About Stress and Burnout
Stress is an everyday event for most people. Stress can stem from external causes such as major life events and life transitions, family health issues and illness, and issues at work, school, financial problems or relationship issues.
When you’re running short of time and under the pump, feeling stressed and worn out, what’s the typical human response? Skip meals, eat at your desk, cancel lunch, work back later, catch up on work at home, eat takeaway, stop exercising and socialise less.
While these coping strategies can help in the short term, if they form the basis of an ongoing pattern, they may not be ideal. The things we typically eliminate when we’re stressed are often the very things that form our stress management buffer.
How Stress Can Affect You
Stress and burnout affect you in different ways. Typically, it can affect you on three fronts:
- Physiologically and
If you experience stress on an ongoing basis, you can start to experience symptoms such as mood changes, insomnia, stomach upset, anxiety, anger and irritability, and feeling constantly overwhelmed, among others. This is when stress leads you to burnout: a state of complete mental, physical and emotional exhaustion.
Psychologist Tips for Stress and Burnout
Supporting your body, which in turn will support it to cope with stress and everyday demands, is a great place to start stress first aid.
Returning to an even keel will begin with getting the basics right. Even a small start in this direction will help move you closer to feeling better. Given the body’s physiological response to perceived stress, these tips will form a foundation on which to build more sophisticated stress, anxiety or depression management strategies.
- Make time for those activities that offer relief and balance, such as a catch-up with a friend.
- Return to exercise, no matter how small.
- Leave work on time and make an arrangement or a booking for a massage to provide a reason to leave.
- Return to healthy and routine eating. Do not skip breakfast or lunch, and do not eat at the desk.
- Keep caffeine, sugar and high-fat foods in check to allow your body to cope with the impact of stress.
- Keep an eye on alcohol intake.
- Read or watch pleasant and calming things in the evening rather than work or news-related things.
- Consider getting outside and being in contact with nature, even if it’s just sitting on the grass for lunch. This could include going for walks by the river, on the sand or in the rainforest to invigorate and balance the body and mind.
- Do things that help you relax, such as going for a walk, cooking or practising mindfulness.
- Consider getting professional help from a GP or psychologist if you feel your symptoms are worsening and your mental health is deteriorating.