How to recover from burnout

5 Ways On How To Recover From Burnout

How often do you feel you can’t leave bed right in the morning? What do you call it when you feel you’ve lost the motivation to complete your work on time? Or do you feel tired most of the time during your week, in spite of taking care of your schedule? Well, this is you facing burnout. How to recover from burnout? Eight times out of ten, people do not even realize they are suffering from a breakdown, let alone think of a solution for the same. And thus, you tend to push yourself through the pain and get on with your work.

What if I tell you that’s pushing you back and not forward?

According to World Health Organization (WHO) reports, burnout is an occupational phenomenon in the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11). The WHO estimates that up to 3 in 10 employees experience burnout globally.

Moreover, a study conducted by Gallup in 2020 found that 76% of employees in the United States experience burnout at least sometimes. Another survey by the American Psychological Association (APA) in 2020 reported that 78% of respondents experienced physical or emotional symptoms of burnout.

how to recover from burnout

What Causes Burnouts in Your Head?

In order to understand how to recover from burnout, you need to first understand what a burnout is. It is a complex phenomenon influenced by various factors, including both external and internal factors. While there is no single chemical cause of burnout, there are some chemical and physiological aspects that can contribute to its development:

  1. Stress hormones: Prolonged and chronic stress can lead to an excessive release of stress hormones, such as cortisol and adrenaline. When constantly elevated, these hormones can disrupt the body’s natural balance and contribute to fatigue, mood changes, and a decreased ability to cope with stressors over time.
  2. Neurotransmitter imbalance: Burnout can be associated with imbalances in neurotransmitters, which are chemical messengers that regulate mood, energy, and motivation. 
  3. HPA axis dysregulation: The hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis is a complex system consisting of the hypothalamus, pituitary gland, and adrenal glands that regulate the body’s response to stress. Prolonged exposure to stressors can dysregulate the HPA axis, leading to disrupted cortisol levels and contributing to burnout symptoms like exhaustion and difficulty coping.
  4. Inflammation: Chronic stress and burnout can contribute to increased inflammation. Inflammation is a natural stress response that can be beneficial in the short term, but persistent inflammation can negatively affect overall well-being. Inflammation can disrupt normal bodily functions and contribute to fatigue, brain fog, and mood disturbances.
  5. Sleep disruption: Burnout often involves disrupted sleep patterns, with difficulties falling asleep, staying asleep, or obtaining restorative sleep. 

It’s important to note that burnout is multifactorial and directly different biological, psychological, and environmental factors. Chemical changes in the body play a role in the physiological response to chronic stress, but they are only a segment of the big picture. Psychological and social factors, such as high job demands, lack of control, and insufficient support, also significantly contribute to burnout.

How to Recover from Burnout in 3 ways?

Recovering from burnout can be a difficult process, and there’s no denying that. However, the good news is that even though it may seem impossible right now, it is very much achievable. Picture this: you’re working long hours, maybe 15-16 hours a day, or dealing with multiple sources of stress at the same time, and it’s starting to take a toll on your work. You’ve probably been searching for a solution or a way out of this situation.

What you need to do now is identify the root cause of your burnout. Is it due to overworking, or is it because of the multiple stressors in your life? If it’s the former, taking a break is essential. Whenever you feel close to burnout, it’s important to step back and take some time to recharge. However, if it’s the latter, solving the problem might be a bit more complicated. Conversational therapy could be a great help in this situation.

You need to address each stressor in your life, either with a therapist or a friend whom you trust to understand your situation. While some situations may require professional medical attention, there are many that can be resolved simply by talking to a friend.

Burnout and mental or emotional breakdown rates tend to be exceptionally high among healthcare professionals. Burnout and mental burnout symptoms include feeling helpless perpetually, detachment, tiredness, loss of motivation, and a sense of decreased satisfaction. A JAMA Internal Medicine study conducted in 2020 found that approximately 50% of physicians in the United States experienced burnout. Similar high rates have been reported among nurses, with estimates ranging from 35% to 45%.

To protect yourself from these issues, consider the following strategies:

Prioritize self-care:

Make self-care a top priority in your life. Ensure to get enough sleep, eat healthy meals, and exercise regularly. In the midst of burnouts and breakdowns, it’s crucial to adopt a friendly and supportive tone when offering advice. Here’s a revised version of the article’s conclusion that emphasizes positivity and self-care:

Remember, going through a breakdown can be an opportunity for personal growth and healing. Now is the time to prioritize self-care and nurture yourself back to a place of well-being.

Right now, grab a pen and make a list of all the things you’re grateful for, or some of the positive activities you can still engage in. Whether it’s pursuing a hobby, spending time with loved ones, or exploring new experiences, write it down and go for it!

