“Sure, I can look at that for you.”
“I’ll get it to you by tomorrow.”
“No problem, I got this.”
Sound familiar? Do you really “got this?” Or, do you feel stuck riding your endless merry-go-round where your days become nights and nights melt back into the days?
You’re certainly not alone!
This pandemic has impacted our daily living and tested our attempts at coping. Prior to COVID, you may be familiar with day-to-day stresses and depression or anxiety-provoking experiences. However, with mental and physical exhaustion at an all-time high, you may find yourself heading down the destructive path of Covid burnout.
What is burnout?
Put simply, burnout is an overwhelm of stress. You may be able to typically manage your usual life stressors, however it is when these stressors become prolonged that burnout destruction arises.
Burnout results when the balance of deadlines, demands, working hours and other stressors is much higher than rewards, recognition, and relaxation.
You may consider yourself “burnt out” if you’re experiencing any of the following:
- Decreased energy or exhaustion
- Increased mental distance from your job or negative feelings about your career
- Reduced productivity in your job
What is COVID burnout?
Covid burnout is real—and becoming worse as it continues to spread globally among people of varying industries.
What makes Covid burnout different from ‘regular’ burnout?
You may have experienced burnout before. But, this time it’s different with limited essential self-care relievers, limitations on visiting family and friends, and social distancing that has deprived us of a core stress relief—social support. We’re limited in even our day-to-day essential errands such as contactless deliveries and curbside pickups, and on top of all of this, surrounded by masked faces.
Paired with these limitations is our societal fear of the pandemic looming over us, continually thinking “We need to do our part to stop the spread.” Then there’s the guilt, thinking “I should do more to keep my job… Be thankful.” And lastly, those left without jobs, feeling hopeless and the angst searching for a new one in this pandemic landscape.
The good news is that you can create your own new normal. It can be what you want to make it. It takes understanding that you have the power to set boundaries, to be mindful of your self-care, and to take back your life, home, and health!
So, what’s next ? What do I do now?
RECOGNIZE and don’t fool yourself!
The first thing to do is to RECOGNIZE the signs of burnout. Here’s an idea of what mental and physical exhaustion may look like:
- Bad days at work and overwhelmed by responsibilities
- Lack of interest in your work or other activities that you once enjoyed (instead, you feel anxious or depressed)
- Social things now becomes a chore
- Escapist behaviors become your go-to coping like excessive drinking
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Heightened feelings of irritation or anger, and having less patience towards others than you used to
- Physical symptoms such as chest pains, shortness of breath, or sleeplessness
REACT and Change
Identify what changes you want to make in your life. Get back in touch with the simple things that brought you joy. Chances are that if you’re in burnout mode, these things have either fallen by the wayside or are working in a non-productive way for you. You may want to start by looking at your eating, sleeping, and exercising habits to ensure your essential needs are being met.
Now, it’s also important to identify what isn’t working for you. Identify the triggers, activities, or times that easily suck you back into the wormhole of burnout. Try catching these traps and avoiding them before you reach that place. Try blocking out your calendar for an extra 15 minute break or the lunch period you are entitled to. Use this time to physically remove yourself from your work environment as a mental break. Try setting an alarm to remind yourself or assign someone as your accountability partner—maybe you can set breaks at the same time. Create boundaries and stick to them!!
REVERSE and turn the stress around by REDISCOVERING yourself
Identify the stress and reduce it – But how? Slow down, think through the areas of your life that are causing additional stress—try writing them down. If it’s work, try talking to your boss to clarify and make your priorities achievable.
Is it your relationship? Share with your partner how you’re feeling (chances are they’re feeling the same way) or ask for some quality time with them.
Establishing a healthy routine is also important. Exercise regularly, eat healthy, get 8 hours of sleep, make time for hobbies, set new and exciting goals that promote challenge and reward once achieved. As you begin to establish a healthy routine, you’ll soon notice yourself straying away from the destructive path of covid burnout.
Remember, if you fall off this routine, don’t be hard on yourself. Get back up again, focus on your progress and where you’re heading.
In fact, if you’re reading this blog, you’ve already done half the work of becoming aware of your power to grow!
Most importantly, remember that you’re not alone. If you’re experiencing burnout for the first time, therapy may be what you need to help you regain your sense of well-being, strength, and resiliency to help you back on your path of mental and physical wellness. Like the virus, no one is immune to burnout, take care of yourself.
It’s okay to seek help, especially during these times. Click here to book your free 20-minute consult with a therapist today.