Kicking Stress to the Curb: ways to prevent burnout

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Kicking Stress to the Curb: ways to prevent burnout

Ever experience your heart pounding so fast you feel it’s going to combust? How about your breathe quickening and your forehead sweating profusely? Well friends, these are symptoms of stress. And although we may not all feel heart-about-to-combust-like symptoms, we’ve all experienced stress at some point.

Stress, if not treated, can often lead to burnout. Which can lead to a very miserable life. And who wants that? Not me.

Traditional theories teach us that burnout is caused by working endless amount of hours or enduring too much stress, but that’s an oversimplification if the matter. Not every person feels overwhelmed at the thought of delving into an inbox of 102 new emails deep, and some people actually rely on pressure at work to perform at a high level.

There’s no one-size-fits-all cure for burnout: Some people reach for junk food when stressed, while others may find themselves unable to sleep properly.

According to “The Association of Psychological Science,” burnouts come in three different types, and each one needs a different solution:


  1. Lack of Development: Most closely associated with an avoidance coping strategy. These under-challenged workers tend to manage stress by distancing themselves from work, a strategy that leads to depersonalization and cynicism.


  1. Overload: The employee who works toward success until exhaustion, is most closely related to emotional venting. Individual who fall under this category might try to cope with their stress by complaining about the organizational hierarchy at work, feeling as though it imposes limits on their goals and ambitions. This coping strategy often times leads to a stress overload and a tendency to throw in the towel.


  1. Neglect: This coping strategy based on giving up in the face of stress. These individuals want to achieve a certain goal; they lack the motivation to plow through barriers to get to it.


Here are ways we can avoid this public-health enemy:


Pre-plan the month/week

Before the beginning of each month, we can take time to “map out” what our month will look like. Writing down all of our personal responsibilities and commitments for the month first, and then our work schedules and work-related commitments second. Doing this will allow us to remain focused, while keeping important commitments at the forefront of our minds. We can also pre-plan our weeks. It only takes a few minutes to strategically plan our week, and schedule a time to work on certain tasks a day (there are even apps for this). This helps to not feel overwhelmed or like we’re spreading ourselves too thin.


It’s OK to say “no”

Sometimes we can take on way too many commitments. We find ourselves saying “yes” to everyone, not realizing that every “yes” we say adds another thing on our plates and takes more energy away from us and our creativity. We must understand that it’s OK to say “no.” This comes with setting boundaries with people and ourselves. It will be challenging, but it’s possible! By practicing our boundaries, we will prevent suffering from information/work overload. Setting boundaries like: answering emails at set times, switching our phones off, or even leaving it behind (the world won’t end, I promise), will help us execute ideas and focus on our scheduled work time.


“Treat yo self”

To help relieve pressure, we must treat ourselves kindly. We can do this by scheduling daily blocks of downtime to refuel our brains and well-being. There are endless things we can do to rejuvenate ourselves! Anything from meditation to a nap, a walk, or simply turning off our phones, it all helps to preserve our sanities.  We can schedule blocks of time to leave our “work areas” and grab a cup of coffee, get some fresh air- anything that doesn’t involve technology, really. Meditating is a great mental escape from our tech-charged world. If only 15 minutes, the ability to steer our minds away from constant stimulation can be so liberating!


Change location often

A change of scenery is sometimes just what we need. Or, just simply changing locations often. We can group tasks to certain locations and then switch them around. This can help to keep work manageable, provide frequent breaks, and spend time efficiently.


Stop being perfectionists

Trying to maximize every task and squeeze every drop of productivity out of our creative work is a recipe for exhaustion and procrastination. Like mentioned before, it’s important to set boundaries for ourselves. Consistently sacrificing our health and our relationships for the sake of living up to impossible standards will lead to unhealthy behaviors and procrastination. It’s important to make sleep, exercise, and downtime a regular part of our lives so that we can live longer and have a more productive career.


Write words of encouragement

Who doesn’t like encouragement? It’s important to stay motivated and inspired. We can do this by often writing words of encouragement to ourselves. Reminding ourselves daily that we “can do this” and “are able” to live happy, healthy, and balanced lives.



Be inspired.


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