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Work/Life: How to recognize, treat, and avoid burnout

On this episode of Work/Life, host Greg Nibler and Ciara Pressler, founder and author of Pregame, talk about one of the biggest dangers facing workers today: Dealing with burnout. Whether it’s burnout from a job you’ve had for years, or from finding the best ways to build your own small business, anyone is susceptible. So how does one know they are headed for burnout? What are some of the symptoms? And are there things one can do to avoid burning out?

First, Pressler walks us through the difference between “stress” and “burnout.” The big difference, she notes, is that “stress goes away when the stressor is removed, but burnout will still be there regardless.” Burnout is like a work depression, she says, adding that “you don’t just bounce back. It’s a physical, mental, and emotional condition.”

So how can you tell if you’re headed for burnout? Pressler gives some general symptoms. She notes that if you start experiencing things like being tired all the time, getting sick more easily, or lacking motivation, that all could point to burnout.

But can you do anything about burnout? Either to avoid it or manage it? Pressler notes there are several such things. As a starter, “if you can take some time off and use vacation days, then do it. That’s what they’re there for.” Beyond that, she notes the importance of leaning on your inner circle of friends for help and advice, and having people who you can talk to about what is really going on. Also, she recommends paying attention to what you’re eating and drinking, and getting the proper exercise and rest you need. You won’t be able to feel good mentally without giving your body what it needs to feel its best.

For the long term, Pressler advises to build resiliency. “Watch your mental health, physical health, emotional health, and spiritual health,” she says. Meditation, spending time outdoors, or finding a hobby outside of work are all great ways to balance your body and mind. Find the ways that build your energy back, she says, and also know where your limits are, and set them. Knowing these limits, Pressler says, will help you avoid spiraling down into burnout.

Lastly, Pressler says, “we need to take the stigma out of it. It happens,” and there are things you can do to prevent and manage burnout. One of the most important ways, she reiterates, is to “have people in your life who know what really is going on.”

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