Some people seem to thrive under pressure. However, over time, chronic stress with no down time can overwhelm us all, leading to a decreased zest for life and eventually we burnout. There are certain lifestyle features can lead to this. While some workplace stress is normal, excessive stress can interfere with your productivity and performance—and impact your physical and emotional health. Often, your ability to deal with stress can mean the difference between success and failure in any kind of work. The main reasons given for work stress include work pressure, lack of support from managers, work-related violence and bullying. A life of a consistent 80-hour a week with no down time and schedules that are extremely full are very draining and are classic high risks for a possibly burnout. Although we all tend to have especially busy weeks, those who devote all of their time to work and work-related activities and put other areas of their lives—like relationships, hobbies, and exercises—on hold, put themselves at a higher risk for stress. It’s not just the fact that work can be draining and stressful, but that their lifestyle is out of balance. Activities that relieve stress and sustain us emotionally and spiritually are reduced or eliminated in favor of more stress-inducing work. Such a schedule is also a burnout risk because, as a person living such a busy lifestyle approaches a state of burnout, they’re not able to easily get themselves back in balance with these stress relieving activities.
Learn to Speak Out:
Greaves says you can prevent exhaustion by knowing how much work you can take on. By taking on too much, you could end up doing nothing well.
Calculate how long you’ll need to deal with your current workload so that you can see if you have any extra capacity. If you’re extremely busy and your boss asks you to do more, you can say no. Outline your reasons in a specific, measurable way, but always offer a solution.
Get Social Support
In addition to needing people who can help us with responsibilities, we need people to help us shoulder the emotional burdens in our lives.
Having someone to talk to about what stresses us, someone to play with when we have free time, someone to understand us when times are tough, and someone to supply new ideas when we’re stumped are all important and necessary aspects of social support. Feeling isolated with our stress creates more stress, and elevates our risk for burnout, whereas adequate social support can be a buffer against it. See what types of support are most helpful.
Make Time for Hobbies
Those who work hard often tend to play hard, which helps sustain them. Having an outlet for enjoying life outside of work can help you feel alive and supply you with a mental and emotional break from what’s stressing you. However, if your whole life consists of responsibility and work, and you don’t have a creative outlet or regular outlet for good old fun, it’s harder to sustain yourself through the stressful times in life. Take some time off from work and do something fun, like gardening, cleaning, cooking, playing an instrument, meditating, painting, or any other activities you enjoy because they can reduce stress tremendously.
Get more Sleep
People don’t always realize the importance of this one, but if you don’t get enough sleep, you are less able to handle stress, and you’re also less productive and suffer other consequences.
When you get inadequate sleep on a regular basis, you put yourself into a state of chronic sleep deprivation and chronic stress and put yourself at a higher risk for burnout. Realize if you’re either a night person or morning person. It is good idea to go to bed early if your morning person and get your work done in the morning. If you are night person take a power nap during the day and you can get most of your work done at night.
Take Some Time Off
Part of living a balanced lifestyle is having regular times off. Taking a vacation at least once a year can help you get into a different situation and remind yourself why you are—outside of your responsible roles. Vacations help you to get back in touch with yourself and discover new parts of yourself, as well as just sit, relax, and think of nothing. While this can also be accomplished with meditation and other activities, nothing does it quite so easily and enjoyably as a vacation. When you return, you’re usually at least somewhat happy to get back to your life, and such times off can be good burnout prevention. If you haven’t taken time off in quite a while, you’re putting yourself at an increased risk for burnout.
So far, you may be getting an idea about how your lifestyle may be contributing to your stress level and burnout risk.
Eat A Snack
Stress eating doesn’t have to be bad.
The connection between the gut and brain is huge called the “gut-brain axis” and lots of interesting data supports the idea that the gut is a major mediator of the stress response,” Dr. Drew Ramsey, an assistant clinical professor of Psychiatry at Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons and the author of The Happiness Diet says “After all, stress is a brain and immune system mediated phenomena, and your gut is the largest organ in your immune system.”
Pick a snack that will fill you up — say, half an avocado, a handful of nuts or a hard-boiled egg — because nothing is more stressful to the brain, Ramsey explains, than feeling like you’ve run out of nourishment. Take your snack away from your computer and go sit someplace peaceful. Focus on your food: its texture, the way it tastes, how it makes you feel. Now you’ve turned your snack into a meditation.
Taking Steps to Manage Stress
- Track your stressors. Keep a journal for a week or two to identify which situations create the most stress and how you respond to them.
- Develop healthy responses.
- Establish boundaries.
- Take time to recharge.
- Learn how to relax.
- Talk to your supervisor.
- Get some support.