5 Daily Wellness Practices to Help You Overcome Burnout
According to experts, burnout is at an all-time high this year, and there doesn't seem to be any signs of it slowing. With many workplaces impacted by COVID-related closures, the pressure to perform (if not over-perform) at work is greater than ever. In addition, the advent of remote working has made it even harder to switch off at the end of the day.
The first step when dealing with burnout is to recognise it. The second is to seek help from a health professional. Then what? From immune-supporting food to gentle exercise, there are some simple daily practices that you can start right now that will help you manage the symptoms of burnout and forge a way through to the other side.
Whether you're working from home or commuting to a shared workplace, these five daily wellness practices could help you overcome burnout.
Go for a walk
You might feel physically exhausted, but a gentle 20-minute walk outdoors, ideally in nature, is a great way to boost your energy levels. If you're in a job that keeps you desk bound, chances are your body is desperate for exercise. Studies have shown that cardio and resistance workouts improve mood and reduces stress—both psychological and physiological.
Take a lunch break
It's a common problem among the Always Online generation: you're at work and start feeling hungry only to look up at the time and see that it's already 3:00pm. Set yourself a reminder to start your lunch break at a set time every day (in the middle of your work day) and don't close that notification until you've returned back from your lunch break. If possible, try and incorporate a quick walk during your workplace-sanctioned break.
Do you struggle switching off at the end of the work day? Set an alarm on your phone that tells you to clock off. When it goes off, close your email, walk away from your device, and actively start a new activity that has nothing to do with work—like a relaxing bath. Working long hours is one of the most common signs—and causes—of burnout. It's important to switch off at the end of the work day, regardless of whether you work for yourself or for someone else. If you've already been working a full day, you need to give yourself time to rest and regenerate.
Set aside 10 minutes for a deep breathing break. Yoga teacher and mental health worker Rosie Jean explains the benefits of deep breathing, which is also referred to as diaphragmatic breathing: "The stretch receptors on your lungs stimulate the Vagus Nerve, which encourages the parasympathetic nervous system to release calming hormones throughout our body." Inhaling increases our heart rate, and exhaling lowers it, so the practice of purposefully taking slow, deep breaths can help to regulate our breathing and reduce stress or feelings of panic.
Eat for fuel, not comfort
When you're feeling burnt out, up your intake of leafy greens (the darker the better), fibre-rich fruit, legumes, adaptogens, wholefood and, of course, water. The double-edged sword of being burnt out is that you lack the energy and the clarity to make healthy decisions. This translates into night after night of Uber Eats when what you should be doing is making a healthy vegetable soup. Doesn't have to be all or nothing—simply up your intake of healthy stuff and make your comfort feeds only a sometimes thing.