Reignite the Flame: How to Deal with Burnouts

Reignite the Flame: How to Deal with Burnouts

Picture this: you’re having a sleepless night, tossing and turning in bed, because you’ve realised you just aren’t productive enough. You have piles of unfinished work and are barely sticking to deadlines. It’s July, and you haven’t gotten close to working on your New Year’s resolutions. You feel the need to do more. Then suddenly it hits you- a wave of motivation. You decide to get your life together and are finally able to fall asleep. In the next few weeks, you deep-clean your room, study every day, go to the gym regularly, and start a new coding project. Everything’s going great until… you’ve lost interest again. The same feelings of being overwhelmed and exhausted kick in. You go back to step one, realising that the wave of motivation was just that, a wave that receded and will come back to disappear again.

Burnout is a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. It happens when an individual feels overwhelmed, emotionally drained, and unable to meet constant demands. It can include sleeplessness, irritation, feelings of emptiness and dread. According to various studies, a significant number of people, ranging from professionals to students, are affected by burnout worldwide.

If you’re experiencing something similar, here are some things you can do about it:

  1. Understand what’s stressing you out – For example, the assignment itself isn’t a source of stress. You’re stressed because you’re tight on time as you repeatedly prioritised other activities and kept adding more to your plate. Now you’ve understood that time management is a challenge for you. Realising what the issue really is will help you identify the root of the problem and make you stop worrying about the tasks themselves.

  2. The REM cycle – Sleep is one of the most powerful tools against stress. Both the quantity and quality of sleep matter. Staying up all night before exams and “catching up” on sleep after will not work. Neither will falling asleep over your books to wake up with a start. Your brain needs to enter the REM cycle to consolidate memories and wake up rejuvenated for the next day.

  3. Oxytocin, the love hormone – Dancing, painting, walking your dog, and hugging a friend are just some of the activities that can release oxytocin. Oxytocin is one of the three “happy hormones” of the body and can aid in reducing feelings of stress and anxiety.

  4. Self love – Be kind to yourself. Compassion for yourself is essential. Allow enjoying self-care without feeling any guilt. At the end of the day, celebrate the wins and learn from the losses. Don’t continue cycles of burnout and understand why it happens to you and how to prevent it.

An even better solution to this situation is to prevent it from happening in the first place. Once you’ve identified your stressors, it’ll be easier to prevent them from affecting you in the future. Some general tips include regular sleep habits, exercise, seeking out help, and a balanced diet. 

The next time you begin to feel similarly, don’t shame yourself for it. Act like the rational person you are and tackle it with a clear mind. And don’t forget that seeking help can be the first step to bouncing back!

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