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In an ever-connected world, it can be challenging to take a break for self-care, even when you need it.

If you’re experiencing burnout, you may feel drained both physically and emotionally, making it challenging to give your all when performing daily activities.

Below, we bring you tips for confronting burnout and getting back to functioning at your best.

Knowing what tools and habits work for you when dealing with stress can help you prioritize your well-being and prevent burnout.

Coping strategies can be direct and action-focused or indirect and emotion-centered.

Taking an action-focused approach means you confront the cause of stress by making actionable changes, such as:

  • setting boundaries
  • managing your time
  • finding solutions to improve problems directly
  • assigning tasks to others who can help

An emotion-centered approach focuses on managing your emotional response to stress. Some ways to do this may include:

  • connecting with others
  • practicing meditation
  • exercising
  • participating in leisure activities
  • talking with a mental health professional

Findings from a 2021 study of 650 Finnish women suggest that eating a well-balanced diet is associated with lower burnout symptoms.

A healthy diet can help support your immune system and may have protective effects against depression and chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

To boost your nutrient intake, try eating whole foods like:

  • fruits
  • vegetables
  • nuts
  • whole grains
  • fish
  • legumes

And keep processed foods, sugars, and saturated fats to a minimum.

Have you ever been particularly moody after a bad night’s sleep? Or experienced trouble focusing at work because you stayed up all night watching an exciting new show? When you don’t sleep well or enough, life’s daily activities can seem overwhelming and exhausting.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), adults over age 18 should get at least 7 hours of sleep per night.

Research from 2021 also finds that quality sleep is associated with an improvement in mental well-being. On the other hand, poor quality sleep, shorter sleep times, and insomnia are linked to higher rates of burnout.

Getting enough quality sleep is crucial to both your physical and psychological health. Lack of sleep can lead to consequences such as:

  • a weakened immune system
  • impaired motor skills
  • inflammation
  • heart problems
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • issues with memory
  • difficulty focusing

Whether it’s setting boundaries at work, in your social life, or with family, knowing your limits can help you protect your mental health and focus on your own needs rather than just the needs of others.

Wondering how to set effective boundaries? Here are some strategies to try:

  • Clearly and firmly communicate your needs with others.
  • Give yourself permission to say no.
  • Create time limits for yourself.
  • Give yourself permission to take a break.

Research from 2017 links participation in leisure activities with improved quality of life and higher job satisfaction.

Maybe you feel most relaxed after physical activities like a game of tennis, yoga, or hiking. Or maybe you prefer more passive pastimes, like watching funny movies, reading, or listening to music.

Whatever unwinding means to you, taking time to decompress can help you feel refreshed and better equipped to take on everyday stresses.

Like sleep, exercise is important for many aspects of overall health.

There’s an enormous amount of research that links exercise to a longer, healthier, and happier life, according to a 2018 research review.

Exercise can help delay chronic disease risk, and also promote better mental well-being. Evidence from the review shows that aerobic exercise, resistance exercise, and mind-body exercise can all improve symptoms of depression.

So what’s the ideal amount of time to move?

The CDC recommends that adults get 150 minutes of moderate to intense physical activity per week, as well as doing muscle-training activities 2 days per week.

Examples of aerobic exercise you can try include:

  • running
  • walking
  • cycling
  • swimming

Some ways to practice resistance exercise include:

  • lifting weights
  • using resistance bands
  • doing reformer Pilates
  • doing bodyweight exercise

If you’re feeling stressed, you might want to put down your phone and turn off the news on your television (or change the channel).

Studies suggest that consuming media that exposes you to news about disasters can negatively affect your mental health. A 2020 study involving 512 Chinese college students found that those who used social media frequently were more likely to have poor mental health.

A 2020 study suggests that social connectivity may translate to better mental well-being and a reduced risk for depression.

Sometimes talking with someone about what’s on your mind can help you feel better. Connecting with a friend, family member, social group, or support group may make it easier to cope with stress.

If you need a little extra support with managing your mental health, a licensed professional such as a therapist can help you find the best coping strategies for stress and work with you to curb burnout symptoms.

When life feels overwhelming due to chronic stress from work and personal responsibilities, it can be natural to experience burnout.

Taking steps to cope with stress and exhaustion can get you back on a path to feeling better and performing at your best.

If you need a little extra support managing burnout, a licensed mental health professional can help guide you to get back on track.