• Jolene Roehlkepartain

The New State of Emergency: Beyond Burnout


A year ago, many of us burned out. Too much stress. Too much overwhelm. Too much…too much.


Now?


Many of us have discovered the galaxy beyond burnout. We’ve experienced our breaking point and keep finding more points.


To cope, many people quit one job for another…only to discover that the new job has new stresses and new overwhelms. For others, caregiving, parenting, difficult life issues, and other personal issues that we can’t escape burn us out. The stress thrust at us is too much.


So how do we move beyond burnout and our breaking points?


Recognize the symptoms. The Maslach Burnout Inventory highlights three big symptoms: emotional exhaustion, feeling ineffective, and cynicism. Other symptoms include insomnia, trying to alleviate stress with unhealthy behaviors, and getting sick.


Complete the stress cycle. Burnout results from chronic stress, which not only affects our minds but also our bodies. Exercise is critical. Getting your heart rate up discharges the stress-energy. Try High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) to get your heart pumping.


Focus on progress. Instead of putting all your energy into major accomplishments, focus on small wins. Burnout shows up when we’re given unrealistic demands with unrealistic resources. Mark the bits of progress you make and focus less on the big, overwhelming picture.


Prioritize your health. Make time for adequate sleep. Do hobbies. Find activities that fascinate you. The grinding stresses (and our grinding responses) lead to burnout. Make your health an essential part of your day.


Connect with others. “The cure for burnout is not self-care,” says Emily Nagoski, the co-author of Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle. “It’s all of us caring for each other.”


Let’s support and help each other during these overwhelming times.

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