When exposed to high amounts of stress, you may be familiar with the warning from friends, family, or coworkers to “pace yourself before you burn out.” Burnout is the result of taking on a significant amount of stress that can lead to severe physical and mental exhaustion. It can be in reference to feeling overwhelmed with work, burdened with schoolwork, or even buried with a seemingly ever-increasing list of housework.
It’s not always easy to identify, especially by the person that may be at risk of burnout. If you find yourself becoming easily exhausted, dreading a task or putting off even simple starting points, or becoming easily agitated or isolated from others, it’s important to take a step back and assess your current situation. One of the main problems for people that end up getting burnt out is that they became so overwhelmed they refused to take a stress-relieving break. Here are a few ways to tackle your work-life balance in order to help prevent or lessen your risk of burnout.
Schedule Regular Low-Standard Breaks
One of the best ways to tackle a challenge is to set up preemptive measures so you can reduce your chances of having a problem. Sometimes, it may feel like burnout is inevitable – maybe you’re understaffed or you have several exams coming up at once. While these situations may be unavoidable, your preparation for them doesn’t have to be as lacking.
A low-standard break means you’re not expecting anything out of it. You don’t necessarily have a stress-relieving activity in the wings or a plan to take a quick walk around the building. Instead, you’re giving yourself a small window of breathing room; while you should try to avoid being interrupted during this time, you can push back the scheduled window if you find yourself in a flow state or you have a pressing meeting. The main goal is to dedicate a set number of times in your day to detach from your workload and let your brain revive itself.
Regulate Your Work-Life Balance
In the same way you should dedicate a set number of times within the day to take a break, you should also reserve time to stay away from work. This includes studying, chores, or even errands. In order to help prevent and lessen the effects of burnout, you should have moments where there isn’t anything “required” of you. Instead, set aside a few hours out of the day to destress and focus on something you enjoy – a book, TV show, video game, etc.
Regularly meeting with an experienced counselor can help you develop a healthy routine that prioritizes your wellbeing. If you’re looking for a mental health professional that’s able to work within your schedule, you can check out an online database like https://www.mytherapist.com/advice/counselors/.
Heavily Plan Out High-Priority Projects
The good news about planning is that you can start in any part of the project. Of course, it’s best to start as early as possible, but sometimes you don’t realize you’re running the risk of burnout until you start to feel the symptoms. So, in order to get ahead on major projects, break down an extensive plan to set out a reliable schedule.
Taking into account those small breaks and work-life balance needs, high-priority tasks shouldn’t be encroaching on your personal time. Instead, with an efficient plan laid out, find the most effective way to complete processes without overwhelming yourself or other team members. By breaking down a project into bite-sized pieces, not only do you have a detail-oriented task list, but it can also appear more manageable to your stressed-out mindset.
Regularly Consult Your Support System
Have you heard the saying “it takes a village to raise a child”? Sometimes, it can also take a village to complete a project. While your friends and family members can’t necessarily do your work for you, they can be there for moral and emotional support. It’s important to keep in contact with people you trust and know will give you the right kind of encouragement you need.
Whether you have an inner circle of friends or a regularly scheduled appointment with your therapist, it’s important to reach out for help when you’re feeling overwhelmed. Those who know you best are often the first people to see the symptoms of burnout; they can give you the best heads up that you need to start taking care of yourself and your schedule for your mental wellbeing.
Monitor Your Mental Health
After you’ve taken steps to open your schedule, block out stress-relieving breaks, and confide in people that will be there to support you, you’ve done a great job at setting yourself up for efficiency. Now, you need to focus on monitoring your mental health for warning signs. You’re already aware that the person experiencing burnout is often the last person to notice they’re being burnout – maintaining a healthy self-care routine will put you at an advantage to being able to notice the symptoms sooner.
Taxing projects and demanding needs can become inevitable, but it’s crucial to have a system in place that prioritizes your wellbeing. As you work toward becoming the best version of yourself, it’s important not to get caught up in a workhorse mentality. As you continue to push your boundaries and stretch your limits, you lower your productivity and increase your risk of burnout. In order to remain as efficient as possible, you need to put your mental and physical well being first, working toward creating a schedule that benefits both your progress and personal time.