The body is well-equipped to cope with acute or short-term stress, but it’s less able to manage chronic or long-term stress. When you’re exposed to stressful situations or environments for prolonged periods of time, it can lead to a state of burnout. Although this is often associated with job stress, burnout can actually be caused by a number of situations, including a stressful home life. Essentially, this means that anyone can be at risk of burnout, which is why it’s important to take preventative measures. To find out how to protect yourself against chronic stress, take a look at these four rules for preventing burnout:
1. Schedule Downtime
Having time to relax and unwind is essential if you want to avoid burnout, so don’t leave it to chance. No matter how busy your life is or how many responsibilities you have, it’s vital to incorporate downtime into your schedule. This might mean scaling back how much work you do, foregoing some of your usual tasks or even letting the chores pile up. Although it can take some time to get used to having downtime, you’ll soon feel the benefit of prioritizing relaxation.
2. Enhance Your Physical Health
Stress can cause a number of physical symptoms, including headaches, nausea and increased blood pressure. By improving your physical well-being, however, you can prime your body to deal with stress more effectively. In addition to this, regular exercise can be a great way to minimize stress and anxiety, which means it should be a critical element of your day-to-day life if you want to prevent burnout.
For some people, regular trips to the gym allow them to maintain peak physical fitness, but this isn’t the only option. With a variety of health and wellness deals, you can create your own custom workout schedule. From picking up a pair of walking boots to strengthening your muscles with resistance bands, there are endless products that can help you to work out at home or on the go.
3. Learn to Say No
If you have a hard time saying no to people, it’s going to increase the likelihood of you succumbing to burnout. After all, you can’t please everyone all of the time. Instead of automatically agreeing when someone makes a request, think about how much time you have available and whether you’re in a position to assist them without it having a negative impact on your own routine. If so, you can say yes to their request with confidence, but if not, politely decline. As you become more accustomed to putting your own needs first, you’ll feel more authoritative and in control.
4. Ask for Help
When an ongoing situation puts you at risk of burnout, it’s important to make significant changes to protect your mental and physical health. If your working environment is making your feel chronically stressed, for example, it might be time to raise the issue with your manager so that the right support can be provided. Alternatively, if you’re juggling too many responsibilities at home, asking your partner or extended family for more assistance might be your top priority. Similarly, seeking support from external sources, such as childminders, cleaners, life coaches and therapists, can help you to access the practical and emotional support you need.
Recognizing the Signs of Burnout
Burnout can affect people in different ways, so you’ll need to identify your own signs and symptoms of chronic stress. Some people may experience headaches when they’re overtired due to stress, for example, whereas others may feel dizzy. By learning how you respond to stress, you can monitor your well-being so that you can respond to the first signs of burnout. By doing so, you’ll be able to make positive changes to reduce your stress levels and avoid burnout.