Burning Out? Incorporate these 7 Habits to Recover from Burnout and Maintain Strong Mental Health.

Blog Mind Burning Out? Incorporate these 7 Habits to Recover from Burnout and Maintain Strong Mental Health.

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2.2.2021 0 comments

Burnout is a very real threat that we all face!

Stress, anxiety, and pressure are part of our busy daily lives, and there will always be times when things spiral out of control until we feel like we’re pushing too far, working too hard, and reaching the end of our rope.

If you’re not careful, you could suffer from burnout.

Psychology Today [1] defines burnout as, “is a state of emotional, mental, and often physical exhaustion brought on by prolonged or repeated stress. Though it’s most often caused by problems at work, it can also appear in other areas of life, such as parenting, caretaking, or romantic relationships.”

That last bit is very important to note! Work may be the most common cause, but it can be caused by a lot of other things.

If you find yourself on the edge of burnout—or in the middle of it!—here are some simple things you incorporate into your daily life that will help to pull you back onto solid ground and find your calm “normal” once again:

Move – Exercise is, without a doubt, one of the greatest stress-relievers on the planet! Exercise not only helps to burn off nervous energy, but it will produce feel-good hormones and neurochemicals, distract you from whatever is causing your anxiety, and help to diminish stress.

One study [2] looked at a group of stressed individuals (from the ages of 19 to 68) and found that exercise led to visible improvements across the board. Not only did the participants have a greater feeling of well-being, but they felt like they accomplished more, suffered from less psychological distress, were less emotionally exhausted, and even felt less stressed overall.

The study found that resistance training, in particular, proved most effective at combatting stress. Cardiovascular exercise led to more improvements than the no-training placebo condition, but it was weightlifting that really did the trick!

Breathe – Breathing is one of the best ways to calm a racing heart and over-stressed mind. Deep breaths are actually a technique that will help to neutralize the “fight or flight” response [3], thereby helping to quash your body’s natural increase in stress as a result of excess pressure or mental strain.

A cardiologist at Harvard Medical School created a simple breathing relaxation technique in the 1970s that can have amazing effect. Deep abdominal breathing (or diaphragmatic breathing) increases oxygen uptake, lowers blood pressure, and can help to slow the heart rate. Spending a few minutes breathing in through your nose to fill your lungs and exhaling through your mouth to fully deflate your lungs will be a simple yet highly effective daily practice that will decrease your risk of burnout.

Interact – Feeling stressed and approaching burnout at work? What if it’s not actually the work that’s the problem?

One study [4] found that the workload and stress of the job wasn’t as great a risk factor in burnout as loneliness and social isolation. Social support at work led to not only lower burnout rates, but better productivity and an increase in job satisfaction.

Time to make a friend at work! Having friends at work can make a world of difference, and the time you spend interacting socially can elevate your mood, decrease depression risk, and keep burnout at bay, no matter how hard you’re working.

Hug – Hugging is an amazing form of therapy in and of itself! Not only does it release oxytocin (the bonding hormone), but it can slow your heart rate, lower your blood pressure, and boost your mood.

According to one pair of experts [5], just 20 seconds of hugging per day can massively reduce your stress levels and improve your overall feelings of wellbeing. It’s a simple, easy trick that you’ll love doing because it makes you feel closer to the person (or people) you’re hugging and will alleviate a lot of the pressure and tension in your day, fighting off burnout.

Laugh – Laughter is possibly one of the best medicines when it comes to treating the very prevalent conditions of stress, anxiety, depression, and burnout.

One 2019 study [6] researched the effect of laughter therapy on burnout syndrome, with more than 60 men and women involved in the study. The people who underwent the therapy saw a massive decrease in their self-reported stress levels, and burnout scores went way down as well. Laughter not only lowers blood pressure and calms anxiety, but it can elevate your mood by releasing endorphins (feel-good chemicals) that can actually “trick” your brain into feeling better.

Cry – Crying is absolutely amazing for your mental and emotional health. As multiple experts agree [7], crying can help to release stress hormones, relax tense muscles, and triggers the parasympathetic nervous system to help restore balance in your body.

Emotional tears release the mineral manganese, which helps to regulate your mood. The noticeable relax in the tense muscles in your body will be another major benefits of having a good cry anytime you feel you need it!

Create – Countless studies have been done linking creativity to a decreased rate of burnout. Creativity releases emotions, decreases tension, eliminates stress, harnesses the body’s natural creative energy in a positive way, and serves as a valve to “let off steam” that builds up as a result of our daily stresses.

As one 2009 Master’s Thesis [8] puts it, “The act of playing allows the imagination to work freely and unhampered. This unhampered flow of energy carries a healing element.”

Find a way to include some kind of creative activity in your day. Even if it’s just five to ten minutes, it will work wonders to improve your mood, decrease stress, and give you an outlet for all the building-up emotions. Any kind of creative endeavor—writing, acting, drawing, painting, making music, singing, and the list goes on—will unleash the healing energy that will calm your stress and fight burnout very effectively!

Resources:

[1] https://www.psychologytoday.com/ca/basics/burnout

[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4393815/

[3] https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/relaxation-techniques-breath-control-helps-quell-errant-stress-response

[4] https://hbr.org/2017/06/burnout-at-work-isnt-just-about-exhaustion-its-also-about-loneliness

[5] https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news/hugging-for-20-seconds-a-day-may-reduce-your-stress-2zck2d7h6

[6] http://ijnnet.com/journals/ijn/Vol_6_No_1_June_2019/5.pdf

[7] https://www.webmd.com/balance/features/is-crying-good-for-you#1

[8] https://digitalcommons.lsu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?referer=http://scholar.google.ca/&httpsredir=1&article=3913&context=gradschool_theses

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