What is Burnout and Mental Exhaustion?
If you’ve been feeling mentally and emotionally exhausted, you’re not alone. The vast majority of students, parents, professionals (or a combination of all three) have begun to feel worn down by the realities of our day to day lives. For quite some time, we’ve been living in what is known as burnout culture. Whether it is work fatigue or parent burnout, mental and emotional exhaustion can take a huge toll on your productivity and sense of self-worth. There are many ways you can deal with stress, recover from burnout and craft a sustainable burnout prevention plan for yourself, your career and your family.
Signs of Burnout
Symptoms of burnout often look like signs of depression and lead to exhaustion, apathy, irritability and a general feeling of not caring. You might feel sad, angry, numb or a combination of all three. Busy professionals, parents and students are attempting to literally do it all.
Some of the common signs and symptoms of burnout:
- Reduced efficiency and energy
- Low levels of motivation
- Increased errors in work, personal and family life
- Increased frustration
- More time working while being less accomplished
The daily grind is endless and stressful, but there are many ways you can restore your energy, boost your mental and emotional reserves and prevent burnout.
Mental Exhaustion and Recovery Tips
Unfortunately, recovery from severe burnout is a long process. You may have to make significant changes to your life regarding how you take care of yourself, engage in relationships and approach your career.
Improved self-care strategies
- Minimize caffeine and alcohol
- Follow a healthy eating plan
- Find a creative outlet (painting, cooking, etc.)
Change the way you think & live
- Focus on your small daily accomplishments
- Avoid unnecessary self criticism
- Create a serene and peaceful space at home
- Keep your environment organized & clean
Change how you approach work
- Avoid multitasking, focus on one thing at a time
- Work at a reasonable, steady pace
- Take your breaks
- Resist working unnecessary overtime
- Set boundaries and be ok with saying “no”
- Avoid toxic people and situations
- Become more connected with your friends, family and community
Elements of a self-care plan to prevent burnout
- Develop a list of self-care strategies: journaling, meditation, yoga, reading, exercise
- Assess your weekly progress & tweak as necessary
- Determine your priorities for the week, month, year
- Take the time to become centered & grounded through reflection or meditation