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How to Stop Burnout Before It Starts

According to a survey by Slack, burnout is on the rise everywhere, with the United States seeing the biggest increase. Middle managers in this nation were more likely than any other working category to report having burnout (43%).

If you are in the medical world, you probably know this too well! In normal conditions, burnout affects around 50% of physicians, 31% of direct patient care nurses, and 37% of nurses in nursing homes. These statistics can skyrocket during crises and pandemics like the Coronavirus disease pandemic.

Burnout has become a pervasive problem in today's fast-paced culture, affecting many people. It doesn't discriminate based on career or life circumstances; it may affect anybody, whether you're juggling an extremely challenging profession, managing family responsibilities, or navigating life's everyday stresses. The good news is that you can prevent burnout.

Recognizing the Early Symptoms

Burnout usually sneaks up on people, emphasizing the necessity of recognizing its early warning signs. The following are some common signs to be on the lookout for:


Feeling persistently drained, both physically and emotionally, is a clear indicator. If you cannot recharge, even after rest, it's time to take notice.


Burnout can cause social isolation, causing you to distance yourself from social interactions. You can avoid getting together with friends, family, or coworkers and choose isolation over interaction with them.

Escape Fantasies

Burnout is characterized by a desire to escape from daily responsibilities, whether via daydreaming, substance abuse, or other means. These fantasies can potentially be used as a coping method to deal with stress.


A breaking point may be seen in increased anger, impatience, and lashing out at family members or coworkers over unimportant issues.

Frequent Illnesses

Burnout reduces the immune system's efficiency, making you more susceptible to physical illnesses, including the common cold, the flu, and sleep difficulties. Additionally, it may exacerbate mental health conditions like depression and anxiety.

Understanding the Common Causes

Understanding the underlying causes of burnout is critical to its prevention. Many factors can cause burnout, including:

Work Overload: Excessive workplace expectations, long hours, and an overwhelming workload are major culprits. The stress of meeting deadlines and performing well may be quite debilitating.

Work-Life Imbalance: Particularly in the age of technology and remote employment, the distinction between work and personal life can become increasingly hazy, giving you the impression that you're always working.

Aiming for Perfection: Burnout may be facilitated by striving for perfection and creating impossible expectations for oneself. The continual pressure to live up to these standards may be exhausting.

Ambiguity in Role Expectations: It's easy to feel lost and stressed out when roles and duties are unclear. This problem may be made worse by poor workplace support and communication.

Chronic Stress: External stressors, such as financial worries, personal relationships, or global events like the ongoing pandemic, can contribute to burnout when combined with other stressors.

How to Prevent Burnout

It's crucial to emphasize self-care in your daily routine and recognize when to step back to avoid burnout. Here are some doable steps to help you prevent burnout before it starts:

Activate Your Body Through Exercise: Regular exercise improves physical health and mood and reduces stress. Include quick workouts or strolls in your routine.

Keep Up a Healthy Diet: A balanced diet with omega-3 fatty acids can improve your emotional condition. To boost emotional well-being, include foods like salmon, flaxseed oil, and walnuts in your meals.

Focus on Getting Enough Sleep: Create relaxing nighttime rituals and establish good sleep habits, which include avoiding coffee before bed. A good night's sleep is crucial for both physical and mental renewal. According to the National Sleep Foundation, proper sleep hygiene entails avoiding coffee before night, developing a soothing pre-sleep ritual, and forbidding devices from entering the bedroom.

Ask for Help When You Need It: Never hold back from asking for help when things are difficult. Reaching out, whether it's from friends, family, or a professional, could significantly change the situation.

Set Boundaries: Make sure your personal and professional lives have clear boundaries. Unplug from work-related devices outside of working hours and give priority to your personal time.

Practice Mindfulness: Find someone to help you engage in professional mindfulness exercises, such as deep breathing, meditation, and yoga. Mindfulness can come in handy to help you declutter your mind and feel fresh. This can effectively ease the stress and anxiety that often emanate from burnout.

Plan Your Day: Create a daily schedule that includes time for self-care, rest, and enjoyable activities. Divide tasks into manageable objectives to minimize the sense of being overwhelmed.

Learn the Art of Saying No: Do not overextend yourself by taking on too many obligations. Accepting less work when it's required to protect your well-being is totally appropriate.

The Bottom line

Knowing the early warning signs of burnout, identifying its underlying causes, and actively taking care of your physical and mental health are your hidden weapons in the never-ending fight against it. Self-care is not selfish; it is your shield while you fight to keep your energy. Promoting self-care is your best defense against the start of burnout, regardless of whether you're overcoming personal obstacles, managing demanding work, or just getting through each day. So, maintain your composure, put self-care first, and stop burnout in its tracks!

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