Pressure from work coupled by the persistent need to achieve can lead to burnout. HEALTH speaks to an expert who provides practical tips when dealing with burnout.
According to Consultant Psychiatrist and Executive Coach Dr. Asad Sadiq, “burnout” was coined as a term in 1974 and essentially is the exhaustion of physical and emotional strength resulting from prolonged stress. Burnout, he points out, has a very high correlation with clinical depression. “Burnout, if not addressed, will cause severe depression and anxiety,” he explains and epression and anxiety can impact across your life in a very detrimental way and when severe can lead you to feeling suicidal. Depression can cause losses in terms of relationships, jobs, finances, and friends.
STEPS TO EFFECTIVELY DEAL WITH BURNOUT
Admit you’re burnt out-The first step is to recognize what is going on and to label it. It is important to admit to yourself that you are experiencing “burnout”.
Eat and Drink-The next steps need to be concrete and relatively easy. Eating and drinking regularly needs to be established. Having three meals a day and making time for lunch is very important, as is drinking fluids at regular intervals during the day. Dehydration and lack of food are major contributors to fatigue. Correcting this is an important early step.
Sleep- Re-establish a sleeping routine with effective sleep hygiene. This includes sleeping at a set time each evening, avoiding electronic gadgets like TV, phones, and tablets in the two hours preceding sleep, not drinking caffeine based drinks or fizzy drinks after 6 to 7pm, using the bedroom only to sleep and to get out of bed if you can’t sleep and go to a different room until you’re feeling sleepy again and to not sleep in the daytime.
Exercise-Establishing an exercise routine is very effective to aid recovery from burnout. This can be a daily 30 minutes brisk walk or even a walk away from the office at lunchtime. It can include a weekly competitive sport or regular gym work. Exercise has been proven to aid recovery from depression which has a strong overlap with burnout.
Relax- Try to remember things you did in the past where your mind was completely focused on that activity and nothing else. These may include watching movies, painting, playing football, reading and so on. Whatever these activities are, re-establish them. Taking part in activities where your mind is off your work is very important.
Assertiveness- Identification of what exactly causes work stress is important. A lack of assertiveness often results in us agreeing to do things or to keep quiet when our boss or colleague asks us to do something. The resentment builds up and you feel angry. However, if this anger is not addressed, it will linger and is often taken out on family when you get home. So learning to be assertive in a constructive way and learning to say “no” sometimes can greatly reduce stress.
Talk about it- It is important to have colleagues who will listen to you and with whom you have a good relationship. Work issues are best discussed with coworkers who understand exactly the nature of your frustrations. Therefore, try to build up good relations with co-workers and socialize with them, go to lunch with them and try chatting to them at little breaks during the day about life in general.
Hang out with positive people- and not with people who are pessimistic and drain your energy even further. Don’t hang out with people who will tell you 10 reasons why your idea won’t work.
(Credit: Consultant Psychiatrist and Executive Coach Dr. Asad Sadiq)