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Mind Matters | How can I manage burnout?

Mind Matters | How can I manage burnout?


“Recently, I have been burnt out and I cannot accomplish anything without feeling immensely tired or irritated. Any suggestions on how I manage?” -A struggling student 

Answer by Dristy Moktan, Psychosocial counselor at Happy Minds

Burnout occurs when we run out of physical, mental, or emotional energy. We feel like doing nothing, lack motivation, get tired, and develop a negative attitude towards ourselves and others. In most cases, it is due to overwork—you didn’t get enough rest. It happens to most of us when we are so occupied with our daily tasks that we often overlook the signs our body is trying to convey. As a result, we keep pushing ourselves to achieve our goals rather than give ourselves much-needed rest. 

To combat burnout, it is most important to take breaks. You must pay attention to your body cues. You must recognize what is causing your stress, and be sensible enough to remove yourself from that situation. If you're not used to taking breaks, start small. For instance, getting up from your desk to get a cup of water could help. This may not sound like a big deal, but it is. You must also remember to check in with yourself from time to time. Self-reflection is useful in determining how one feels physically and mentally. It could be as simple as asking yourself, "How am I feeling right now?"

Another way is to practice mindfulness. The idea is to be as emotionally aware as possible. Deep breathing practices can help you manage burnout. Taking mindful breaths allows us to focus on the present moment. It takes little effort and can be done at any time—and it works wonders if practiced on a daily basis.

We often hesitate to say ‘no’ and therefore tend to accumulate things to do for ourselves. You must put things on a pause if you are experiencing burnout. If you're comfortable, communicate what you're dealing with. If you can’t, keep in mind that it all comes down to balance. You must balance your professional and personal demands while maintaining your health and well-being. 

Similarly, making adjustments to your routine, such as setting and keeping boundaries, doing things you enjoy, getting adequate sleep, eating nutritious meals, working out and focusing on priorities, might also help.

If you have been feeling this way for long you should consider getting professional help. It can be really good to have a safe space to talk to someone you don’t know, is neutral, and is trained to provide clinical feedback.