Pull over: how to successfully avoid burnout

Sure, we've all dealt with stress every now and again. At home, at work, in our creative projects. We might even be good at practicing mindfulness or journaling to stave off those immediate nagging emotions, allowing us to carry on with our day.

But what about that other looming beast - burnout?

Burnout is a state of mental, physical and emotional exhaustion that's all too common for those of us who may use commitments such as work or family life to avoid stress in other areas of life. While putting more energy into one area of life to save yourself from the hardships in another can be effective, it's also an easy and quick way to end up burnt out: totally overwhelmed with all of life's pressures, and feeling unable to accomplish anything.

It can be a catch-22 situation. The good news is that burnout can be avoided - if you catch the warning signs early.Read on for our tips on how to spot early signs of burnout and how to avoid them:

  1. Loss of enthusiasm for work: Stress and frustration can lead to negativity, cynicism, and resentment towards work. Set boundaries to maintain a healthy work/life balance so you're less stressed day-to-day.
  2. Reduced work performance: Difficulty concentrating, decreased efficiency, and struggles with assignments and deadlines. Remind yourself it's OK - and healthy, in fact - to make mistakes and try not to punish yourself for them.
  3. Physical burnout: Stress can manifest physically as tension headaches, migraines, back pain, skin problems, and general body aches. A solid exercise routine and diet can keep many of these issues at bay.
  4. Irritability and mood swings: Emotional distress, whether from stress or any other external factor, can manifest in our outward moods. Taking a problem out on someone else can result in further guilt, and both parties feel worse off. Take some time away to recharge, or ask for help.
  5. Sleep problems: Stress can disrupts sleep patterns, leading to insomnia, difficulty falling asleep, and waking during the night. Set yourself a solid sleep schedule and create the perfect sleep environment to ease yourself into the night.
  6. Worry and anxiety: With any of the mentioned symptoms, they can lead to further worry and anxiety about our overall performance and direction in life, creating an ongoing cycle. Luckily, any of the preventions mentioned will also contribute towards breaking the cycle.

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