Tips for avoiding burnout

Are you suffering from burnout? Here are 5 tips and a guide for nutritional support to help you out!

If you’re feeling burned out, mentally exhausted and emotionally spent, you’re not alone. Many of us experience fatigue and exhaustion during our lives. Juggling work and family life is hard enough at the best of times, but with a global pandemic and ongoing lockdowns, we are all managing even more pressure and stress with remote learning and working from home. Unfortunately, that has lead to an increase in ‘burnout’.

Burnout was officially recognised as a medical diagnosis by the World Health Organization in May 2019. It refers to long-term, unresolved and chronic stress that can negatively affect your mind and body. The good news is that we can reverse burnout and even prevent it by recognising the signs and taking a few key steps early on.

It’s important to identify the stressors in our lives and take action. You might be feeling exhausted after performing basic day-to-day tasks such as hanging the clothes on the line, making dinner or going for a walk. You also might be losing motivation or your drive to complete work duties or play with your children. Other signs include, feeling unable to concentrate on tasks and withdrawing emotionally from loved ones.

If you’re noticing any of these signs, these five steps can help reverse the feelings of burnout:

  1. Make changes to your environment –making even minor changes to your environment such as decluttering your work desk can have a positive effect on your stress levels.
  2. Connection with people who make you feel good – organise to spend quality time with your family and friends when you can. Focus on the positives with these people.
  1. Find the joy – it might be a good book, a long bath, a cup of tea, or a home-cooked meal. Whatever helps you find joy, do that. Take at least 15 minutes to find the joy every day for you. Self-care is not just important, it’s essential.
  2. Exercise – start slow and go outdoors. Spending just 30 minutes outdoors exercising can lift your mood dramatically. In fact, one study discovered that exercising in the great outdoors can provide numerous benefits, including stress reduction, restoring mental fatigue, and improving mood and self-esteem and perceived health.
  3. Mindfulness and meditationResearch shows that mindfulness meditation is effective in decreasing stress and burnout. Deep, slow breaths can help calm an overrun nervous system and manage our stress responses.

Nutritional tips to help with burnout

– Eat complex carbohydrates

Going for complex carbs over simple carbs is certainly advised, as these take longer to digest. Some great choices to add to your burnout fighting diet would include pasta, wholegrain bread, oatmeal, quinoa.

A lot of clients who are feeling burnt out often go too long without eating, skipping meals and snacks to try and get work done. Going too long without eating, and specifically missing out on carbohydrates, causes the blood sugar to drop, which has a huge effect on mood and energy levels.

– Consume soups and warm drinks

There are certain foods out there that are synonymous with feelings of comfort, as well as being warming and relaxing. Soups and warm drinks fall into this category and, should become a part of your diet when fighting burnout.  Soups and stews that have been slow cooked are already partially broken down so they are much easier to digest, giving your body time to rest and digest.

– Opt for foods with healthy fats

Fish would be a great start, particularly salmon, tuna, and sardines. When it comes to healthy snacks, nuts would be ideal. Do your brain a favour and make sure your diet contains healthy fats and omega-3s.

– Add high-fibre fruits and vegetables to your diet

Making sure your meals contain plenty of fibre-rich vegetables during mealtime will be yet another tool in fighting the effects of burnout. Recent research has found that a high-fibre diet may indeed help relieve stress and anxiety (as a result of the impact the gut can have on the brain), which are two big causes of mental and physical burnout.

– Include protein

Include protein in breakfast, lunch and dinner. This can be a mix of plant and animal protein. For example, nuts and seeds, eggs, fish, chicken, cheese, tofu, soya or dairy yoghurt. Protein helps keep your blood sugar levels balanced and this helps stabilise your mood and energy levels.

– Take a magnesium supplement to aid sleep

Magnesium is an essential mineral for healthy nervous system support, energy production and for muscle relaxation. We can become easily depleted in magnesium when stressed and burnt out. Food sources include almonds, green vegetables, seeds, kidney beans, quinoa. If you don’t eat many of these foods, take a supplement of magnesium citrate.

Watch my Instagram Live with ABC Medical Reporter, Sophie Scott, who shares her personal story of burnout. Need a helping hand to get started? Try our Feel Fabulous by Friday program. It’s designed to educate, motivate and rejuvenate. Click here.