Beat the Heat: Combating Burnout

Summer has officially arrived in Florida, which means it's heating up outside. Please make certain that you are staying hydrated but also make certain you are monitoring your internal temperature.

With kids home from school, work obligations, and the economy making it challenging to go on a much-needed summer vacation, it isn't just sunburn and dehydration we need to worry about but life BURNOUT, too. According to the American Psychological Association Dictionary of Psychology, burnout is defined as “physical, emotional, or mental exhaustion accompanied by decreased motivation, lowered performance, and negative attitudes towards oneself and others.” 

While burnout may not be a true "medical" condition, it is very real. According to psychologist Adam Borland, PsyD, "We're living in an incredibly stressful time and burnout is incredibly prevalent." And though you may think a three-week vacation on the beach to decompress will fix it all, he cautions that that is only a "temporary fix”. So consider how you may tackle burnout in three steps:

  • First, identify the underlying cause(s) of your exhaustion. For most people, there is not a single cause but rather a long list of things contributing to exhaustion. Actively naming and acknowledging the cause is important if you want to put an end to the "burn" it creates.
  • Second, identify what is controllable and what is not. If it is out of your control, you will need to surrender it, move on, or learn to live in a more healthy way with the issue. The truth is that there is more that we are in control of than we often want to admit. Taking control sounds good and easy, but if it were easy we wouldn't be where we are so we need to remember to be gentle with ourselves.
  • And finally, make choices and make changes - lasting changes. As I said, some things are not "fixable", so tough choices will need to be made - but that is where real change begins. Help yourself to make choices and give yourself permission to be and breathe. It’s okay to not take care of everyone or everything else so you can focus on YOU because you matter. 

Here are three things to consider to help you turn down the heat as you walk through the steps to combat burnout: 

  1. Daily refueling – Identify what helps you recharge or refuel and incorporate it into your daily routine. Self-care is a critical component. 
  2. Weekly pauses – Marking the end of a week to literally exhale all that happens can allow oneself to not only breathe and be present but to live fully. Breaking life into small chunks is part of making it all less scary or overwhelming as you tackle it. 
  3. Passion projects or novelty – Work is work, but doing something we are passionate about allows our brains to reconnect with positive emotions including joy and hope. Rebooting can happen by simply shaking things up. New activities have been shown to boost our dopaminergic activity in the brain which is associated with motivation and rewards. It can provide a temporary reset. 

Make sure this summer you are checking the external temperature and your internal one. Beat the heat and prevent burnout!