10 Ways to Practice Self-Care and Avoid Burnout

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Written by Lindsey Marx | September 13th, 2019
Lindsey is passionate about healthy living in all aspects of life. She enjoys the outdoors, loves to travel, and especially loves to dance.
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Do you find yourself struggling to focus at work?

Are you exhausted at the end of each day, and dreading the next day?

Are you looking for a new challenge?

You may be experiencing symptoms of burnout. Burnout is a serious issue among most of the population. Be sure to apply these 10 techniques to avoid burnout and take care of yourself:

  • Get sleep
  • Exercise
  • Find something you enjoy
  • Take walks
  • Schedule meetings with friends/mentors
  • Set goals for yourself
  • Eat healthy
  • Improve a process
  • Do something you enjoy
  • Take your vitamins

1. Get sleep

One of the biggest factors in avoiding burnout is getting enough sleep. When you are tired, can’t focus, and struggle to stay awake, it becomes increasingly difficult to enjoy what you are doing, and you are headed for burn out. The average person should get between 7–9 hours of sleep per night. Not only are the number of hours important, but you should also strive to hit that goal consistently. Get to bed early, arise early. And while I can't promise that getting regular sleep will make you wealthy and wise, there's no doubt that your health is linked to the quality of your sleep. So make it a priority to get to bed. 

2. Exercise

This is the most common factor you will hear and yet, it is one of the hardest factors for most people. With the difficulty of fitting exercise into your schedule, it can stress you out and cause you to think negatively about yourself which can lead to worse burnout effects. People often associate exercise with an intense sweaty hour-long run everyday. While this can be beneficial for some, it sounds like death to others and dissuades them from working out even more. According to the Mayo Clinic, adults should get 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity. This comes out to 20–25 minutes of exercise a day. It is also recommended that people take walks and stand up more, especially if you work a desk job. Another tip, dont feel like you have to do all 20–25 minutes together, you can split it up to 5 minutes in the morning, 10 at lunch, and another 10 after dinner. As long as you are getting some form of exercise in, you will feel happier about yourself and avoid burn out.

3. Find something about work that you enjoy, and get better at it

One of the best ways to avoid burnout is to discover something you really love about work and set a goal to improve in that area. Become the master and then offer to mentor someone else. If you are passionate about Excel, learn everything that you can, and make yourself mini projects that spark your interest. These self-inspired projects are often great resume builders and can help you catch the eye of a boss or a manger. You may be on your way to a promotion just by pursuing one of your own interests.

4. Take walks

People who work in an office can often feel strapped to their desks. They struggle to get up and take walks. However, taking a brief walk not only gives you a break from your tasks, but it can also give you a fresher perspective on work when you return to your desk. Try asking a co-worker to join you. This way, you can socialize and help each other to avoid burnout. Avoid the temptation to talk about work. Give yourself permission to take a break from the mental load of your to-do list. You can avoid burn out by just focusing on the present — enjoy the walk and the connections you make with those around you. 

5. Schedule meetings with friends/mentors to get their advice

By scheduling meetings with friend and mentors, not only are you giving yourself a break, but you can also get their advice on things you can do to improve yourself and tips for success that have gotten them to where they are today. It is also important to set goals with them so they can keep you in check on progress.

6. Set goals for yourself

Setting goals gives you something attainable and motivational to help you stay focused and avoid burnout. Think of a reward that will inspire you to reach your goals. Set goals in all aspects of your life, and it will feel great to accomplish them and achieve higher.

7. Eat healthy

Along with sleeping and exercising, eating healthy has a huge role in your happiness. If you eat junk food all day long, you will feel sick both inside and outside. This has a negative effect on your attitude and thinking which only leads to worse burnout. Try to keep a log on myFitnesspal to see what foods you should be eating, and what you should not be eating. Try to eat more protein and fiber and fewer carbs. If you want to snack, reach for fresh  fruits and vegetables.

8. Improve a process

If you spend the majority of your day working, try to improve a process. If you find yourself doing the same thing over and over, it is easy to feel burned out. By thinking of ways to change what you are doing and to improve your processes, you might land yourself a new role, promotion, or position. You can also improve your resume.

9. Do something you enjoy to help manage stress

For me, this is huge. I absolutely love to dance, and I find that even one hour of dance a day after work and school makes me feel so much better. It doesn't have to be dance; it can be painting, sports, hiking, a fitness class at the gym, or reading. Some people really enjoy watching Netflix, but I would suggest doing something that gives your eyes a break from the screen and gets you moving to release chemicals in your brain that make you happier. By doing something you love everyday, you will find yourself motivated at work to want to do what you love, and it will help you work towards your goals.

10. Take your vitamins

Vitamins are often overlooked. Vitamins can help you to boost your immune system and get the nutrients you need, especially if you are trying to lose weight. Vitamins have many health benefits and some of these will give you more energy which can avoid burnout and help you to feel healthier and better about yourself.

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