I know it happens, we all get to the point of exhaustion and pretty soon we find ourselves looking at the clock counting every second to leave work or worse snapping at our loved ones. There’s a lot on our plates and now with recent events, more people are getting burnt out. Many of us are now working from home with the added stress of keeping the kids quiet during our zoom meetings and praying they have clothes on when they go running by. Not only did we have to create a new normal for our day to day, but we also had to create it for our families.
You know you can’t go on like this, so what can you do to prevent burnout?
First, let’s talk about what exactly burnout is. Burnout is being in a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion. This happens when you are unable to meet constant demands, feel overwhelmed, or emotionally drained. There are 5 stages of burnout:
- Honeymoon phase – where you take on a new job or task. This is the stage you want to be in. Creating coping skills for stress and ensuring the steps you are taking in your job are practical will help you stay in this stage and not feel burnout. Some symptoms you may feel job satisfaction or high motivation and productivity.
- Onset of stress – this is where you realize some days are harder than others. Some symptoms you may feel irritable, less motivation or productivity, headaches.
- Chronic stress – this is where you notice a definite change in your stress. Some symptoms you may feel anger, aggression, and denial.
- Burnout – this is the stage where your symptoms become critical. At this stage, you cannot continue without making changes or seeking help. Some symptoms you may feel empty inside, social isolation, self-doubt, chronic stomach, and bowel problems.
- Habitual Burnout – at this stage the symptoms of burnout are embedded in your life and you are more likely to experience a significant problem such as emotional or physical issues. Some symptoms you may feel chronic sadness, chronic mental and chronic physical fatigue as well as depression.
Now let’s talk about how self-love can prevent burnout. Everyone’s body is different, the symptoms above are just a few. Listen to your body and know the early warning signs when something isn’t right is a great way to start and prevent burnout before it happens. But what are some other ways? We have some tips to help you prevent burnout.
- Create your own space. If you are new to working at home this may be a big one for you. When I transitioned from being in the office to working from home I didn’t realize how much I needed a place to just sit and focus. This also works if you need a place that is quiet to read, listen to music, relax, or journal. Create a space that is positive and clutter-free. Add your favorite scent or chair.
- Get moving! Get out and exercise, get some fresh air, meet some friends for dinner.
- Take some quality time for yourself. Remember that space you created, put it to good use, call your person that you can be most vulnerable with and pour your heart out, take a long hot bath, add some Epsom salt, light some candles, and pour a glass of wine.
- Ask for help. I feel this one is so important! We always feel that we have to do everything ourselves and in one day. It’s just not possible. Get comfortable delegating out chores at home and jobs at work.
- Prioritize your day. I would go home after work and wake up at 2 am thinking of everything I had to get done the next day, or that I didn’t finish that day. Prioritizing my day helped me tackle my to-do list knocking out what’s most important first. I stopped thinking about what had to be done and felt accomplished and present with my family after I got home.
- Say no! I use to struggle with this one. I always felt the need to help or care for someone else, and I never wanted to turn down a job or task. But that has proven to cause a lot of added stress and exhaustion. Now I still say yes, but I pick and choose what I say yes to!
We as caregivers always put the needs and wants of others first, but it’s important to remember to practice self-love so we prevent ourselves from becoming burnt out.