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10 Steps to Avoiding Burnout

Recent grads, remote workers, and stressed-out employees are feeling burnout. Learn why, and how psychologists use massage for burnout treatment.

Burnout can affect just about anyone. Most people associate burnout with long work hours or a stressful job. But pressures at home, stressful exams, even a mounting list of chores or errands can trigger that burnt-out feeling. The bad news is, burnout is extremely common, and it’s on the rise. According to a recent study from Deloitte, 77% of people said they have experienced burnout. The good news is, there are ways to prevent burnout. Once you’re able to recognize the first signs of burnout, you can take these active steps to avoid total burnout before it takes its toll.

What are the symptoms of burnout?

Coined in the 1970s, burnout is defined by psychologists as a psychological syndrome characterized by emotional exhaustion, feelings of cynicism, and reduced personal accomplishment. Avoiding burnout in the first place starts with knowing the symptoms. The signs and symptoms of burnout will look different to everyone, but some of the most common burnout symptoms include:

  • Physical exhaustion
  • Feeling mentally drained or unable to focus
  • Frequent illness or weakened immune system
  • Decreased work or school performance
  • Lack of interest in doing the things you enjoy
  • Headaches
  • Muscle pain and soreness (not due to exercise)

What causes burnout?

While stress is just a part of life, burnout usually occurs when chronic stress and anxiety becomes too much to handle. Our bodies are equipped to endure and recover from a certain amount of stress. But over time, without the proper care and rest, our bodies can’t fully restore themselves. That’s when the symptoms of burnout start to creep in. Knowing what causes it will help you take the necessary steps to prevent and avoid burnout! Common causes of school and work-related burnout include:

  • Excessive drive or ambition to constantly do more and work harder
  • Taking on too many responsibilities
  • Lack of recognition for your work
  • Monotonous or unchallenging tasks
  • Not taking time for breaks, hobbies, or self-care
  • Perfectionism and high-achieving personalities

10 ways to prevent burnout

The best way to avoid burnout is to recognize the symptoms and start taking immediate action. Whether you’re on the road to burnout because of a stressful job or taking care of family members or just finished two weeks of grueling exams, here’s what to do if you’re feeling burnt out:

Take a day off

Your body needs time to restore and recover from the added stress. Use a vacation day, take a mental health day, or ask a friend to watch the kids for a few hours so you can take some time for yourself. The key is to fully unplug and give your brain a break!

Manage expectations

Part of preventing burnout is to set realistic expectations with your managers, teachers, family members, and yourself. Communicate clearly what you’re able to handle, and check in regularly to keep yourself from getting overloaded.

Schedule regular self-care sessions

Part of avoiding burnout is taking care of yourself and checking in. Self-care is key! Book a massage for burnout, or schedule a spa day at home can stop that stress before it gets worse. Having regular wellness appointments in your calendar means you’re less likely to skip them, too.

Exercise to avoid burnout

Moving your body on a regular basis is a great way to relieve stress. It doesn’t have to be strenuous or HIIT to work, either. Gentle yoga, assisted stretching, and walking are great ways to incorporate exercise into your schedule.

Meditate every day

Just 5-10 minutes of mindfulness each day can prevent burnout. Meditation for burnout helps you slow down and take a moment to refocus. For the best results, do your meditation at the same time each day. You can start your day with meditation, or use meditation as a way to take a break during your busy day. Download a meditation app or find a nearby class to get started.

Get more sleep (or take a nap)

One of the leading causes of burnout is not getting enough sleep. But it’s so important for restoration! In fact, many successful people swear by a midday power nap to help them get through the afternoon. The key is to know how much sleep your body needs. You may need to make some lifestyle tweaks or change your nighttime habits to make sure you’re getting enough sleep to prevent burnout.

Clean up your diet

It’s easy to fall into the takeout trap when you’re busy, tired, and just want something easy. But proper nutrition is key to keeping burnout at bay. Try to incorporate more whole foods and vegetables, and drink more water. 

Do what makes you happy

Sometimes the key to avoiding burnout is to channel your energy into something creative, especially for work and school-related burnout. Try some DIY, find a new hobby, or pick up an old hobby. Whatever you choose to do, make sure it has nothing to do with the work that’s causing your burnout!

Ask for help to avoid burnout

There’s no shame in asking for help! Your friends and family, coworkers or peers, or a community support group can help take some of the pressure off you, and remove some items from your to-do list. Some people use this as an excuse to take on more work—don’t do it! Use your support network as a way to give yourself the break your body is asking for. 

Seek professional mental health care

Your mental health matters. If you’re suffering from chronic burnout and stress, it may be time to see a professional therapist or psychologist. They can help you figure out your burnout triggers, and give you personalized treatment plans for combatting your burnout.

Why you should get a massage for burnout

Of course, everyone can benefit from a relaxing massage. For those suffering the symptoms of burnout, however, a massage could make a world of difference. In fact, the stress-reducing effects of massage can relieve the symptoms and feelings of burnout after just one session. According to scientific research, aromatherapy massage with lavender oil has shown to provide immediate and powerful relief from stress and anxiety associated with burnout.

Offices and businesses take note: massage in the workplace is a great way to prevent employee burnout. Stress on the job is a leading cause of burnout among adults in the United States and other developed countries. Providing employees with massages at work helps prevent burnout, and shows them that their company cares about their wellbeing!

Recent grads and students who just finished finals week are perfect candidates for on-demand massage. Burnout is a common side effect of finals week, and new graduates are probably facing more stress looking for jobs or preparing for college. Whether you’re suffering from burnout yourself, or know someone who’s had a stressful couple of weeks, a massage with Soothe is the perfect way to get back on the road to recovery. Massage gift cards are a great gift for grads in 2021!