There are times in our lives when we may face stress and burnout, and it can creep up on you without you realising. There are many reasons stress may rear its head, but if it is not addressed, it can lead to burnout, and this can affect you physically and mentally.
Sometimes, it is not easy to spot the signs early; you can carry on for many months without realising anything is wrong. One of the earliest signs is a feeling of nervousness for no apparent reason. You feel it in your chest or stomach like butterflies.
Alongside this feeling could be an overwhelming sense of worry, a worry you cannot switch off, it starts gnawing in the back of your mind, and you may even find your sleep affected by it. Much akin to the butterflies, this is another early sign of stress and burnout.
So excited to have Lou Farrell on the blog today for a guest post. Please don’t forget to show her some love and visit her website. – Shelly
What are The Major Symptoms?
As mentioned, there is the strange nervousness and worry, but there are a few other signs to look out for too.
- You can find yourself irritable, and people around you may avoid you as you keep snapping at them.
- You may find you are having emotional outbursts from shouting to crying.
- Your concentration level may be dipping, and you find it difficult to focus on your current workload. Or even just watching the TV, you may be staring at it but not taking it in.
- There is also the inability to switch off, your mind may constantly be racing, and you begin to feel overwhelmed about how you can cope with it all.
These are the main symptoms, but there is a lot more, but catching them early, you will learn when you need to take a step back.
The question is, how do you step back before you hit burnout.
There are several ways to help yourself, and the first is often the hardest when our mind is racing, and we can’t sit still and feel the need to keep on at it. But it is one of the most beneficial self-care practices we can do.
Learning to meditate even for five minutes per day will help you live a better life; you will be using meditation as a tool for wellness. Even just five minutes throughout a couple of weeks can reduce your stress levels and put you in a better frame of mind.
Overhauling Your Lifestyle
Something has got to give, and you don’t want it to be your body or your mind, so you need to consider making lifestyle changes. Work out what is essential and what is not, write a list out of things that must be done, things that should be done and unnecessary things. Anything in the latter two should be sidelined until you have more time. For example, if it is a non-compulsory work event in the evening, decline it and give the night over to self-care, not more work.
Learn to say no; just because you are asked to do something does not mean you need to say yes. It is OK to say no; you don’t worry about the other person’s reaction; they are an adult too and will handle a negative. If you are worried about what someone else is thinking, you are out of your depth as nobody knows what is happening inside someone else’s mind. If it doesn’t suit you to do something right now, say no; it will reduce the likelihood of stress and burnout.
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Another key to coping with stress is exercise. Using our bodies to dance, run or even walk will release feel-good endorphins, which will help combat stress. Stress usually takes the form of fight or flight, and exercise is considered as flight. Once you start moving, you feel the stress drain from your body and enable you to concentrate for longer.
Sometimes we reach for an alcoholic drink to calm our nerves, but this often is not the answer; it may, on the surface, help you relax, but it is a depressant and will eventually lower your mood if you are reaching for the bottle after another day of work. You would be much better off having a smoothie packed full of nutrients and vitamins, and it will be much better for you.
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Stress and burnout require you to switch your brain into the positive mode, and nothing does that more than music. If you are looking to destress, then listening to female jazz vocalists can help, and if you are looking to reinvigorate yourself, then music with a strong beat needs to be blasted out. You will find you will naturally want to sing and dance, which will release those good endorphins, and you will feel better afterwards.
Watching what you put into your body, much like alcohol avoidance, is essential. It would help if you fueled yourself with good nutrients found in fruit and veg; nuts and seeds are vital in reducing stress levels. You will find that if you are eating a fast-food diet, your salt level will be high, which is not suitable for stress levels. It would help if you ate a healthy balanced diet to cope with stress levels better.
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Have you suffered with stress and burnout recently? What do you do to overcome this?
I hope these hints and tips will help you combat stress and burnout and if you have found them helpful, please leave a comment below as I would love to have a read.
Loved all the points mentioned, especially the one regarding alcohol. In movies, people romanticise the idea of using alcohol to “get back there” which I think is counterproductive. Wonderful post!
Shelly DS says
Thanks so much for reading!
This is a well-written post! Indeed, recognizing and processing a burnout is tough and these tips do help. Loved to read them 🙂
Shelly DS says
I was one of the worst offenders of many of these things when I was working. Powering through might be okay for a short term, but when it comes to the long-term, I wish I would have listened to my body much sooner. I have been taking care of myself the last five years since I retired to focus on my own health. I retired because I saw no other way out—one of the best moves of my life. I hope others don’t go down the rabbit hole of endless stress, not eating right, and being too tired to exercise. I’m never going back to my old ways.
Shelly DS says
I am so glad you were able to make those positive changes. I’m sure it wasn’t easy, but well worth it for your overall health! We all need to take a leaf out of your book!
Awesome points. Reading this, I realise that I was experiencing the effects of burnout recently. Now I’m taking the steps to be more mindful of my activities. Selfcare, exercising, eating healthier and overhauling my lifestyle are some of the things I am working on and implementing. Great post.
Shelly DS says
Sometimes we experience burnout without even realising it. I’m glad you acknowledged that you were burning out from reading this post. I hope you start to feel better!
I’ve learned that stress can be the little seed in your spirit that can sprout into a massive tree and affect every facet of your life, most times it’s negatively. It can be the root of your physical and mental ailments so as often as I can, I try to put my selfcare needs top of the priority list. Thanks for the reminder!
Shelly DS says
Oh wow I love this analogy. You’re so right. It can start out small but grow into something we can no longer control. Its about making sure we don’t let it grow!
Beautiful post here Friend. Through the hustle and bustle of life and the desire to do everything, we end up wearing ourselves out. For stress, I do a few things. First, start by putting God first, and begin your day with a prayer to God and a heart for God. God is able to orchestrate several things and he can use divine assistance to make our day easier. Second, we need to treat our body like a temple. Energy giving foods are a great resource. Thirdly, we need to take little breaks every now and then to refresh.
The most important of these is God. When things get tough, we can always reach out to him for help.
The Bible says in Philippians 4:6
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God”.
God says in Jeremiah 29:11
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”.
If anyone reading is interested in building a relationship with God, I have a post on that here: https://christcenteredruminations.wordpress.com/2018/08/29/how-to-build-a-relationship-with-god/
There is much more to know about God. I post frequently on my blog about topics related to God. You are welcome to follow my blog to keep up with my content. See my blog here: https://christcenteredruminations.wordpress.com/
-All the best. May God bless you.