Given the hassles of today’s world, it is easy to feel overwhelmed and stressed. Burnout is a state of emotional, physical and mental exhaustion when you feel completely drained out and stressed. You lose your work efficiency, which occurs due to prolonged stress periods.
Mental burnout can happen to anyone. You may experience feelings of detachment and apathy, which can seriously disrupt your life and relationships. You may also experience a feeling of helplessness, but you can get over this with some self-help and a change in your daily routine.
Symptoms of mental burnout
Emotional Signs of Mental Burnout
- cynicism or pessimism
- apathy (feeling of not caring)
- feelings of hopelessness
- a feeling of dread
- lack of motivation
- decline in productivity
Physical Signs of Mental Burnout
- difficulty concentrating
- upset stomach
- body aches
- chronic fatigue
- changes in appetite
- weight gain or weight loss
- increased illness, such as colds and flu
Behavioural Signs of Mental Burnout
- poor performance at work
- social withdrawal or isolation
- inability to keep personal or work commitments
- calling in sick to work or school more often
Steps to treat and cope with mental burnout:
- Remove the stressor
Perhaps the most obvious way to get rid of stress is to remove the stressor. However, this is not always easy. If you feel overburdened by the responsibilities at home or work, you can ask someone to help you and delegate the work to others who are willing to help.
It is better to do this since some time away from work will help you relax your body and mind and will get you on track whenever you decide to start again. You can also seek the help of professionals for tasks that can be completed with outside help, like taking care of a loved one, babysitting, and household chores.
- Take a break
Taking some time off to relax and rejuvenate yourself is essential for handling mental burnout. If you feel overwhelmed with work and stress, take an extended vacation with family and friends or go solo!
For students, taking quick breaks between study hours is a must to freshen the mind. While at work, one can take short breaks and talk to colleagues, go for a short walk during lunch break and even catch a movie with friends at the end of the workday or weekends. These will help you relieve some of the pent-up stress and help you cope with burnout.
It’s not always easy to find the encouragement to exercise, even on a day when you are in a good mood. It will be harder when you are already burned out. It is a proven fact that exercising has its benefits for your physical, emotional and mental health. You don’t have to indulge in a jam-packed, high-intensity workout routine; just some light exercising such as brisk walking and stretching is enough to reap the benefits. People who exercise regularly are more suited to deal with chronic stress than those who don’t exercise at all!
Exercising also helps to:
- Improves blood flow
- Improved mood
- Reduced stress levels
- Reduced anxiety
- Stronger immune system
- Relaxation Techniques
Another way of treating burnout is through relaxation techniques. A relaxation technique is any method, process, operation, or activity that assists a person in relaxing, achieving a state of improved calmness, or reducing discomfort, worry, stress, or rage.
Relaxation techniques have been shown in studies to reduce stress and anxiety. Meditation lowers cortisol levels in the blood, which may reduce the risk of diseases connected with stress, according to a study conducted a few years back involving 30 medical students in Bangkok.
Some examples of relaxation techniques are:
- Deep inhalation
- Gradual reintegration
- Medical attention is required
It is critical to seek expert care for mental weariness. A mental health professional, such as a therapist, can provide you with the tools you need to deal with stress and get through this trying time. Consult a physician about your symptoms. While you work through your mental tiredness with different approaches and counselling, your doctor may recommend drugs to help manage your symptoms.
Antidepressants, anti-anxiety drugs, and sleep aids are some of the pharmaceuticals that can be used to treat mental tiredness.
- Get sufficient sleep
Sleep is essential for your emotional health. Each night, try to get the required eight hours of sleep. Avoid spending too much time in bed during the day, something that mental weariness may contribute to. Try to fix a sleep schedule and stick to it. For example, get into a habit of doing some light reading every night before going to bed. This will help you relax your mind and fall asleep with ease.
- Maintain a gratitude journal and write positive affirmations
Negative feelings and thoughts can consume you when you are burned out. It is important to focus on the good things in life. Maintain a journal and pen down all the things you are thankful for. This will help you fight the negativity encircling you and give you the strength to stay positive. You can also develop a habit of writing affirmations, affirming things that you want to achieve.
People who practice gratitude exercise enjoy – higher well-being, fewer symptoms of illness, happiness, reduced stress and improved sleep.
As you might have noticed, all of these methods are interlinked and must be followed by you if you are experiencing a state of mental burnout. Remember, taking care of oneself is the most important job.
“Caring for myself is not self-indulgence; it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.”