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  • Writer's pictureSheena Pal

Make Your Mental Health a Priority and Prevent Burnout

Mental health is spoken about now more than ever, especially in the last 2 years since we have experienced a pandemic. This has impacted people in many different ways. People have had to make many adjustments, from home schooling, to working from home, to not being able to see loved ones or not getting space from them. Adjusting and surviving the pandemic has left many people feeling exhausted, both mentally and physically. It’s important to acknowledge that if we begin to feel exhausted and we feel like we are not functioning as we normally would and are not having a healthy balance of applying rest than perhaps, we are at risk of experiencing burnout.

Are you suffering Burnout?

What is burnout?

So you’ve heard the term burn-out, but what does it really mean? How can you tell if you are experiencing burn out? The best way I can describe burn out, is the experience of starting to feel like everything is too much of an effort. Previously burn out was mainly identified as work related, however research now shows that lifestyle, impactful life changes, being a care taker, as well as your employment can cause burnout. The pandemic was definitely an impactful life change for all of us, and perhaps since then, burn out has creeped up on many people.

What are the signs of burnout?

Given that burn develops over a period of time, it can be hard to see the changes in ourselves. Burnout can make you feel like everything is an effort, even if that wasn’t the case before. This can include work, life obligations, spending time with family and friends, struggling to enjoy the things you usually would enjoy, attending to your daily routine, consistently experience low mood or difficulty concentrating and feeling present. Sometimes burnout and stress can manifest as physical symptoms too. Perhaps you feel unwell often, hard to recover from being sick, constantly have headaches that don’t go away or have stomach pains. These are some factors that can be identified.

Here are some common burnout symptoms

· Feeling disengaged or disconnected

· Loss of motivation (work, relationship or life in general)

· Feeling resentful or irritated by people

· Muscle tension

· Headaches

· Stomach aches or digestive issues

· Disrupted sleep

What do I do if I feel like I am burning out?

If you or someone you know are feeling that you may be burning out, communicate with your loved ones and a great place to start getting help is speaking to your GP and speaking to a therapist. It’s okay to ask for help and talk about how you are feeling and how you’ve been affected. It’s okay to take time off and re-organise yourself to create a better balance that suits you.

How can I prevent burnout?

We’ve spoken a lot about what burnout is, so what can help you prevent burnout. The things I find help are self-care, open communication and setting healthy boundaries.

To start, I cannot express the importance of self-care. Many people have the image of self-care as having a bubble bath, and while this can be one form of self-care it is not the only way. I have often heard people express guilt when it comes to self-care, sometimes people feel they are being selfish. Self-care is not selfish; it is actually very important for our well-being to take care of ourselves. This is the metaphor I like to use. Can a car drive endlessly without fuel or being charged? Can a laptop still work after the battery has died? Just like cars and laptops we too need take the time to recharge, so we can give life our very best.

Self-care can be different for everyone. Self-care means we are eating well, getting regular sleep, taking out time for yourself, balancing and organising how we use our time and taking care of our physical and mental health. Open communication and setting boundaries is also very important. Open communication means that you are openly expressing to safe people in your life how you are really feeling and not just suppressing how you are feeling. If we don’t openly communicate and feel heard, we can very easily start feeling disconnected. Using ‘I’ statements can make communicating easier. Setting boundaries means to really understand what your limits are and what your capacity is.

How comfortable do you feel to say no, when you are unable to do things people ask of you?

Life is a balancing act and we can’t do everything all at once. It’s important to be aware of our limits and remind ourselves, we are only human.

Here are some suggestions for self-care. Like I’ve said self-care looks different to everyone and I’m sure you can add to this list.

- Going for a walk

- Listening to music

- Spending time alone

- Spending time with people you enjoy being around

- Playing with/ being around your animals

- Get creative- draw, colour, paint, sew, write

- Take a long shower/have a bath

- Cook your favourite meal

- Meditate (Spotify has some great guided meditations)

- Gratitude Journal

- Breathing Techniques

- Physical exercise, gym, boxing, yoga, Pilates

- Watch your favourite tv show or movie

- Go somewhere new (locally, interstate or overseas)

- Read a book

- Get in touch with your five senses!

- Learn a new skill

- Be in nature

- Play board games

- Put your phone on silent before going to sleep

Sheena Pal - Counsellor

I hope this blog has helped provide a little more perspective on why you should prioritize your mental health. Get in touch if you would like to know more or if you think you are suffering burnout and would like some support!

Sheena Pal is a board-certified counsellor and is available for bookings at Complete Chiropractic Care every Monday. Click here to request an appointment now!



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