The Road to Burnout Recovery

The Road to Burnout Recovery

Introduction

Do you feel overwhelmed and exhausted from work? Do you find yourself losing motivation and interest in things you once enjoyed? You may be experiencing burnout, a state of emotional and physical exhaustion caused by prolonged stress.

In this blog, we will discuss the road to burnout recovery and share tips on how to manage and recover from burnout based on personal experiences and research from trusted sources. From getting more sleep to effective time management, we will explore various ways to take care of your body and prevent burnout from taking over your life.

Work

It is obvious that we all do want to succeed in life. Work starts every Monday and ends on Saturday for 89% of the people around the world which is 6 days a week of work. Most people work for more than 8 hours (from 9 to 5) and some do work even more.

According to the International Labour Organization's report on "Working Time around the World", the average person works approximately 7.7 hours per day or 38.5 hours per week. However, this number can vary greatly depending on the country and region. For example, in Asia the average working hours per day range from 6.3 hours to 9.3 hours in Korea. In Europe and Central Asia, the range is from 6.8 hours in Belgium to 9.5 hours in Turkey.

Talking about India, as per the Indian labor laws, the standard workweek is 48 hours, which amounts to 8 hours a day for six days a week (well you know they will make sure you work for this much at least).

It's worth noting that some industries, such as the IT sector, may have longer working hours, and some jobs may require employees to work on weekends or holidays. Additionally, some workers even work more than 8 hours per day to earn extra money.

Ok, so you got my point. The thing is no one wants to work that much, they only do it so that they can have a better future, or to support their family, or so that their family members can have a better life.

We all rely on this very behalf that if we work hard today we will have a bright future tomorrow which is very true in every sense but this cycle of work repeats every week until we become so stressed and tired that our body starts giving us signals in different ways. This is our body trying to tell us that we shouldn’t be working this much hard and we should give some time and some focus on our body as well.

Burnout State

Burnout is a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. It happens when you feel overwhelmed, emotionally drained, and unable to meet constant demands. As the stress continues, you begin to lose interest and motivation for everything including things that you had fun doing before.

Burnout can suck up all your positivity, your motivation, and energy and leave you hopeless. Slowly it starts growing and starts affecting your personal life including your family and friends. Various research and articles even prove that prolonged stress and burnout start affecting your body in long term and make changes to your body that make you vulnerable to various illnesses.

Effects on health

A review article published in the Annual Review of Clinical Psychology "Stress and Health: Psychological, Behavioral, and Biological Determinants" provides an overview of research on the links between stress and various health outcomes. This article concludes that chronic stress can have negative effects on physical and mental health. The authors note that stress can affect multiple physiological systems, including the immune, cardiovascular, and neuroendocrine systems, which can contribute to a range of health problems.

Another article published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology "Burnout and Cardiovascular Disease: A Systematic Review" examines the links between burnout and cardiovascular disease. This article concludes that burnout is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. The authors note that individuals who experience burnout are more likely to have elevated levels of cardiovascular risk factors, such as blood pressure, cholesterol, and insulin resistance.

There are many articles and research that indicate that our body starts changing with prolonged stress and there are very dangerous effects of burnout and stress on the body including:

  1. Risk to cardiovascular diseases

  2. Weakened Immunity

  3. Risk to diabetes

  4. Stress, Anxiety, and Depression

  5. This may lead many people to start consuming addictive substances such as alcohol etc to cope with that stress.

Burnout Symptoms

The signs and symptoms are subtle at first, but become worse as time goes on. Some symptoms of burnout include but are not limited to:

  1. You feel exhausted

  2. The majority of your day is spent on tasks you find either mind-numbingly dull or overwhelming.

  3. You feel like sh*t

  4. Bad mood 24*7

  5. You feel like whatever you do nothing matters anymore

  6. The feeling of hopelessness and self-doubts

  7. Muscle pain and frequent headaches

  8. Cold or Flu-like symptoms (yep burnout can give people flu-like symptoms as well)

How to recover

Whether you recognize the warning signs of burnout or you’re already past the breaking point, trying to push through the exhaustion as you have been will only cause more emotional and physical damage.

There are many proven ways to recover from burnout:

  1. Get more sleep: Good quality of sleep is important for physical and mental health, and lack of sleep can contribute to feelings of exhaustion, low mood, and reduced cognitive function. Good quality sleep consists of 4+ sleep cycles at least. Click/Tap on the below image to calculate your sleep cycle 👇

  2. Meditation: Studies have shown that doing at least 15mins of meditation every day can reduce a lot of stress from the body.

