It’s way too easy to get swept up in the daily grind of work. Bringing home that stress cuts into your family time, and you already have enough going on with your home life. Trying to balance a social life and more on top of all of that only adds to the weight on your shoulders. When all of this adds up, you might feel like you can’t tackle anything, even the simplest of daily tasks. These tips will help you avoid mental burnout and all the unhappiness it can bring into your life.
1. Watch for the signs.
Be aware of the signs of mental burnout. Don’t think that it’s simply stress that will go away over time. Physically, you might get sick more often, or see changes in your sleeping or eating habits. Emotionally, you might feel detached and not care about anything you used to. You might withdraw from others and shy away from responsibilities you would previously be excited to take on. This might feel like an extended period of stress, or some sort of depression, but be aware that it could be burnout.
2. Stay healthy.
You might feel bad because of the stress, but make sure you stay healthy. Get enough sleep every night. Keep eating healthy. Exercising daily will not only keep you healthy, but by giving your body a workout and your mind something else to focus on, it can help you out of any depression you might be experiencing.
3. Take a break from the grind.
If you have vacation time, use it. Call in for a sick day. If it’s not possible to actually take time off, try to disconnect from technology every day. Turn off your phone, push back from the computer, and don’t turn on the TV. Do what you like to do to relax. Read a book on the couch. Do yoga by yourself. Or completely disconnect from real life by meditating for an hour and clearing your entire mind.
4. Keep your days manageable.
Don’t put more on your plate than you can handle. Keep your To Do lists short, and make sure you can accomplish everything in the time you have available. Having an unsurmountable To Do list will only increase your feelings of helplessness. If you only have enough energy to make it through the work day, clear your schedule so that’s all you have to do. Keep big projects at bay until the weekend when you have more time, or for when you might feel better.
5. Take advantage of your support system.
Your family and friends love you‒take advantage of this! Tell them what’s going on and what you’re having trouble with. They’ll be more than willing to help out in any way they can. Don’t be afraid to let them step in to pick up the slack. If someone offers to make you dinner, don’t turn them away and insist you can do it yourself. Accept help when you need it. It will help you avoid burnout, or bounce back quicker from any stress you may already be experiencing.
6. Reassess your priorities.
Is your job causing you more stress than it’s worth? Think about what could make it easier on you and talk to your boss. If you’re asking for reasonable things, like more time to finish projects, or an assistant to help with the workload, your concerns will more than likely be well received. If it’s not possible to redefine your job duties, try to have a list of priorities. Are presentations most important? Put those at the top of your list and try to forget about other tasks until you’ve met your major deadlines.
If your home life is troubling you, try to find a solution to the problems. Is your partner not doing as much with the children as they could? What about those kids‒could their chore list be added to so the house stays cleaner without taking more of your time? If the bulk of the workload is left to you, then prioritize what needs to be done. Make dinner in a crock pot, and let the dishwasher run while you’re at work. Clean every other weekend, instead of every few days.
7. Have a creative outlet.
Don’t let the hassle of real life get you down. Have a creative outlet to relieve the stress of the daily grind. Vent in a journal after work, or try writing fiction stories as an escape outlet. Draw pictures, or create abstract paintings on canvas even if you don’t have much artistic talent. Knit scarves for gifts, or try making up your own recipes in the kitchen. There’s something you enjoy doing that you always push to the back burner. Let it take priority every once in awhile to ensure you’re keeping the rest of your life in check.