Being in good health is not just about exercise and diet, it’s also about having good mental health.
Everything in our body is linked. We can eat really well and exercise, yet if we are working too hard, are under stress and are not taking breaks, it will affect our physical health. This can mean our bodies don’t absorb the nutrients from our food the way they should.
You have heard me say it over and over, it’s all about balance. When we are looking to improve our health, we need to look at all areas of our lives, including our work life.
Lifestyle catches up with us and as we move through our 40s, we may find that we cannot carry on the way we used to. I know I could work into the early hours in my 30s with little impact, now I cannot!
This article is all about how to cope with work-related burnout and how important it is to find balance in life to prevent it.
Our working lives
We can all agree that having a good work ethic is important. The problem we have as women is we tend to take on too much, juggling family and work responsibilities. Too often I see women using being busy as a status symbol, especially on social media.
The problem here is we associate being busy and working hard as virtuous. So, if we are not doing so, we think there is something wrong.
First, it’s important to understand that not everything we see online is real. Second, comparing our lives to others is never a good idea. This just adds to feelings of lack and anxiety.
If you follow me on social media, you see I balance my life with work, study, health and down time. But it was not always this way. I have experienced burn out so I know how important it is to get that balance into my life and look out for the signs.
What is burnout?
Burnout is a state of physical, mental and emotional exhaustion. These feelings and states don’t go away with your normal recovery methods like taking a day off, getting an early night, having a work-free weekend or a holiday.
What are the signs of burnout?
Here are some of the common signs of work-related burnout:
- Feeling physically and mentally exhausted, all of the time.
- An inability to concentrate.
- A lack of creativity and purpose.
- Drinking too much alcohol, caffeine or taking other substances to cope.
- Feeling trapped in your work.
- General fatigue, not being able to sleep, or sleeping too much.
- A cynical outlook on life.
What causes burnout?
Work place burnout usually creeps in over time. We often don’t even notice it. It can affect you whether you are self-employed, running a business or an employee.
Common causes include:
- A heavy work-load.
- A lack of control i.e. an inability to influence decisions that affect your job, such as your schedule, assignments or workload.
- Too many deadlines.
- An inability to switch off.
- Long work hours with a lack of work life balance.
- Lack of support in your work and personal life.
- Dysfunctional work place dynamics.
How to recover from burnout
Thankfully, there are things you can do to recover from burnout. The first step is to acknowledge it.
Identifying the causes
Find out what is causing the stress. Make a list of all the challenges you are facing at the moment. These could be professional and personal. Go through the list and identify the problems you can solve.
It may be helpful to seek support from a coach or therapist who can help you identify some of the challenges.
Take action immediately
Once you have identified the causes and challenges, focus on the ones you can resolve first. Start small.
If you are employed, do you need to talk to your manager? Can you schedule in some time off? If you run your own business, can you delegate some of your workload?
Take time out
Taking a time out is imperative for recovery and healing. How much time you need will depend on the severity of your problems.
Can you take a holiday? Getting away from your everyday life can sometimes help put things into perspective.
The important thing is to slow down, focus on yourself, make you and self-care a priority.
Take care of yourself
Manage your phone usage. Remove social media apps from your phone or hide them in a folder on the last screen. Making it more difficult to access them will help to break the temptation to scroll.
Turn off all screens a couple of hours before bed.
Have a relaxing bath with Epsom bath salts which contain magnesium.
Incorporate daily movement into your life. Take as many walks in nature as you can! Low-impact exercise such as walking will relax you and increase endorphins that make you feel good.
Practice yoga. Just 10 minutes a day can help. Meditations and guided visualisations can also quiet your mind and give you time to focus on your breath.
Using diet to heal from burnout
Cut back on caffeine, alcohol and energy drinks. When we are feeling exhausted, it’s tempting to drink more of these, yet they will all impact sleep and add to your stress.
Eat nourishing nutritious foods that gives you energy. Include lots of veggies with every meal, and good quality protein like organic meat, tofu, eggs, nuts and seeds, and fish. Include healthy fats like avocados, chia seeds, flaxseed oil and seeds.
Limit processed foods like sugar, refined carbohydrates, cakes, and sweets. Again, it’s tempting to turn to sugar when stressed, but this just places more stress on our bodies and causes our blood sugar levels to crash, affecting our mood.
There are some great herbs you can take when you are facing burnout, such as Rhodiola, Siberian ginseng and Ashwagandha. These are known as energy herbs.
Good supplements to take when stressed include magnesium, B vitamins and a good multivitamin for your age and gender.
Lastly, make these changes to your life permanently to avoid future burnouts!
I hope this article can help some of you help with work-related burnout.
Burnout is on the rise, yet noticing the signs early and taking action will help avoid the severity of it.
If you would like a bespoke health plan to help with your physical and mental health, then get in touch.