When it comes to avoiding burnout, it’s important to know the factors that lead to it. According to Winona State University, burnout has 5 stages. We are going to go over the stages and give you strategies to avoid the stress that leads to burnout. 

It seems we are in the middle of a generation where being highly stressed and busy somehow correlates to being successful and in the prime of life. However, this can be an unhealthy pressure to put on yourself.

Our lives are saturated with the technology we consume and the colourful, bubbly and constantly busy lives that pop up on our screens each day. 

Although setting goals and being inspired or motivated by others around us or online is nothing to be ashamed of, falling into the trap of believing we need to live up to a standard of being ‘swamped’ and stressed, is where the issue lies.

It’s okay to want to feel calm, in control and not constantly under the pump. It’s also okay to thrive off a busy life, but either way, strategies to avoid burnout can benefit everyone. 

Let’s go over the five stages of burnout and our strategies to avoid it. 

1. Honeymoon phase 

When we undertake a new project such as beginning a new job role, starting a new business venture or starting a new area of study, we often start by feeling high levels of satisfaction, energy, commitment and focus due to the initial excitement. 

It is in this state that we should be aiming to stay in, by setting clear boundaries from the start to focus on our mental wellbeing. 

2. Stress

The second stage is the onset of stress when we start to notice that some days or weeks are harder than others, and the common symptoms of stress arise. This can include anxiety, lack of focus, lack of job satisfaction and change in appetite.

3. Chronic Stress

The third stage is when the stress clouds your days more than energy and focus do. At this stage, the symptoms of stress could also intensify to things such as exhaustion, lack of social connection, increased caffeine consumption and getting sick. 

4. Burnout

Once we reach this stage the stress becomes so overwhelming that we begin to get ongoing symptoms of chronic stress as well as perhaps isolation, self-doubt or neglecting self-care and personal needs. 

5. Habitual burnout 

It is when we get to this point that burnout becomes ‘normal’ in our routine and unhealthy habits become chronic issues that can last for a while.

If any of these stages apply to you in some way, these tips may help you avoid getting to the later stages of burnout. 

Let’s go over our strategies: 

1. Invest in an Employee Happiness Program 

If the culture in your workplace is an element leading to your burnout, speak to your Manager or HR Manager to see if they are open to having a wellness program in place for their team. At Happiness Co, we have an award-winning program proven to empower individuals to be in charge of their own happiness and mental health, allowing organisations to thrive as a result. 

2. Set boundaries for work/life balance 

Setting boundaries between working reasonable hours and ‘switching off’ to do things that fill your cup is extremely important in maintaining a healthy amount of stress. If you can plan out your week in a diary, have your priorities clear and make sure to include doing things you love throughout the week – you will notice a huge difference in your mental wellbeing. Adding in things like having a coffee with a friend during the week, going to your favourite gym classes before work, or leaving early to spend time with family or pets. 

3. Take days off when needed to reset

Taking a sick day when you are genuinely sick, but also if you are feeling run down and in need of a day to reset. Giving yourself permission to do this, will contribute massively to your energy levels and focus. 

4. Try and plan physical activity in your week 

Physical activity is proven to decrease levels of adrenaline and cortisol associated with stress. Creating a healthy exercise schedule that works for you can influence your stress levels drastically.

5. Plan catch-ups with friends over the weekend

Maintaining connections to friends is extremely important, especially when you are in a busy period of your life. If you can create time for them, you will notice a big difference in your happiness and it is a great way to connect with people outside of your work. 

6. Join an Online Happiness Course 

If you need extra support, joining an online happiness program could be something for you to prioritise your happiness. 

7. Focus on creating healthy diet habits 

The food you eat has a huge impact on your mental health and mood. If you can find a diet that works for you, try and implement a consistent plan to stay healthy as this will directly affect your mood and stress levels. If you’d like support from a professional, head to Balance Me and reach out for a consultation for fueling your body the right way. 

We hope these strategies can help you build healthy habits for managing healthy stress levels. Remember, you don’t need to be highly stressed to be successful and motivated.

If you are interested in any of our happiness programs or individual happiness coaching, head to our website. 

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