Integrated Human Capital

Burnout Blues and How to Beat Them

July 29, 2021
While more and more people continue to return to work, the way we go about our lives and the typical workday is far from what it was just over a year ago. This shift has caused workers to feel stressed and struggle with burnout. A recent poll from employment website Indeed found that 52% of workers reported experiencing burnout, a jump of 9% since the pandemic began. Two-thirds of respondents said their burnout has gotten worse during the pandemic. Feeling burnt out can increase the likelihood of wanting to leave a job. In turn, thoughts of changing careers can take its own toll on your mental health. In fact, in a recent survey conducted by Healthline, 49% of those surveyed showed some sign of depression compared to a typical average of 37%, up from about a third of respondents to half. As we continue to adjust to our new ways of living and working, it’s important to think about ways to keep tabs on both your physical and mental wellbeing. Trying to get a read on your mental health can be challenging, even in the best of times. When we’re feeling mentally drained, those symptoms can show up in ways that seem unremarkable. Are you constantly tired at work? Has your appetite changed? Are you finding yourself easily irritated? It might be worth taking some time to reflect on how you’re feeling. An important step in any mental wellness journey is identifying what is causing you to feel exhausted and unwell then developing a method to control it. Here are a few areas of focus to help find your way out of your burnout funk:

Prioritizing Self-Care

Incorporate joy When it comes to maintaining your mental health, it’s important to seek out activities that bring you joy and help you destress. Focusing on hobbies and tasks that reduce stress and make you feel happy will help you achieve a better state of well-being, which can help you be more productive in the long run at work or home. If you’ve discovered a new hobby that brought you joy during pandemic, try to continue incorporating it into your workday. Hobbies can be as simple as meditating in the mornings, listening to podcasts in your car, taking a walk during your lunch break, or even doing aromatherapy in the evenings before bedtime. Any activity that relaxes your state of mind should be squeezed into your busy day. Planning out your day to manage your free time will help implement your hobbies as part of a daily routine. Remember, prioritizing self-care is just as important as maintaining a consistent sleep schedule. The Harvard Business Review recommends journaling daily to record what you’re doing, whom you’re with, and how you feel. This can be done on paper, through an app, or even on a spreadsheet. Journaling increases your mood, boosts your energy, and decreases your stress.

Activities & Resources to Improve Mental Health

Exercise & Diet

The baseline components for maintaining good mental health are exercise and proper diet. Exercise can actually provide an immediate boost to your mood and reduce stress. In addition to the immediate benefits, physical activity that follows a consistent routine can also help sharpen your focus and improve your sleep. Here are the CDC’s recommendations for different amounts of physical activity. There is no one-size-fits-all option, so make sure you find the right balance that works best for you.

A healthy, well-balanced diet is another key factor in improving your mental health in addition to your physical health. Recent research suggests that many chronic diseases, including mental illness, are tied to inflammation. That’s why it’s important to balance out your diet with anti-inflammatory foods, including whole grains, lean proteins (fish, poultry, and nuts) and fats (think extra virgin olive oil), and lots of fruits and vegetables. This combination of food groups is known as the Mediterranean diet and is recommended by health experts to help maintain a healthy mind and body.

Adequate Sleep

Consistency is Key

Whether or not you had problems sleeping before the pandemic, working to improve your quality of sleep can have a positive impact on your mental and emotional well-being. When it comes to getting restful, restorative sleep, consistency is key, and creating a routine helps train your body to prepare for bed on a consistent schedule, helping to ensure that you’re getting the right amount of sleep. Most people require 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night. Doing so can help improve your mental health in the following ways:

Boost Immune System
Heighten Brain Function
Improve Mood

Working without the right amount of sleep can affect your productivity across the board. According to the Sleep Foundation, neurons in the brain become overworked, impairing thinking, slowing physical reactions, and leaving people feeling emotionally drained or struggling with burnout. Getting adequate sleep will keep you feeling refreshed and help improve your decision making. Staying levelheaded is essential to eliminating stress!

External Resources for Mental Health Support

No matter how mindful you are of your mental health and the actions you take to maintain it, sometimes you might need help from a professional resource. People everywhere are being challenged when it comes to their mental health and there are many resources available to help people maintain a healthy state of mental well-being. Here are a few free or low-cost resources currently available:

  • Open Path Collective – A one-time membership fee of $59 to join Open Path. Then it’s between $30-60/session for individual therapy (or $30-$80/ session for couples or family therapy). These rates are comparable to standard insurance co-pays.
  • Department of Health and Human Services – The National Helpline is available at 1-800-662-4357
  • Psychology Today – Offers an array of support groups that you can request to join as well as a database to find therapists or teletherapy options.

There are so many things that require our attention and focus these days that it’s easy to put your mental health on the backburner. However, just as we take steps and precautions to keep ourselves from getting sick physically, it’s important to take steps to ensure that you’re keeping your mental health in check too. If you find yourself struggling from feelings of burnout or stress from new pandemic-related job demands, know you’re not alone and that there are simple activities and resources available to help you manage your mental health and relieve your burnout!


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