3 ways to avoid burnout

How to avoid burnout as we head into the winter months, because it’s already been a long year.

In the early days of the pandemic, if you were lucky to work remotely you may have felt happy and safe in your home. Zoom calls were a novelty, everyday sweats were luxury, and in the evening, everyone was making good progress on their Netflix queue.

As we’ve moved past the initial days of the pandemic, what felt like only temporary measures have turned into a whole new lifestyle. Now, that we’ve had months of limited social contact and stringent rule following we’re all feeling a little exhausted.

With winter coming and the possibility of even more time in our homes, here are 3 ways to help avoid burnout:

1. Be aware of your body’s needs

  • Exercise

Keep your body strong and healthy by adopting a regular exercise routine. The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada recommends 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous-intensity aerobic activity per week. A little exercise goes a long way! Just two 10 minute walks a day will help you reach this goal and keep your body in good condition.

  • Sleep

A good night’s sleep may be a rare thing for some of us these days. But getting ample rest is a goal we should all strive for. Sleep affects immune function, regulates your weight, influences your mood and can affect your life expectancy. While most of us are happy to take what shut-eye we can get, it’s important to know that gender and age affects how much sleep is recommended. Read about how much sleep you really need. 

  • Eat well

We know what we eat is an important part of how healthy we are. Nourishing our bodies with fruit and vegetables and whole foods helps to protect us from obesity, heart disease, stroke, cancer and diabetes. It also gives us energy, increases our focus and positively affects our mood. Looking to make a change in your diet? Start with eating more whole foods.

2. Be aware of your brain’s needs

Mental stress effects our decision-making abilities and our emotional intelligence. High-stress make us self-focused and less attentive to those around us – and we may have trouble seeing the bigger picture.

Good news is that there are several techniques to help us quiet our minds. Try yoga or meditation to calm your anxiety and open your mind. Journaling is also an effective way to gain perspective on our emotions and spot recurring stressors.

Personality also plays an important role in our mental health needs. For example, if you are an extrovert you should prioritize spending time (safely) with friends. If you are an introvert, you need to schedule time away from work meetings and family obligations for a little quiet time on your own. Not sure where you fall on the extraversion/introversion spectrum? Here’s a fun test to take.

3. Be aware of your emotional needs

Your leisure time matters to your well-being. Even if you enjoy your day job, there are several factors out of your control that may affect how you feel about yourself (demanding workload, absence of reward or recognition). However, there is much to be said about the positive impact that activities outside of work, hobbies and leisure pursuits, have on our overall health.

Did you know that researchers found that having a hobby can lead to better physical health, more sleep, lower stress, increased happiness, more friends, and improved work performance? A hobby is something that’s just for our own pleasure, a creative or intellectual pastime where you will be able to slow down and find enjoyment, reward and relaxation. Don’t have something that you’re yearning to pursue? Here’s a guide to finding a hobby.

Want to learn more about your own mental health? Visit Ready for Life to learn more about youth and adult mental health with contributions for leading mental health experts.