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Burnout During COVID, Part II

Updated: Dec 31, 2021

Photo by You X Ventures

In last week's blog, we defined burnout and how to identify it in yourself. We explored why, contrary to our high hopes for working from home, many of us have actually experienced more burnout during COVID-19 than we did before. This week we want to offer some strategies for avoiding and healing burnout so you can find more happiness and satisfaction in your work life.

Check out the Mayo Clinic's list of questions to identify whether or not you are experiencing burnout yourself. They suggest the following strategies for preventing and addressing burnout:

  • Evaluate your options. Discuss specific concerns with your supervisor. Maybe you can work together to change expectations or reach compromises or solutions. Try to set goals for what must get done and what can wait.

  • Seek support. Whether you reach out to co-workers, friends or loved ones, support and collaboration might help you cope. If you have access to an employee assistance program, take advantage of relevant services.

  • Try a relaxing activity. Explore programs that can help with stress such as yoga, meditation or tai chi.

  • Get some exercise. Regular physical activity can help you to better deal with stress. It can also take your mind off work.

  • Get some sleep. Sleep restores well-being and helps protect your health.

  • Mindfulness: Mindfulness is the act of focusing on your breath flow and being intensely aware of what you're sensing and feeling at every moment, without interpretation or judgment. In a job setting, this practice involves facing situations with openness and patience, and without judgment.

We would add the following:

  • Get support from a mental health professional

  • Utilize CBT: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy has helped millions of people manage depression, anxiety, stress, and burnout. CBT is best done with a trained mental health professional, but you can also learn about it on your own:

  • Try a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) course or workbook: MBSR can help you reduce anxiety and depression, and better manage your reactions to workplace stress.

  • Be kind to yourself: Allowing yourself the grace to be imperfect, and to ask for help when you need it, can go a long way in preventing burnout. Perfectionism leads to greater burnout.

  • Speak up: If you need something, if you have a suggestion, or if something isn't working in the workplace, speak up and share your insights.

  • Set firm boundaries: Set clear boundaries that protect your time and mental health

  • Talk about how you're feeling: Talk with your co-workers and managers about your experience with burnout and stress. Learn more about the ways that they are both struggling, and learning to cope with work related stress.

  • Steer clear of unrealistic expectations: During this difficult time, it is particularly important to set realistic goals and timelines that take into account our changing work environment and increased stress levels.

Stress and burnout at work don't have to be inevitable. Our work worlds are, admittedly, more and more demanding. However, a commitment to yourself and a healthy work experience can help you make the changes you need to experience more satisfaction.

Should I talk to a mental health professional if I'm just stressed out?

We're biased, but we believe that therapy should be used as a preventative measure whenever possible. If you are experiencing stress but aren't sure if has reached out burnout level, we encourage you to call us, or a therapist in your area, and book a free consultation. A trained therapist can help you decided if therapy would help with your burnout experience, or help prevent your stress from reaching a more critical level.

Therapy is not just for "extreme" mental health needs anymore! It can be used as a tool to feel better, know more about yourself, and create more success in your life.

Experiencing stress and/or burnout and need help? Reach out today to schedule a free consultation with one of our therapists, and find out if working with us is good fit for you.

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