Stress vs  burnout

Studies by Daniela Kaufer, associate professor at the University of California, Berkley,  have shown that acute but short-lived stress is good to “push you just to the level of optimal alertness, behavioural and cognitive performance.”

However, being exposed to long periods of excessive pressure or extreme stress in a short period can lead to burnout symptoms of underperformance, feelings of  being overwhelmed, hopelessness, loss of meaning in your job,  and feeling emotionally drained and unable to cope with the demands of work.   

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“Burnout results in physical, emotional and psychological exhaustion, often accompanied by feelings of helplessness, self-doubt, being unmotivated, defeated and fatigued in every area of life.  However, there are ways to regain your balance and feel empowered and positive about life once more,” says Natalie Rabson, Wellness Counsellor at Boson City Campus & Business College who shares the following 6 strategies to build resilience to stress and keep going until the end of the year:

1. Reframe the way you see your work

Holocaust survivor, Viktor Frankl said:  Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms - to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way.

Changing your attitude can help you regain a sense of purpose and control.  Look for something that you enjoy in your work – be it connecting with others, assisting a fellow colleague or providing a service that impacts positively on someone’s life. 

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2. Redefine your relationship to work

Growing up around extreme work habits of family members may cause you to put undue pressure on your work performance, leading you to perpetuate behaviours of working long hours without taking a break.

Notice patterns,  such as not switching off when you leave the office, replacing them with a greater sense of self-acceptance, recognition and self-nurturing by giving yourself time out to recharge. 

3. Self-care

Create ways to nurture yourself physically, emotionally and mentally by exercising daily, meditating, eating nourishing foods such as fresh fruit and foods rich in Omega-3 oils (sardines, salmon, almonds) and getting at least 7 hours of sleep each night.  

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4. Set boundaries

Learn to say “no” to additional requests on your time so that you can focus on your own priorities.  Set aside times for relaxation and disconnecting from technology, especially a half hour before you go to sleep so that you are not constantly bombarded with information.

 

5. Be selective

Well known life coach, Jim Rohn said that we’re the average of the 5 people in our lives.  Keep this in mind and surround yourself with people who have a supportive and positive outlook on life,” says Natalie.

 

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6. Communicate

Sharing your thoughts and feelings can help relieve stress.  Although isolation may feel preferable during this time, it is important to connect with friends, family, your co-workers or to join a support group such as SADAG.

“Recovering from or avoiding  burnout means preserving your energy.  Notice your working patterns and be vigilant about taking your breaks.  Remembering that you always have this choice helps you to start feeling more in control of your life, enabling you to build up the resilience and positive outlook which will keep you buoyant until the start of the Holiday Season,” concludes Natalie.