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The Key to Preventing Burnout

Hello loves!

Sorry this one is coming a little late! My life has been consumed by a massive research paper that I feel like I was working on forever...

...Which is kind of the perfect tangent into this week's topic! In my last post, I talked about the ways of recovering from Burnout; whether it's a School Burnout, Career Burnout, or Life Burnout.

Whatever the root cause of your Burnout is, it can impact every aspect of your life. As I talked about in the previous post, Burnout can make you feel depressed and anxious, trapped, detached, lack of motivation, and sometimes even create physical symptoms that all around make you feel ill and not like your normal self.

Which isn't a surprise, really, because when you're Burnt-Out, you're not your usual, wonderful self.

That's why I think it's important not only to know how to heal from Burnout, but to also know how to prevent it in the first place by:

1)Managing Your Stress

First, let's make one thing clear: Burnout isn't like regular day to day stress. It can be the result of stress, sure, but they are very different things. For people who are dealing with a lot of stress- no matter how tired, exhausted or overwhelmed they feel- there is the unspoken thought that once they get all their tasks done, the stress will go away. Stress drives and motivates us to work harder and faster, to check off our to-do list so we can finally relax. And when we are done with all the things stressing us out, we feel better.

The same can't be said for Burnout. Burnout doesn't end just because the work day does. It doesn't go away after you finished that big project, and no amount of Netflix at the end of a stressful evening can make you feel better. Burnout is deeper than stress, because people who have Burnout don't think it will get better. Burnt-out people don't think their feelings associated with Burnout, which are similar to stress, will disappear after the checklist is completed. Which is why Burnout recovery is longer than regular stress recovery, and it usually involves life changes and a mental health reset.

Which is why one of the biggest steps to avoiding Burnout is managing stress. You want to cut the stress off before it can spiral into the thoughts of "I'm always overwhelmed and tired", "Nothing will ever change", "No matter what I do, it won't get better" or similar negative, stress-induced thoughts. If you can learn to manage your stress before you get hopeless, that's one step towards preventing Burnout.

2)Find Your Ritual

The second step I would recommend to preventing Burnout also helps with managing your stress (a win-win step, really). It's to find your morning ritual.

I love mornings. Waking up to a new day with new potential always comes with an encouraging rush of hope for me, and it's something I try to stretch as far as possible for the next 24 hours. Part of what makes my mornings feel so good, though, is how I use them.

I'm sure you've had those mornings where you woke up with plenty of time before the "actual day" started. Enough time for you to stretch, make coffee or tea, and calmly plan everything you need to get done for the day. Most people I know that have those mornings often seem to have correlating good days too.

Now contrast that with waking up ten minutes after your alarm goes off, rushing to get dressed and ready and sprinting through the door with a coffee in one hand and a half-organized planner in the other. Just the thought of that chaotic scramble can make you feel stressed.

Having a good morning ritual can help in managing your mental state and stress, along with preventing Burnout. Your morning ritual is a time to welcome the day from a state of peace and rest, to get into the right mindset for any challenges you have to face, and to ultimately focus on the things you want your life to revolve around.

For me, my morning ritual starts with walking my dog, reading my morning Devotionals and meditating to recharge my faith, and a large cup of coffee or two (okay, or three). Others start their mornings with yoga, journaling, an early run or a workout. It doesn't matter what specifically you do for your morning ritual, so long as it's something that works for you and helps you feel relaxed and ready for the day. Because honestly, having a good morning can make a world of difference for your overall day.

3)Build Your Boundaries.

This next step is so important when it comes to Burnout prevention, especially for my fellow people-pleasers and perfectionists.

Whether it's in life, your career or class loads, it's easy to find yourself taking on too many commitments. It can be hard to say no, to turn your notifications off, or to have strict set work hours that you aren't constantly extending. But it's important to have those boundaries.

By building time in your day that's just for you to relax, you're giving your mind a chance to relax and be restored from regular stressors. By setting boundaries for the amount of work you take on, how often you're available by phone or email, and the amount of extra tasks you do for others, you're valuing your time and by extension, valuing yourself. Plus, when you take necessary breaks and build important boundaries, you're giving your mind and body a chance to rest so you can be fully in the moment for when you are working.

4)Take Care of Your Body

And finally, one of the best ways to prevent burnout is to take care of your body, mentally and physically. It's easy for people to push themselves mentally and physically- especially when they're stressed- under the impression that when they have free time again they'll take better care of themselves. But by not taking care of yourself, you're actually making your stress worse.

I'm not saying you need to drop everything and become a bodybuilder or a vegan/organic farmer, but putting in some effort to eat at least 3 meals a day, get enough sleep and spend time outside can make all the difference. When you push your body ragged, Burnout can easily creep in and start warping how you view and handle your stress. The exhaustion can feel like it will never go away, an unstable diet can mess with your sense of self and throw your body off, and can even make you sick.

But when you make taking care of yourself a priority, you'll notice positive changes. You'll feel better physically, perhaps even notice you can handle stress easier, and possibly notice a mood shift that just helps you love life again.


Now obviously, these aren't the only steps to preventing Burnout, but I've found them to be helpful for me. As with a lot of mental health tips, there isn't a one size fits all. Just like with finding a good counselor or therapist, Burnout prevention and stress management can take time. Sometimes you find something that works right away, and other times you'll have to push through a bit of trial and error to find the right solution.

No matter which route works best for you, it's important to take care of yourself. Everyone deserves a life that's Burnout free, and putting in a little bit of work to help prevent it in the first place can be a major help.

Show your body and mind some love, because you deserve it!

Love y'all!


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