Tips to recognise and manage burnout

Do you feel stressed and exhausted all the time? As the COVID-19 pandemic stretches on, do you find that with constant demands and even small, everyday tasks, you just can’t be bothered anymore? It’s possible you’re experiencing or at risk of burnout. 

What is burnout?

Burnout is a state of complete mental, physical and emotional exhaustion caused by excessive stress over a long period of time. Though typically associated with people working in high-pressure jobs, burnout can affect anyone. From parents and guardians of young people, to students and those caring for or supporting loved ones.  As with physical signs and symptoms, burnout could have a significant impact on your mental wellbeing.

What are some of the causes?

  • Taking on too much without enough support. 
  • Striving for perfection in everything you do.
  • Not allowing yourself enough time to relax, and not getting enough sleep.
  • Feeling your efforts are undervalued by others.
  • Specific work-related causes include, doing work that is overly demanding or unchallenging, having a lack of control and not being recognised for your work.

What are the signs to look for?

Reaching a state of burnout is a gradual process, so it can be easy to miss the signs. Burnout doesn’t happen overnight. 

To help you recognise burnout, be mindful of these signs, particularly if they’ve been happening for a while:

  • Feeling mentally and physically exhausted.
  • Disconnecting yourself from the world and family and friends around you.  
  • Being unable to focus on or perform even simple tasks (at work or at home).
  • Struggling to stay motivated and caring less and less.
  • Becoming irritable or losing your temper easily with those around you.

Tips to help you manage

When it comes to managing burnout, there’s no specific or one-size-fits-all approach that will work for everyone. Instead, try to prioritise the things that you believe may work specifically for you. 

  1. Talk to someone you trust about how you’re feeling. 
  2. Make time to prioritise your wellbeing, whether that’s by taking a break from technology, getting more exercise, meditating, eating healthy foods or something else entirely.
  3. Instead of focusing on doing a task perfectly, just focus on getting it done.
  4. Be gentle on yourself by only doing things when you feel ready to, and at your own pace. It’s okay to say ‘no’, setting boundaries is important.
Remember you’re not alone and it’s important to reach out to others for support. For more information, have a look through some of Beyond Blue’s articles that relate to ‘stress’.


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