Burnt? Here’s how to feel better

You might have thought life was stressful before Covid-19. Add a pandemic to the mix, and it’s no surprise if you’re feeling exhausted right now.

We’ve all been through huge changes, as we adapt to work in different ways, being isolated from our friends and family, worrying about the people we love getting sick, and worrying about it. money and jobs. And let’s not forget the pressures of juggling the possibility of being nutted by the Track and Trace app, forced isolation and the risk of dismissal – as well as family responsibilities while working from home.

Here, we take a look at stress, how stress can turn into burnout, and explore some practical ways to feel better.

You’re not alone

If you are feeling stressed out right now, you are not alone. In a recent Kooth poll:

  • 41% of adults reported feeling nervous or anxious every day, up from 35% in 2019 (a 19% increase).
  • 38% of adults said they couldn’t stop or control their worry on most days – a 25% increase from 2019.

What is stress?

Stress is a feeling of mental pressure and tension. It can come from an external source such as overwork or can be caused by our own internal perceptions, such as feelings of inadequacy or frustration.

How Does Stress Affect You?

Physically, stress can have a variety of symptoms, including headaches, insomnia, chest pain, upset stomach, and low libido. On an emotional level, you might find that you are easily overwhelmed and more prone to feelings of anxiety and low self-esteem.

As the worrying thoughts take hold, you may find it more difficult to think clearly and be less able to focus, problem solve, and make decisions.

When does stress become burnout?

Some stress is inevitable in life and most of the time we can cope with it. While the pandemic has been stressful, in the short term many of us have been able to adjust to the restrictions that have become part of daily life in lockdown.

In contrast, burnout is a state of emotional, physical and mental weakening or exhaustion caused by extreme or prolonged stress. In the long run, the uncertainties and stress of the pandemic have led some people to feel depressed, isolated or anxious. In other words, burnt.

Manage stress to avoid burnout

The good news is that you can become more resilient and help prevent burnout by actively managing your stress levels.

Starts with:

  • Find gentle ways to move your body to relieve stress. For example, by stretching for 15 seconds, you can help your body release tension.
  • Drink plenty of water, which helps your mind and body function better, and eat a balance of different food groups
  • Set aside time for activities that give you a sense of fun and accomplishment, whether that’s taking care of a houseplant, trying out a new craft, painting or drawing, or to share photos with others online.
  • Get enough sleep. An extra hour in bed will make you feel so much better than watching “just one more episode” on TV.
  • Keep a gratitude journal. Writing down what you’re grateful for has been shown to reduce stress and increase happiness.

Talk to someone

Don’t hold back your feelings – finding someone nice and trustworthy to confide in is one of the quickest ways to release some of the pressure when you’re feeling exhausted.

If you are concerned about a work issue, can you discuss it with a colleague or a supervisor? Does your organization have a wellness manager or mental health first aid worker?

Don’t be put off by that name, by the way. Mental health rescuers are not just there to provide support in emergency situations; they will also be happy to listen to you and provide support if you are having difficulty and just need to talk to someone.

If you prefer to talk to a friend, reach out to people and ask if they have time to chat.

Be kind to yourself

Notice if you speak to yourself critically, saying things like “it will never get better”, “I knew it was going to go wrong” or “I just don’t see how to move forward.” “

See if you can reframe your thoughts in a more compassionate and supportive way. For example, say to yourself, “I’m doing my best. I’ll manage to deal with that. Also ask yourself, “What is one little thing I can do to feel better now?” “And” Who could help me? “

Get green therapy

If you have woods near you, you can try the Japanese practice of “forest bathing”, where you improve your health and well-being by being calm and quiet among the trees. Turn off stress by turning off your phone, taking deep breaths, and observing what you can see, smell, touch and hear around you.

Other ways to get closer to nature include having a picnic outside, viewing nature from your window, growing herbs and flowers on a windowsill, stargazing the most. night or listening to recordings of birdsong, ocean waves or falling rain.

Relax your muscles

Another way to help yourself relax is to try progressive muscle relaxation, where you take turns contracting and relaxing different muscle groups. It releases tension and helps manage stress.

The NHS has a document on Progressive Muscle Relaxation that explains how to spend 15-20 minutes calmly tightening and relaxing your muscles, from forehead, eyes, jaw, neck and shoulders, to your hands and shoulders. fists, stomach, thighs, calves, and feet.

Calm your mind with meditation

Many of our concerns are focused on the past or the future. However, the only thing we can really experience is now. Meditation can help us focus on the present and, for some people, it is a wonderful way to calm worrying thoughts.

As Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh says: “By inhaling, I calm body and mind. As I breathe out, I smile. By staying in the present moment, I know it is the only moment.

CMI’s Better Managers Roadmap, comprising an entire section on employee well-being, is designed to equip you, as managers and leaders, with the skills, tools and knowledge you will need as we evolve. towards a hybrid and flexible working world, supported by our research results and the global CMI community.

CMI has partnered with Kooth, the UK’s leading online mental health platform, to provide our members with a free, safe and anonymous space for online support and counseling. You can find out more here or watch this great “It’s Okay to Disagree” webinar for team leaders and managers.

For more articles on this and more, head over to Qwell where we also offer other tools such as an online journal and mood tracker – and access to our team of practitioners. experienced in mental health and well-being. The service is anonymous and free.

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