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how to prevent burning out

We often can't tell or don't know when we're burning out but it's good to know the signs of when it could be happening

Sometimes we work too much, makes too many commitments and life becomes overwhelming. We start burning out and simple tasks can become increasingly difficult and we don’t know when to switch off. Sometimes it takes certain indicators to make you stop, get help or wind down.

Burning out is when you’re physically, emotional or mentally exhausted and can occur when you experience enduring stress in your job, sometimes manifested by problems in your personal life, when you have been in a demanding role or task for a long time. It doesn’t go away on its own and it can worsen if unaddressed, leading to issues with your physical and mental health. It may end up that you don’t have the energy to do basic tasks and it might become more difficult to do standard tasks at work.

Signs that you’re burning out

You might not know it’s happening or it might be on the horizon. Maybe you’re exhausted already but can’t identify exactly what it is. Here are some common signs:

  • Tired or drained most or all of the time
  • Lack of energy and the inability to solve basic tasks
  • Taking a long time to do things
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Detached from everything in the world
  • Self-doubt
  • Negativity

It’s important to learn about burning out

Burning out is often misunderstood, stigmatised and disregarded but it can become costly to the health and wellbeing of the workforce and their overall productivity. Whether you’re an employee or a manager, it’s good to know how you can changes to your workplace to help people take time out and feel less overwhelmed. Often, employees don’t know what options are available, what they can or who they can go to in the event that they want to open up about burning out. This means it’s important for the workforce to communicate with staff about the options available to combat and manage work-related stress or poor mental health before it becomes too much.

If you’re an employer or business looking to improve mental health and wellbeing within your workforce, find out more about the mental health training we offer at Change Mental Health. Read our resource on good workplace wellbeing to get an idea of some tips you can introduce immediately.

It can come from anywhere

  • You could have money worries: in which case, plan your budget, get debt advice or get information by contacting our Mental Health and Money Advice team.
  • Working: we have mostly discussed that burning out can happen because of working but the lines are becoming increasingly blurred between home working and home life, especially after the pandemic. Structure your day, take breaks, go for a walk, exercise and check in with others.
  • Lack of sleep: it can contribute towards burning out set a routine, do mindfulness, listen to a good podcast or soothing music and try to relax.
  • Job security: you might feel like you have imposter syndrome or it could be that you’re overthinking your job situation. Talk to your employer and manager about your job situation or get advice from an organisation like ACAS.
  • Physical health: mental health is just as important as physical health. It’s recommended that you eat healthily with a balanced diet and keep physically active while drinking plenty of water. Check out out resource on workouts that can boost your mood.
  • Isolation and loneliness: you might feel like there is no one there to talk to in a time of need. Samaritans and Breathing Space are phone lines you can call to chat with someone if you’re feeling lonely and at fear of burning out. Our Information and Support Line can signpost you to relevant support in your area that most fits your needs to combat your isolation and loneliness. Our partners at Mental Health UK run an online support forum called Clic where you can access information, discussions and support contacts.
  • Relationships: it’s important to have a good, healthy relationship with yourself as well as others. You will want to confide in your partner and they could be a network to get that extra support to share your hopes and fears. It’s important to be present for each other but giving each other space, as well as transparency and listening.
  • Caring for others: increased caring responsibilities on top of other commitments can lead to burning out. Read our resource on help for carers to establish your rights and how you can get support if you’re caring for somebody with a mental health condition.
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