How to Recognize and Avoid Burnout

December 2022

Being active and engaged in things that are important to you can benefit your physical and mental health. You may enjoy working hard at your job, spending time with family and friends, or volunteering in your community. But while being active in meaningful pursuits can make life worthwhile, too much engagement without enough downtime can also lead to burnout.

You’ll know you’re hitting burnout if you’re feeling exhausted, irritable, or anxious — and you don’t have time for yourself. To avoid burnout and restore your sense of wellbeing, follow these self-care tips:

Say no to doing too much

You can’t take care of yourself if you don’t have time. That’s why the first step in avoiding burnout is saying no to invitations or requests for help if you’re already busy.

Add “me time” to your calendar

Maybe it’s exercising, reading a book, or going to the movies. Focus on what brings you joy and helps you to relax — and then do it.

Spend time outdoors

According to the University of Minnesota, being out in nature can help lower blood pressure and reduce stress. If you’re inclined to hibernate during the cold winter months, try bundling up and getting outdoors, even if it’s just for 10 minutes.

Seek professional help

If stepping back and taking care of yourself doesn’t help, this is a sign you may have a mental health issue (like depression or anxiety). If you find yourself struggling more during the winter months, you might have Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, a type of depression. In either case, a doctor can help you establish a treatment plan to relieve symptoms and help you enjoy life again.

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