How to Handle Burnout

In our last blog post, we talked about how to define burnout, as well as signs that you’re experiencing it. But now what? What do you do once you’ve identified that it’s burnout that you’re dealing with? What steps can you take to alleviate the stress and exhaustion that comes with it?

For some, the only solution is to literally step away from the situation that is causing the burnout directly. This might mean quitting a job, or ending a relationship, or setting boundaries from the family member that is contributing to the issue. Admitting that you need to make these types of changes can be really difficult, and even harder to follow through with. But if you’re in a position to do so, even temporarily, it will likely be the fastest way to move forward and find a healthy solution.

However, if you’re not in a position to set those types of boundaries, or make those sorts of immediate and drastic changes, there are many other things you can try to see if it alleviates some of the pressure. Here are some ways to get started:

  1. Prioritize self care. We all know that it’s easier said than done. But when facing burnout, it really is the most important thing you can do. Set aside time for yourself, every day, to engage in an activity that replenishes and restores your mental and emotional tank. Whether it be meditation, deep breathing, reading, journaling, doing something creative, or working out; all of these activities can help you to help eliminate some of the stress that is causing the burnout.
  2. Focus on the positive. In cases of burnout, mind over matter really can make a significant difference. It’s very common to focus on the negatives in our lives, especially when plagued with the exhaustion that comes with burnout. But when we can redirect our minds to focus more on the positive things that are going on, and create a space for ourselves to really recognize the things that are going well for us, we will often feels some relief from the symptoms of burnout that we’re facing. 
  3. Continue to engage in activities that are life giving and fulfilling. When facing burnout, it’s very easy to isolate ourselves or avoid doing the activities that we enjoy, because the thought of doing even one more little thing can seem overwhelming. But the fact is, if you can continue to spend time with friends, or participating in activities make you feel energized, you may find that you have more strength to help you move past the situation that has you so burnt out.
  4. Be self aware. Take note, every day, of how you’re feeling and why. Identify the situations that are triggering the burnout, and take the steps you need to eliminate those triggers. Start small, by making changes that are reasonable, and set realistic expectations for yourself. Only you know what you can handle, so you have to start by being honest with yourself about what that means for you. Figure out where the sources of the burnout are originating. Assess if it is more about mental health issues and how you are handling stress or if it is more external and stressor based. Is it solely work related? Is it personal life and relationships? is it a combination of both? 
  5. Work on Boundaries. Figuring out the source of stressors and overwhelm can help you to figure out what areas you might be able to pull back on and boundaries you need to set on your time and resources. This can be a complex process and depends on many factors specific to what kind of burnout you experiencing.
  6. Ask for help. While it’s important to be self aware, and to practice self care, burnout is rarely something that can be dealt with alone. Yes, changes can be made, and expectations and boundaries can be set. And while those are things we must do for ourselves, most of us are more successful when relying, at least in part, on others to help support and guide us. Sometimes this is a circle of friends that we trust. Sometimes it’s a significant other who can empathize with what we’re experiencing and provide support. Maybe it’s a family member who helps provide a listening ear, or provides other types of help that we so desperately need, helping to eliminate some of the stressors we’re facing. But please know that if those things are not enough; and they might not be, there’s no shame in looking for help outside of our personal life. Professional therapists are specifically trained to help support those facing burnout, but helping the burnt out individual with goal setting, identifying triggers, and coming up with practical solutions to help us alleviate, if not eliminate entirely, the source of the burnout. 

If what you’re facing feels too big, too challenging, or just too exhausting to face alone, and your personal support system isn’t enough to get you past it, please consider seeing a licensed therapist to help you through it. Contact us today for a new patient appointment, and to get matched with the therapist who’s the best fit for you!

205 S. Hoover Blvd. Ste 202
Tampa, FL 33609
(813) 563-1155

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