There are a ton of burnout articles rolling out lately. This blog post may seem like just another resource saying "yeah, you're burned out." However, we want to make this a resource for coping strategies and how to actually navigate burnout. Let's dive in!
Is it possible to turn a corner with burnout? Yes. Definitely. Start by sitting down, without extra interruptions, and devote 20 minutes to journaling about what are your main stressors or triggers for stress. Then take that list and rank the items from most stressful to least. This first step helps to solidify and put in perspective what it is specifically fueling burnout.
Let's talk strategies. Looking at what we call the "4 Cs" (Community, Communication, Connection, Creativity), we can gather a lot of information about how you can be supported and how to take care of yourself.
-are you involved in any personal hobbies or activities? If not, it's important to engage with what your community offers. Take that yoga class. Sign up for that talk at the library. Go to a park district event. Get outside of your work and home world. This is especially true since many of us are working from home. The line gets very blurred shifting to personal from work and vice versa.
-are you communicating how you're feeling or sharing concerns or needs with your work supervisor? A great way to address concerns at work is to set up a meeting with your supervisor or employees and check in. This is even more important with the work from home world. Remember: no one knows what they don't know.
-work on communication skills with regards to anyone in your life; use "I" statements; actively listen without interrupting someone; be open to influence
-just reach out - reach out to friends, family, mental healthcare professionals
-having a support systems is key for mental wellness
-make a point to connect with a friend, family, or even co-workers
-focus on opposite action: when you feel like isolating, do the opposite; follow through on those social plans, pick up the phone, connect with a neighbor, etc.
-tap into the right side of your brain; fostering the creative part of you can help increase positive mood and reduce depression and anxiety
-identify your hobbies or interests and commit to doing one activity
-carve out time to engage in your identified activity at least once a week if not more
There can definitely be solace in knowing you are not alone. Many people are experiencing burnout at an all time high. Coming up with active strategies, like the ones of above, can help combat burnout. Additionally, take a step back and take inventory on how balanced, or imbalanced, your work and personal life is. Is there anything you can change or eliminate that triggers stress? Avoid getting sucked into your phone. Go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day. Fuel yourself with liquids and food. Stop skipping meals. Listen to your body. Start drawing boundaries. Protect your down time fiercely. Ask for help.
You've got this. And if you need more support or tips, consider seeing a therapist or attending a support group. The resources are out there.
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Meghan Reitz, LCPC, NCC, has worked within the counseling profession for over 17 years. Her therapist experience includes providing individual, couples, family, group, and crisis counseling. She also speaks with companies and groups on mental health and wellness topics. Learn more about Meghan here.