You are sitting quietly in your apartment scrolling your Twitter feed without a care in the world. And then suddenly without any warning…
You hear a deafening sound behind you.
In a matter of seconds, your heart rate will spike above a hundred. Know that feeling? Hold that thought for a moment.
Now, remember when you were preparing for that exam and discovered you had several materials untouched at the last minute? How did that feel? Yeah! It’s a full-on panic mode. Throbbing headache, pounding heart, parched lips, sweaty palms. The works.
Imagine that feeling like that every day of a month. And then every month for a year. That is what chronic stress looks like.
How Stress Leads to Burnout
We all get stressed. However, when stress becomes protracted. That is a significant problem. The body has no inbuilt mechanism to handle perpetual stress, and burnout soon follows.
Burnout is characterized by three dimensions: lack of energy, disinterest or negativity towards work, and reduced efficiency (World Health Organization, 2019).
The truth is anyone can experience burnout if continuously exposed to stressors.
Handling Stress and Burnout
It may be best to seek professional help if you feel like you’re constantly under pressure and about to give way. However, if that doesn’t make you feel comfortable, here are a few things you can also do
Inhale Peace, Exhale Stress
Naturally, with stress, you’ll start to take shallow fast breaths to compensate for the feelings of exhaustion. When you consciously slow down and take deep breaths, you activate the parasympathetic nervous system responsible for resting, boosting your mood and reducing stress.
If you take a few minutes every day to deliberately take deep, slow breaths, you can begin to experience calm and significantly less stress.
Get active. The more you move, the more your body will release “feel-good’ hormones that’ll make you happier. You’ll also get to release all the pent-up energy in your body.
If you can’t hit the gym or the tracks, you can do push-ups in your bedroom and skip in your corridor.
Instead of seeing your cup as half-empty, see it as half-full. Often, there’s a bright side that stress won’t allow you to see. Find that last glimmer of hope and hold on to it. Practising positive self-talk and staying around people that exude positivity is quite helpful.
Get social support
You may want to lean towards your friends, family, and even religious community to help weather this storm. If you’ve learned how to build strong relationships, you can use their help to find your way when you’re about to lose it.
What other ways do you manage stress and burnout?