Managing Burnout During the Pandemic
Updated: Mar 6, 2021
As the global pandemic continues into 2021, and as we near the one-year anniversary of the nationwide shutdown, many of us feel a lingering and often worsening sense of impatience and despair. Most of us did not believe that COVID would continue to spread and keep our lives at what feels like a standstill for this long. Many of us still have not gotten accustomed to the many changes to our lives in the wake of the pandemic and acceptance is still something we may be working towards daily.
Burnout is defined as a state of emotional, physical and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. It generally occurs when we feel overwhelmed, emotionally drained and unable to meet constant demands. If this sounds like you, you are not alone.
The prolonged stress of the pandemic has turned chronic and is at an all-time high as many of us struggle to find ways to manage financial difficulties, unemployment, loneliness and grief among those who lost a loved one to COVID. Too much stress, for too long, can deplete you of the energy you need to continue moving forward with inner strength and resilience.
Take a moment to reflect on how you have been feeling lately. Tired? On edge? Emotionally exhausted? These are commonplace feelings that at one time or another have plagued many people. The fact that we are working from home, engaging in social distancing, distance learning and having to adhere to health and safety guidelines in public places does not lessen the emotional toll it has taken on so many of us.
Now, more than ever, self-care should be a priority. Taking time for yourself to do something you enjoy and disconnecting from your stressors are crucial to your mental health and well-being. If you are struggling with burnout, here are 4 tips to get you back on the path of well-being.
1. MAKE SELF-CARE A PRIORITY. Most are familiar with the term self-care and for those of
you who may not be, self-care is simply taking time to do the things you enjoy! This could be
something as small as taking a bubble bath or something big such as having a spa day or going
on a trip. Taking care of yourself by getting enough sleep, exercising, eating regularly and setting
healthy boundaries are also part of self-care. Whatever self-care activity you choose to engage
in and in whatever ways you take care of yourself, remember it’s okay to make yourself a
2. CREATE MOVEMENT. Speaking of exercise, I cannot stress enough how important it is to
create movement in your life. This could be walking the dog, playing a game of tag with your
children, engaging in some form of exercise whether it be on your own, via Zoom or YouTube or
doing some laps around your local Target. Whatever you choose to do, be intentional with
movement. Movement not only does wonders for you physically, but can improve your mood
and help you to better manage stress.
3. STAY CONNECTED. Send a letter, talk on the phone, email a friend, Facetime, Zoom, Skype or
enjoy a socially distance lunch date with a friend. Family and friends are often part of our
support system and while it has been difficult to be apart physically, make sure to stay in touch
and grow your relationships. Let others know how you are doing and what your needs are.
Chances are those in your support system will have words of encouragement or can offer a
4. TALK TO A PROFESSIONAL. Burnout can lead to a host of mental health conditions if left
untreated. If you find that you are continuing to struggle with burnout, reach out! Therapy is a
great way to express yourself and work through obstacles you are facing. Sometimes having the
opportunity to meet one on one with a professional who can listen and provide another
perspective makes all the difference.
Set aside time every day for your own healing—physically, emotionally and mentally. This will not only help prevent burnout, but it will fuel you to navigate these uncertain times with all of your enthusiasm and hope.