  3. Reach out to those closest to you: Having a support system of family, friends, and loved ones can be very helpful in preventing and managing burnout. Social support is an important protective factor against stress and burnout, and having people to confide in and share your thoughts and feelings with can be a powerful way to manage stress and build resilience.

  4. Limit your contact with negative people: It is the most obvious but important one cause they will eat up your positivity.

  5. Go for a walk: Every time I feel like I am starting to burn out I go for a walk outside. Studies have shown that walking can help us reduce our stress, and blood pressure and will also help in overall better blood circulation.

  6. Listen to music: Soft music such as jazz, classical, piano, etc. can be a good option to listen to. There are a lot of articles that talk about the benefits of listening to music for reducing stress. I listen to pop, lo-fi, vaporware, and chill when I feel exhausted. Some music you can check out. Click/Tap on the images below 👇

  7. Take a break from technology: Close your smartphone, Close your laptop or PC, go for a walk or talk to someone, do not use your devices for that time of the day or you can make a specific day to have a break from technology.

  8. Deep breathing exercises: Breathing Exercises such as the Wim-hof technique can help a lot in maintaining good blood pressure and a better mood. Click/Tap on the images below 👇

  9. Workout on regular basis: Aim to exercise for 30 minutes or more per day or break that up into short, 10-minute bursts of activity. A 10-minute walk or brisk walking or running whatever you like.

  10. Reduce your sugar intake: You may crave sugary snacks or comfort foods such as pasta or French fries, but these high-carbohydrate foods quickly lead to a crash in mood and energy when your dopamine goes down.

  11. Eat more Omega-3 fatty acids: The best sources are fatty fish (salmon, herring, mackerel, anchovies, sardines), seaweed, flaxseeds, and walnuts.

  12. Start your day with a cold shower: One of the main hormones that are released during cold exposure is norepinephrine, a stress hormone that acts as a neurotransmitter in the sympathetic nervous system. Norepinephrine is involved in the "fight or flight" response and is responsible for increasing heart rate, blood pressure, and respiratory rate, which can help to boost energy and focus. Additionally, cold showers have been shown to increase levels of beta-endorphins, which are natural painkillers that can help to reduce pain and improve overall mood.

What “not” to do

  1. Do not consume alcohol: Alcohol can temporarily reduces stress and worries, but in the long term it becomes addictive and may cause more problems.

  2. Avoid nicotine: Smoking when you're feeling stressed may seem calming, but nicotine is a powerful stimulant, leading to higher, not lower, levels of anxiety in the long term.

  3. Avoid fast food and junk food: Avoid junk food and fast food at all costs as it can lead to bad health results.

Manage your time

One of the key drivers of burnout is feeling overwhelmed and unable to cope with the demands of work or other responsibilities. Effective time management can help you to reduce this feeling of overwhelm by providing structure and organization to your day. By managing your time effectively, you can prioritize your most important tasks, break down larger projects into manageable pieces, and avoid feeling rushed or like you're constantly playing catch-up. This can help to reduce feelings of stress and anxiety, which are key components of burnout.

Some ways to manage your time:

  1. Single-tasking: Many research articles have been posted stating the fact that multitasking is a myth, it's just you focusing on a single task for a short amount of time. Multi-tasking has been proven BS when it comes to overall productivity. At best you can switch between tasks or even use a Pomodoro timer to help you with it. Do one good job or multiple bad jobs, the choice is yours.

  2. Plan your day a night before: Planning your tasks a night before means you already have an idea for the start of the day which can help you in setting the momentum for the day.

  3. Eliminate distractions: It's important to remove your distractions from your surroundings so that you can work efficiently. Put off your smartphone or whatever you are using that is distracting you from your work.

  4. Set time limits: Parkinson’s law states that “Work will expand to fill the time allotted for its completion”, Parkinson’s law works everywhere and should not be neglected when it comes to working. You should set time limits for each task or work and keep taking frequent breaks. I use the Pomodoro technique (45 mins of work + 15mins of break).

  5. Break down tasks into smaller chunks of tasks: This divide and conquer approach not only helps in getting faster algorithms but also works in real life. A big scary task can be divided into smaller tasks by breaking it down into smaller sub-tasks.

  6. Make a list of what-not-to-do: This can include no emails after 8 PM or no smartphone usage in the morning or no pointless coffee meetings etc.

Conclusion

It is important to take care of our body especially when it comes to chronic stress and burnout which is becoming the major factor of various diseases and illnesses in the world. It is important to give some rest to the body and focus on your life as we may not get it again :)

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