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Burnout

Practical Tips for Addressing Burnout

Ways to avoid physical, emotional, and spiritual exhaustion.

Burnout is a state where someone reaches physical, emotional, and spiritual exhaustion caused by a depletion of the ability to cope with the environment; it occurs when perceived demands outweigh perceived resources.

But burnout is not inevitable. There are several ways to avoid burnout that involve planning, life activities, keeping an optimistic perspective, and faith.

Photo by Christian Erfurt on Unsplash
There are several practical ways that may help reverse the feelings of burnout.
Source: Photo by Christian Erfurt on Unsplash

Planning:

  • Set a goal and break it into easily-managed pieces; take small steps to reach each piece
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  • Reward yourself as you complete each piece, and when you reach the goal (a reward can be a break, social time, or simply working on a less-demanding task)
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  • Tell others in your life what your goals are and enlist their support
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  • After you reach your goal, work to maintain your improvements
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Life activities:

  • Engage in meaningful leisure activities, including activities you enjoyed in the past and new activities that get you out of a weekly pattern
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  • Schedule regular vacations and be intentional in finding time to relax
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  • Exercise regularly
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  • Prioritize sleep and practice good sleep habits (e.g., going to bed around the same time each night)
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  • Eat balanced meals each day
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  • Make a routine for grooming (shower, haircuts, laundry)
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Keep an optimistic perspective:

  • Balance the reality of a situation—avoid focusing only on the negative
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  • Recognize there are multiple contributing factors to your difficulties
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  • Focus on the big picture and avoid “all-or-nothing” thinking
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  • Think realistically and gather the facts—avoid jumping to conclusions
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  • Watch for words like “should,” “must,” or “have to” in your speech and thoughts
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Maintain faith:

  • Get in touch with, and do activities, that help you find meaning and purpose
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  • Read spiritual, inspirational, or religious materials
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  • Stay involved in your faith community if you have one and discuss spiritual topics with others
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  • Attend gatherings and engage in spiritual practices (like prayer)
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  • If you are experiencing spiritual struggles, talk to someone you trust, such as a close friend or family member, faith leader, or counselor
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It may be appropriate to seek professional help if: you continue to feel burned out; your reactions worsen over time; these tips cause interference with daily behavior at work, home, or between other relationships. Professional help can come from a primary care physician, a mental health provider, or faith leaders.

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