Covid-19 has reigned for over a year, and we would be lying if we say we have not had enough. At this point, it is common for the brain and body to feel overworked, and overwhelmed. Working from home, with steady workload, and minimal physical contact tends to catch up with one's self. If you consistently experience high levels of stress without taking steps to manage or reduce it, exhaustion eventually takes over.
There are very subtle signs to burnout. It happens gradually, and most of the initial symptoms usually go unnoticed. However, once it does take hold, it can affect your ability to function across all aspects of life.
What are the common signs of burnout?
• Forgetfulness and lack of concentration
• Frustration and irritability
• Unexplained muscle tension, pain, and fatigue
• Losing sight of yourself and your goals
• Difficulty maintaining relationships
Burnout can have a far-reaching impact often affecting your life negatively. It is necessary to address burnout, since more often than not, it only gets worse. So how does one recover? While there is no set formula, there are several steps one can take to get started on the road to recovery.
Find the source
One can only make changes when they know what needs to change. Burnout is often related to professional triggers, like the stress of an increasingly demanding job. It does not necessarily mean that that is the only source. Your burnout could be because of a rigorous academic schedule, or dealing with relationship problems, caring for a loved one with chronic health conditions, or taking on too much. While the stress of individual factors may be manageable, a combination of multiple factors may easily overwhelm you.
So what can you do to cope?
Lighten your load
It is easy to take on too much at a time, especially when you are ambitious. Try and accept that doing it all is not realistic. Learn to say NO. That is the one key to a stress-free life. Those with people-pleasing tendencies tend to take on too much to avoid letting anyone down. Evaluate your existing commitments and any that feel a tad too much, consider cancelling them or rescheduling them.
If you are feeling overwhelmed with the prospect of sorting out causes of your burnout, look for ways to ease your stress. Burnout can become too much for one to take and determining how to address it does not come easy. It is also hard to identify potential solutions when you feel completely spent. Involve a trusted one to help you feel supported and less alone. Seek their help in finding clarity.
Use the following tips:
• Prioritise tasks
• Say No
• Don't bring work home
• Set boundaries
• Push pause whenever needed
• Practice self-compassion