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What Is Burnout and What Can We Do to Mitigate It?

Shmuel Fischler, LCSW-C · June 9, 2021

In the United States, our situation with the pandemic is greatly improved when you consider we were still in the thick of the shutdown just one year ago. At this point, reopening is taking place, school is out for the summer and all is perfect in the world! Okay, not exactly. Even as we start approaching a sense of normalcy, burnout is still quite common throughout the community. What exactly is burnout, and what can we do to mitigate it?

What is Burnout?

Burnout is a state of being coined by psychologist Herbert Freudenberger that is characterized by both mental and physical exhaustion. The root of this exhaustion can come from a variety of factors, but the end result is typically characterized by feelings of joylessness and emptiness when interacting with friends, family and even getting out of bed in the morning. Most often, burnout is caused from situations like working extended hours, caring for ill family members, overwhelming political news and most recently: enduring a pandemic.  Obviously, living in this sort of state for an extended period of time is not a recipe for sustainable happiness. With that in mind, let’s jump into some tips you can use to help mitigate your burnout.

5 Methods for Reducing and Preventing Burnout

Focus on Adopting a Healthy Lifestyle

Our dieting and exercise practices have a notable impact on our mood and brain function. If either of these areas are lacking in your life, making a concerted effort to focus on improvement may help alleviate your burnout symptoms. Try to ramp up your time spent exercising and choose quality foods that contain lots of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

Reassess Your Sleep Schedule

Many people knowingly stay up late and compromise their sleep time in what is actually an effort to reduce stress. After a long day of fulfilling obligations, those extra minutes to unwind and swipe on our phones might seem like the perfect antidote for stress. Really, that lost sleeping time only ramps up our stress and magnifies burnout symptoms.

Ask for Help

If you are experiencing burnout, you should always remember that you can reach out to friends or family for a little extra support. If someone who is experiencing burnout symptoms reaches out to you, there are a few things you can do to show your support:

  • Listen to their feelings and validate them
  • Offer to help them out, rather than asking what you can do to help
  • Perform kind gestures to remind the individual they are cared for

Create Healthy Boundaries

Without establishing healthy boundaries between work and home, burnout is seemingly inevitable. If ever you feel the need to take time out of your personal life to focus more on work, it may be time to reevaluate your boundaries. You may end up discovering that setting stricter boundaries and waiting until the next day to catch up on emails and texts will have you feeling rejuvenated rather than exhausted.

Be Mindful of Unhealthy and Unhelpful Coping Behaviors

People can often slip into unhealthy behaviors to cope with burnout. Try to pay attention and see if you find yourself slipping into the habit of taking sick days as a means to unwind from work, or if you have displayed general irritability toward the ones you love. These are clear signs that it is time to break these habits and create lasting change.  

Overcome Your Burnout with CBT Baltimore

If you are interested in seeking therapy in Baltimore, we’re here to help. Contact the CBT experts at CBT Baltimore at 443-470-9815. We would love to speak with you.