We have all experienced burnout.
What some of you might not know is what stage of burnout are you at.
More importantly, what you can do about it.
Five stages of burnout
Recognizing which stage of burnout you’re at will allow you to seek help sooner. It will also put you in a better situation to deal with it.
In this first phase of burnout, you may begin to experience predicted stresses of the job, so it’s important to start implementing positive coping strategies, such as taking practical steps in your job, or prioritizing your mental health
Onset of Stress
The second stage of burnout begins with an awareness of some days being more difficult than others. You may find your optimism waning, as well as notice common stress symptoms affecting you physically, mentally, or emotionally.
This is a marked change in your stress levels, going from motivation, to experiencing stress on an incredibly frequent basis. You may also experience more intense symptoms than those of stage two.
Entering stage four of burnout is where symptoms become critical. When burnout is talked about more generally, this is the stage that is often referred to. Continuing as normal is often not possible, and it’s key that you seek intervention
The final stage of burnout is habitual burnout. This means that the symptoms of burnout are so embedded in your life that you are likely to experience a significant physical or emotional problem, as opposed to occasionally experiencing stress or burnout.
3B to cope with burnout
The best way to cope with Stage 1 is simply to be aware. Awareness can help you recognize where your priorities are and have you managing them according to your values.
For Stage 4 and 5, the best strategy is to seek professional help. I worked with a psychiatrist to manage my anxieties using medication. This also allows me to get back to baseline, where I remain functional. Once the medication kicks in, I then work with a psychologist to better understand my thoughts and self-beliefs. More importantly, what strategies I can use to manage my thoughts and self-beliefs.
The strategy to cope with Stage 2 and 3 is the 3B—breathe, boundaries, and breaks.
- Breathe. This involves any form of exercises. The whole idea is to increase the amount of oxygen intake. This aids the rejuvenation of your cells. I like running, brisk walking, and swimming. Meditation is another good way to breathe.
- Boundaries. Ring fencing your time is a great way to ensure you stay focus on the task at hand. It also allows you to protect time you want to invest it on either yourself, your family, or any other endeavors other than work.
- Breaks. Throughout the day, it is important that you take short breaks. I’ve used the Pomodoro Technique for years and have benefited from it greatly. I have also taken mini-retirements like our family’s one-year travel adventure.
Light that fire under your belly. But don’t burnout.
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