November 1st is International Stress Awareness Day and we want to bring awareness to our communities by talking about burnout.
How does a person recognize if they are experiencing signs of burnout? It could mean feeling tired and drained a majority of the time; possibly a lowered immune system and frequent illness; frequent headaches or muscle pains; change in appetite or sleep habits; feelings of failure and self-doubt; isolating yourself; procrastinating; using substances to cope; taking it out on others; skipping work. Burnout involves feeling no hope of positive change in the situation and disengaging.
Stress involves feeling you have too many demands and pressures that tax you physically and mentally. This can be positive and negative stress. These stressors build over time and can lead to many mental and physical symptoms similar to burnout such as loss of energy, anxiety disorders, and health problems to name a few.
The way we cope with this is by realizing when we are beginning to see signs that we are struggling and working to take care of ourselves. Finding activities that help us decompress from daily stressors can help combat burnout. Knowing when to find a trusted person to talk to, being more social with co-workers, limiting contact with negative people, and connecting to community groups that are meaningful to you, find new friends. Additionally, finding ways to be helpful to others can help reduce stress.
Finding ways to find value in the work that you do, evaluating ways to incorporate balance in your life, while also looking for opportunities to make friends and meet new people. Taking the time to unplug from your work computer and take time off work (without taking your work computer) to enjoy new places, rest, and recharge. This may involve re-evaluating priorities and setting boundaries. Establishing good routines and sleep patterns is also critical to help us get through the day and able to overcome the challenges of the day.
If you find that you struggle with overcoming burnout, seek a support system that could help you navigate through the challenge. Burnout doesn’t always mean you need to see a therapist, but, you should reach out to a support and someone you trust to talk about your concerns and find support.
Sunshine Community Health Center