens up the space to work on the things that bring you more joy — which is the best stress reducer of all.
Side note here — ask before you think you NEED it.
7. Nourishing Food
This isn’t just for hippie homemakers that have time on their hands. This is a vital component that contributes to a cascade of physical and mental benefits. Nowadays, there are wonderful resources that break down how to source and prepare whole, healthy, and organic foods. Not only for brain health, which promotes sharp cognitive functioning, but also for emotional well-being as well. Daily nourishment is an act of self-love that gives back ten-fold. You are worth it!
Short on time but still want the benefits? I’ve used Daily Harvest for organic frozen/fresh meals delivered to my doorstep — you can’t get any easier than that!
Stillness can come in many forms but can have a dramatic effect on your entire nervous system. Being “off” helps recharge the system giving it time to rebuild and repair, which in turn re-invigorates the entire system. Whether that means putting your legs up for 20 minutes at 4 pm or meditating at 6 am, developing a personal practice of stillness will have amazing benefits.
Need a little support to get still? Buddify might be perfect for you.
9. Gentle Movement
This can be in the form of TaiChi, stretching, or my personal favorite — yoga. Yoga with Adriene, a popular YouTube channel, is the perfect way to incorporate it into your daily routine.
Scheduling time each day to practice says to the Universe, I value and nurture myself, which is pretty powerful.
10. Natural Boosts
Book an appointment with a complimentary health provider. It can be very beneficial to get a custom plan to support your wellness.
In addition to a good vitamin B complex, my naturopath recommended the following herbs for adrenal fatigue(Of course, seek individual counsel for your personal needs):
And if you like aromas (because you know I do!) –
Black Spruce (Picea mariana), Rhododendron (Rhododendronanthopogon), and Rock Rose (Cistus ladaniferus) have a long history of supporting the adrenals, reducing stress, and fortifying the immune system.
You could do a lovely diffuser blend and run it intermittently throughout your workday.
I hope that you found these tips helpful. Pick one or two to implement at first. Get into a routine until they feel like second nature to you, and then go back in to add 1 or 2 more.
By the time you know it, you will be feeling more calm, less “behind the 8-ball,” and blissfully nourished from the inside out.
When you do, I’d love to hear how things are going. Leave me a comment below.