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Tips for Avoiding Burnout

By Paul Rothbart

There's nothing wrong with being ambitious. Working hard, getting ahead, building a career. These are all admirable things that can pay nice rewards. But unchecked, they can lead to burnout. The phrase was coined by a psychologist in the 1970s and it refers to a state of extreme exhaustion, physically, mentally and emotionally. Burnout makes it difficult to deal with stress and handle daily tasks. It's a state that doesn't just disappear and it can lead to very serious issues like depression, diabetes, and heart disease. Here is how to recognize burnout and how to prevent it. 

Signs of Burnout

The first sign to look for is complete exhaustion, feeling like there is nothing left in the tank, physically or emotionally. Changes in the sleep schedule and always feeling tired are also common signs. A person experiencing burnout will often be isolated, avoiding socializing and interacting with others. Burnout causes irritability, snapping at family, friends, and co-workers over minor things. Even minimal amounts of stress may cause headaches and stomachaches and minor problems may seem insurmountable. Because burnout can lower the immune system, it can cause frequent illnesses, flus and colds, and can cause depression and anxiety. Another sign of burnout is fantasies of running away and escaping the stress of work. In extreme cases, the sufferer may even turn to alcohol or other drugs.

Preventing Burnout

Taking care of yourself physically is at the core of preventing burnout. Regular exercise is vital. It doesn't have to be a 90 session at a gym. Taking short walks daily or doing some light calisthenics or yoga will be sufficient. A healthy body is a key to a healthy mind. Along with exercise comes diet. Eating healthy and balanced meals will also keep the mind and body in good shape. Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids are recommended as omega-3s are natural antidepressants. Getting sufficient amounts of sleep is also important. Avoid caffeine later in the day. Take the time to get away from computers and other device screens and relax before bed. Don't hesitate to ask for help. Reaching out to family and friends is a good way to gain a feeling of support and not feel so overwhelmed. Take care of each other.

Helping Others With Burnout

A family member or close friend may be experiencing burnout. You can help by listening, just letting this person express concerns and other issues. Try to validate their feelings by empathizing. Small gifts, kind gestures, and words of support can go a long way toward helping a victim of burnout. 

Burnout is a serious and all too common condition. Know the signs and recognize if you or someone you love is experiencing it. Take care of the body and get some time away from work to just relax and have some fun.

To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in League City, Tex.

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