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Five Steps To Cope With Burnout

Life can be very busy and stressful. You may think you’re coping, but maybe you’re not managing as well as you think. Learn to recognize the signs when you’ve had too much stress and cope with them sensibly.


Read all about:
  • What burnout is
  • Step One – Understanding
  • Step Two – Assessing sense of purpose
  • Step Three – Avoiding comparing
  • Step Four – Self-compassion
  • Step Five – Taking a quick fix


Burnout isn’t the same as depression. Depression causes deep sadness, despair, lack of all motivation and a wish to withdraw from the world. When actual depression takes you over it can last for weeks. Burnout isn’t so extreme and is much more easily dealt with. However, it’s important to take burnout seriously, so it doesn’t lead on to full blown depression.
Burnout occurs when you’ve had too much stress, of the wrong sort. A little stress is good for you and you can get a high from rising to the challenge. But when you feel defeated and frustrated it takes its toll. You feel exhausted, you can’t cope at work or at home and you withdraw from friends and family members.
You can never be quite sure when burnout will hit. A setback can cause it, boredom or loneliness can trigger it, but it can also happen when you’re flying high, and suddenly feel deflated with a ‘What’s the point?’ feeling. Don’t get angry with yourself and don’t be afraid. Burnout is natural and you can deal with it. In fact, burnout can be your friend, giving you a reminder to reassess your life and make changes.


Never tell yourself you ‘should’ be fine. However great your life may look from the outside, something isn’t quite working for you. Probably this is fairly simple, or it may be a combination of factors.
Start with physical matters. Are you eating nutritious food, or starving on a crank diet, or grabbing junk-food when you can? You may think you can get away with this, but you can’t. Food affects your mood so sort out your eating regime.
Do you think it’s a sign of strength to get by on only a few hours sleep? It’s a sign of foolishness, so get a proper 6-8 hours, depending on your personal needs. Exercise and fresh air are also essential. Get up, move your body and breathe.
Check your emotions also. You may be surrounded by people, but are they good company? You can be alone in a crowd without empathy and support. Are you anxious? Is there really anything to fear or is anxiety a ‘habit’ with which you’ve been programmed, through past experience. Sometimes it takes a while to know what you’re truly feeling. Sit with it and accept all your emotions as a vital first step. Then you might make a plan to do something about them.
It will help to get in the habit of meditating/mindfulness. It’s quite possible to do this for a few minutes and it can take all the stress out of your life, as if by magic!


Making money, going on lovely holidays, having a beautiful home – all of these are important but they aren’t enough to keep you from burnout. In fact trying to get material things can cause burnout.
Ask yourself what truly matters to you. Are you helping others? Making the world a better place? Being creative? Having a proper sense of purpose will keep you on track however tough the going gets, so assess yours.


One of the most destructive things we can do to ourselves is to compare ourselves to others. Social media has made this much easier to do. Comparing yourself with others can make you feel lucky, but it can have the reverse effect.
On Facebook, for instance, people showcase their lives, making them seem picture perfect. Small wonder if you feel bad by comparison, when you’re coping with relationship and job issues, and maybe discontented with your appearance and possessions.
Remind yourself of two facts. Firstly, everyone has hidden struggles, fears and unhappiness. Often those that look most perfect are those that are riddled with doubts and problems. Don’t be taken in.
Secondly, life is about finding what’s right for you. Don’t be dazzled by media standards of what contentment and success are supposed to look like. That can leave you empty so find your individuality and fulfilment.


Important question – Are you kind to yourself?
Many people may be kind to others while being hard on themselves, always self-critical, never giving themselves rewards or appreciation.
If you often tell yourself you aren’t doing enough, talk to yourself with insults, such as ‘I’m so stupid/ugly/unfit etc’ you’re being very cruel to yourself. Start counting your achievements, give yourself rewards, such as time out, a massage or a chat to a friend, and be your own best mate.


When you realise burnout is threatening, rescue yourself with a quick treat. This may include listening – and dancing – to your favourite song, smelling a mood-lifting perfume or gazing at lovely pictures of trees and lakes. You can also have some fruit or a little dark chocolate, a cup of tea - or smile at yourself in the mirror!
Have a selection of little treats always to hand for when you might need them. That way you can stop burnout in its tracks.



Now you know what burnout is and can deal with is through understanding, assessing your sense of purpose, stopping comparing, being kind to yourself and taking a quick fix. However, if you need something extra our compassionate Readers are always available with encouragement and wise advice, so put in a call and get an immediate boost today.



PUBLISHED: 01 June 2018

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