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7 Mind-body Habits for Self-Care: Managing Burnout

Updated: Oct 2, 2023

By Gail Carmody

Self-Care and Managing Burnout
7 Mind-body Habits for Self-Care: Managing Burnout

In this day and age, occupational burnout is a significant topic in our industry. The COVID-19 pandemic and preexisting stressors in our environment have significantly taken a toll on our well-being. We wake up, go to work, go home, go to sleep—rinse and repeat. This exhausting cycle poses detrimental effects not only to our physique but to our mental and emotional health as well.

With that, the topic of self-care has been widely discussed in the community. Before, some used to think that self-care is lavish, selfish, and unnecessary. However, as this practice became more well-known, we have come to realize that self-care is essential. Self-care doesn’t necessarily mean spa vacations and expensive skincare routines—it can be as simple as not skipping breakfast.

Have you been struggling with managing burnout lately? Here are routines and practices that you may cultivate to help you recharge and regenerate. Feel free to adopt these mind-body tips for managing burnout into your lifestyle to deal with stress and fatigue.

Nourish your body

According to a study in Finland, we can attribute low levels of burnout symptoms to regular consumption of healthy food. Particularly, those who consumed low-fat dairy, white meat, fruit and berries, and vegetables, were less susceptible to burnout symptoms. With that, the study concluded that a diverse and balanced healthy diet was essential to achieving work well-being.

Sometimes, we get so busy that we forget to eat healthy and on schedule. As someone who works in the healthcare industry, this is a common mistake that I’ve worked hard to address. Likened to an engine, our body can only function smoothly with fuel—or in our case, food. To prevent burnout, make sure to eat nourishing food and take your meals on time.

Get enough rest

I’m pretty sure many of us are guilty of staying up late. It may be also due to our irregular shifts that our sleep schedules become quite irregular as well. Well, according to the National Sleep Foundation, your job performance is tied directly to the quality of sleep you get at night. Furthermore, the organization also claims that sleeping for less than six hours every night is one of the main causes of occupational burnout.

To improve your sleep quality, make sure to set a time for sleeping and waking up. Doing so will help your body develop a consistent sleep rhythm. Also, developing a nighttime routine like avoiding electronics before bed can help you fall asleep easier. If night shuteye is not enough, you may also consider a 10 to 20-minute power nap during the day.

Try journaling as a meditative activity

Some may think of journaling as a teenage, cheesy activity. Some may even worry that this tedious activity may take too much of their time. However, WebMD begs to differ: according to them, journaling may aid in dealing with burnout from work. Journaling reduces anxiety levels, regulates your emotions, and helps with emotional healing.

Starting a journal isn’t as complicated as some may think. The best way to begin is by picking up a pen and a piece of paper, since doing so will help you process your feelings better. Write down all your thoughts, emotions, and insights—try to let everything flow freely. If you wish, you may also do this on your phone, tablet, or computer. The most important part is to make it a habit to consistently make you more in touch with your inner self.

Exercise regularly

An Australian study conducted in 2015 subjected 49 volunteers to a four-week exercise program. According to their findings, cardiovascular exercises significantly increased well-being and decreased psychological distress, emotional exhaustion, and perceived stress. Moreover, resistance training also reduced perceived stress and increased well-being.

Overall, they concluded that exercise can be an effective treatment or preventative measure against burnout.

Try incorporating light to moderate exercise into your daily routine. For starters, you may take short walks in the morning to start your day. If you prefer exercising in the evening, go for a quick jog at night. If you have the time, you may visit the gym to lift weights and engage in resistance training. If you want, you may also follow simple exercise videos online—these videos are free and easy to follow. Ultimately, the goal is to keep your body moving.

Engage in a hobby

Sometimes, we get so caught up in work that we forget that we have personal lives outside of it. I’m pretty sure many of you have had a forgotten hobby that you had to set aside because you were too busy. According to the Australian Psychological Society, four out of five Australians found leisurely activities and hobbies highly effective in managing stress.

Pick up that knitting project that you started years ago. Play the guitar that’s been gathering dust, sitting in the corner of your room for too long. Start reading for fun again. Regain a sense of life by engaging in healthy hobbies, and watch your stress levels go down.

Maintain connections with loved ones

Have you ever had to say no to a family get-together because you had to go to work on that day? Have you ever declined a night out with your friends because you had some overtime work to attend to? Well, your career may be important—but your relationships are equally as crucial.

Always remember that we are humans and not robots! To prevent working ourselves to the point of fatigue and exhaustion, it is important to step back and spend time with our family and friends. Our lives are not limited to our careers, and we must not neglect our relationships outside of work. Being mindful of this will help us establish a healthy work-life balance.

Seek help from professionals

Sometimes, our burdens may become too heavy for us to carry alone. This is where a professional career coach comes in—they will help you reevaluate your values and prioritize your life accordingly. A coach will not tell you what to do, but they will guide you in finding the right answer for you. For moments when you feel like you need professional advice, a coach will be necessary to help you stay on track.

Book a session with your local career coach to test the waters and check if it will work for you. Some coaches may offer a free consultation—I do this for my clients.

Combat burnout with these 7 key self-care rituals

I hope these seven tips help you manage stress and prevent burnout. These practices may seem too much to implement all at once—you can gradually integrate them into your lifestyle. At the end of the day, we need to stop being too hard on ourselves: as we take care of others, we need to take care of ourselves too.


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Note: Rita does not make decisions or give medical advice to the patients or their support persons. Always refer to your healthcare provider.

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