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Burnout is a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. Burnout can make you feel emotionally drained and unable to function in the context of many aspects of life. Burnout can lower your motivation and cause you to feel helpless, hopeless, and resentful.

It may appear to show up suddenly.Most of us are no strangers to stress and anxiety; however, when this is a sustained event, it can be overwhelming where there is a high level of stress being prolonged over a period of time without respite or opportunities to carry out the simple tasks of normal life.

Simply put, burnout shows up when you are exhausted because of excessive and prolonged stress. Some signs of burnout include feeling overwhelmed, emotionally drained, lacking energy, empty and unmotivated, and unable to meet your daily demands. You may feel an increase in irritability, notice increased conflict in your relationships, or feel like you want to crawl into your bed and never get out. You feel stuck, exhausted, and hopeless.

This may even be accompanied by physical symptoms—they may have back aches, headaches, and maybe even a loss of appetite. Sleep might be disrupted, and you may become reclusive even during social distancing. You may have difficulty getting things done, and you may be struggling with working from home. Your confidence may be affected, and you may feel like you cannot cope. This is in addition to feelings of helplessness—like there is no way out of this situation.

We have to first be aware that we are becoming burned out as this can creep up on an individual. One way to reduce the potential for burnout is to reach out to others rather than withdraw. Here are some tips regarding its identification and mitigation:

  • It is important that we have a strong social network to call on and people to talk to when we are going through difficult times. While you have to socially distance, there are many virtual methods to connect.

  • Connect with family, friends, and work colleagues. Working from home does not mean being alone.

  • While working from home, it is important to try to socialise with co‐workers, so you do not feel isolated. Those “water cooler moments” at work are more important than you might think.

  • Exercise is also important to boost energy and mood. Doing some cardio, waking, or even weight training or other exercise activities can help to lighten the mood.

  • Try to find something in the work you do that you feel is interesting and helps you gain more of a purpose and value. This can be quite helpful in giving people hope and helping them to become more engaged at work.

  • Eating healthy is also an important way to stay healthy, mentally and physically, and can prevent burnout. A balanced diet, eating more fruits and veggies, minimising sugars, and reducing foods that can negatively affect your mood such as alcohol and caffeine, particularly if consumed in excess, can help minimise the effects of burnout.

  • It is also important to note that, if it seems that it is more than burnout that is being experienced, and it has progressed into a mental disorder such as a mood or anxiety disorder, it is important to seek professional help.

We all experience stress during crises. When stress builds up, it can lead to feelings of extreme exhaustion and being overwhelmed, also known as burnout.

extract from NIH


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