Mental Health | Self-care Strategies to Prevent Burnout 

“A burnout buddy helps you to identify the symptoms of burnout that are hidden from your view” 

As a leader I’m sure you face many challenges in a day. 

Your resilient nature probably means that you deal with these by toughing it out – adding more hours to your day, downing coffee (or worse still, Red Bull) to stay ‘on it’, skipping meals when you don’t have time to eat and working, rather than working out.  

If this feels like you, you may be a candidate for burnout. Burnout is a body response to excessive and prolonged exposure to stress.  

The typical symptoms include:

  • Exhaustion and the feeling of having to drag yourself to work  
  • An increase in irritability or impatience with others 
  • The inability to concentrate on the task at hand 
  • An increase in illness and headaches 
  • Challenges with sleep 

As Burnout can lead to harmful consequences if left unchecked, its wise to put preventative measures in place! My own self-care plan goes like this:

  1. Because one of the key features about burnout is that you often aren’t conscious it’s happening, I have appointed a burnout buddy. We each have the responsibility to alert the other when we see signs of burnout and a reminder to get back on track. 
  2. Next up is a personal coach & mentor who checks in weekly with me, to chat through personal and work-related challenges. If you don’t have one, perhaps contact your local chamber of commerce, the local Rotary club or even your church. 
  3. I also diarise regular workout times and monitor my progress weekly. Physical exercise is one of the cheapest and most effective ways to improve our mental state and can be as simple as walking daily for 15-20 minutes.
  4. Negative influences such as social media, TV, Radio are kept off my radar with my time spent rather listening to audiobooks that build a positive mindset.
  5. Last but not least, healthy body, healthy mind: I supplement my diet with vitamins and mineral supplement to maximise my physical well-being.

More than this though, do be sure to reach out for professional help from a psychologist or local GP if your symptoms persist or worsen.  

So perhaps the question this week is – is it time for you to also get yourself a burnout buddy? 

Wishing you a good self-care week ahead. 

With love 

By Catherine Wijnberg – Founder and CEO of Fetola  

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