Set boundaries:

Establish clear boundaries between work and personal life. Avoid overworking and ensure you have dedicated time for relaxation. Define specific times when you disconnect from work-related emails, messages, and notifications. Consider using tools and apps that help you limit distractions and maintain focus during designated work hours. Protect your personal time by creating digital-free zones, such as turning off notifications during meals or before bedtime.

Practice time management:

Effective time management can help prevent overwhelm and minimize the risk of burnout. Prioritize your tasks, set realistic deadlines, and break down larger projects into smaller, manageable steps. Avoid multitasking and focus on one task simultaneously to maintain productivity and reduce stress. Time management is a key skill for maintaining a healthy work-life balance and reducing stress. Here are some strategies to help you make the most of your time:

  • Prioritize tasks: Start by identifying the most important and urgent tasks on your to-do list. Prioritize them based on their significance and deadlines. Focus on completing high-priority tasks first to avoid feeling overwhelmed.
  • Avoid multitasking: While multitasking may seem efficient, it often leads to decreased productivity and increased stress. Instead, focus on one task at a time. Give it your full attention and dedicate a specific block of time to complete it. You’ll find that concentrating on a single task allows you to work more efficiently and produce higher-quality results.
  • Take breaks: Incorporate regular breaks into your schedule. Stepping away from work periodically helps rejuvenate your mind and prevents mental fatigue. Use these breaks to engage in activities that relax and recharge you, such as stretching, going for a short walk, or practicing deep breathing exercises.

Disconnecting from technology:

Constant connectivity can contribute on how to recover from burnout. Take intentional breaks from electronic devices, such as smartphones and computers. Designate tech-free times or implement digital detoxes where you engage in offline activities that help you recharge. In our hyperconnected world, it’s crucial to take intentional breaks from electronic devices to protect your well-being and prevent burnout. Here are some strategies to help you disconnect and recharge:

  • Designate tech-free times: Set specific periods during the day or week when you intentionally disconnect from technology. For example, you can establish a “no-screen” rule during meal times or dedicate a few hours before bedtime as tech-free time. This should be your first step on how to recover from burnout.
  • Create tech-free zones: Designate specific areas in your home or workspace as tech-free zones. For instance, keep electronic devices out of your bedroom to promote better sleep and relaxation.

Practice self-compassion:

You need to practice self-compassion in order on how to recover from burnout. Acknowledge your limitations and avoid self-criticism. Also, celebrate your accomplishments, no matter how small, and permit yourself to rest without guilt. 

During times of nervous breakdowns, it’s crucial to cultivate self-compassion. Regardless of the reasons behind your breakdown, treating yourself with kindness and understanding is essential. Here’s how you can embrace self-compassion:

Be patient with yourself. Understand that healing takes time, and it’s okay to have setbacks or difficult moments along the way. Treat yourself with patience, acknowledging that recovery is a journey. Avoid self-judgment and allow yourself to experience a range of emotions without criticism.

Burnout vs. Depression- How to recover from burnout?

Lately, I’ve been grappling with a perplexing and daunting question that arose when I experienced burnout over the past few months. I found myself struggling to get out of bed in the morning or even accomplish basic tasks, leading me to believe that I was in a state of depression.

However, I was feeling too overwhelmed and disorganized to determine my next course of action and felt trapped. Fortunately, I ultimately realized that I was only experiencing burnout. Now, I want to assist you in distinguishing between these two states so that you can chart a clear path forward for yourself.

Burnout and depression are two distinct yet interconnected phenomena that have garnered significant attention in recent research. According to a study published in Nature, some of the burnout symptoms are chronic work-related stress, exhaustion, and reduced professional efficacy. It is often attributed to prolonged exposure to demanding work environments and has been recognized as an occupational phenomenon.

On the other hand, on how to recover from burnout, you need to understand that depression is a complex mental health disorder that affects individuals in various domains of life. Recent findings, as reported in Nature, suggest that there may be an overlap between burnout and depression, as individuals experiencing burnout are more susceptible to developing depressive symptoms.

How to recover from burnout?- Concluding Statement

In conclusion, if you’re experiencing burnout, don’t worry, it’s possible to recover. Start by identifying the root cause of your burnout, whether it’s overworking or multiple stressors. Once you know the cause, take action. If it’s overworking, take a break and recharge. If it’s multiple stressors, seek help from a therapist or a trusted friend. Addressing each stressor in your life is essential to overcoming burnout. Remember that you can recover, and with the right steps, you will. Protect yourself by being proactive and taking care of your mental and physical health.

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