Burnout is easy to overlook, but it can affect just about anyone. The common set of burnout symptoms can hit both employees and leaders, so no one is completely resistant. Basically, this everyday term refers to unmanaged stress at work that explains fatigue, difficulty focusing, anxiety, and/or a loss in motivation. If not acknowledged and addressed, this can be damaging to both our work and personal life (Forbes). We know that if we don’t put in the time now, we’ll have to deal with burnout later… So, how can we build mental resilience to feel good and avoid that dreaded burnt out feeling?
Begin by making a list of activities that leave you feeling happy and relaxed. From these options, narrow down what you can do daily or weekly to provide a break during your stressful workday. If you’re not sure what sort of activities can benefit you by offering this mental resilience, here are some ideas to get started.
Learn to identify when you feel the inklings of stress and why, so you can determine what triggers you and prepare for it. Then you can implement these next mental resilience activities asap.
Whatever suits your fancy! Music has been proven to affect stress levels, so listen to whatever makes you feel good. Whether it’s classical, calming, or “Can’t Stop The Feeling” by Justin Timberlake—create a playlist that improves your mood.
Time and time again, it’s important to note that physical activity is a great stress-reliever. Stretching, walking, or gardening can reduce any bubbling tension, so you can focus on a task without worrying about the twenty-million other things on your plate.
If you feel like you always need to be reachable (for your job), then dedicate a specific time in the evening to officially shut down and shut off your phone, laptop, or tablet. This allows you to break up your day and differentiate between working hours and downtime, so you can truly relax.
Sometimes we run on caffeine and a few hours of sleep. We understand that being a parent or working a side hustle can easily affect your sleeping patterns; however, find one or two days a week where you can catch up on that missed sleep. It’s okay to lose sleep in small doses, but you should make an effort to correct your sleep schedule and give yourself a good night’s rest. The benefits are astronomical—providing improved memory and focus as the brain functions at the level it’s supposed to.
It’s easy to get wrapped up in whatever you’re doing, but give yourself a breather. When you’re living every day based on an intense schedule, be sure to allocate five minutes here and there to close your eyes and breathe. If you’re stressed or having a bad day, this may be the perfect opportunity to hit “restart” on your day. Start fresh!
Even though these things may feel like time-wasters when you’re on a deadline, they work to benefit you and your productivity/level of engagement. Developing a reserve of activities when you’re feeling stressed or anxious provides the necessary tools to build up your mental resilience against burnout. To learn more, keep reading Bouncing Back From Burnout.