Some More Comments on Ways to Handle Burnout, ie build resilience

i) Make time for a rest

- take a holiday, ie from a couple of days to weeks, etc

- set boundaries, eg e-mail communications only during work hours, etc

- daily relaxation is critical, eg 5 minutes a day of meditation

- do activities outside of work that bring joy like hobbies

"...this could be as simple as lying in a park or on the beach, reading a book, baking a cake, taking a bush walk or playing golf with friends..."

Stuart Taylor 2020

ii) Maintain relationships, especially close personal friendships

- have someone(s) who you can effectively talk and/or spend time with to get your mind off work related issues

- share hobbies with other interested people

- keep in contact with family, like regular family meals, visits, etc

iii) Breathe

"...breathing is an important way of shifting in and out of mindsets and can help us stay present in the moment...... a regular "five breaths of transition" - taking 5 deep breaths that help you calmly adjust from one environment to the next..."

Stuart Taylor 2020

iv) Move

- chronic stress has a major impact on physical well-being

- exercise is an important part of releasing tension and preventing burnout, ie

" should aim for 30 minutes of activity a day, but as little as 5 minutes of high intensity exercise a day can be decrease stress and emotional exhaustion..."

Stuart Taylor 2020

v) Give gratitude

"...practising daily gratitude increases happiness and satisfaction, reduces stress and neutralises cynicism - a key characteristic of burnout..."

Stuart Taylor 2020

Write-down each day 3 things that you are grateful for.

"...try sharing the things you're grateful for with family or friends as a way to reinforce gratitude and build connection..."

Stuart Taylor 2020

vi) Think positive

"...identify negative thoughts so that you can challenge them......spending time with positive people could also shift your outlook..."

Stuart Taylor 2020

Some professions, such as law, can be tremendously satisfying but the nature of the profession can be dangerous in that it encourages a tendency to form an entrenched negative mindset, ie what's wrong with the argument, proposition, presentation, etc, rather than what is right. This negativity can dominate the rest of your life. If this happens, it is extremely difficult to have a happy life

vii) Adequate sleep

- daily relaxation practices can improve sleep by 25%;

- most adults need more than 7 hours of good quality sleep per night (see more details on sleep in other parts of the knowledge base)

viii) Prioritise

- learn to prioritise tasks into urgent or not urgent, important or not important; focus on urgent and important and less on not urgent and not important)

ix) Your career is a marathon, not a sprint (find time to do other things, ie non-work, hobbies, etc that interest you)

x) Maintain a sense of humour (a sense of ridiculousness about what goes on)

xi) Open conversations (talk about how people are actually going and understand that if somebody is having difficulty coping, it doesn't make them a weak person; rather, it makes them human; offer help and support)

xii) Focus on what is right, good things (avoid too much emphasis on negativity, ie what is wrong, etc)

xiii) Silence (we all need structured periods of silence or cultivated silence. This helps
"...restore the nervous system, sustain energy, and conditions our mind to be more adaptive and responsive to complex environments in which so many of us now live, work, and lead......Is associated with the development of new cells in the hippocampus, the key brain region associated with learning and memory......2 minutes of silence inserted between musical pieces proved more stabilising to cardiovascular and respiratory systems than the music categorised as relaxing..."
Justin Talbot-Zorn et al, 2017

It facilitates clear and creative thinking.

Furthermore, the disadvantages of noise and distraction associated with open office plans has unanticipated and unproven benefits, like increasing morale and productivity boost from unplanned interactions.

This is in addition to the chance of having novel ideas or insights during these cultivated silences, ie it promotes deeper modes of listening and attention.

Some ways to cultivate periods of sustained silence:

- punctuate your work day with 5 minutes of quiet time like close office door, retreat to a park bench, find a quiet hideaway, use meditation or reflection, etc

- take a silent afternoon in nature like go for a couple of hours' walk in nature

- go on a media fast, ie have a break from your e-mails, social media, etc

- use meditation even attend a meditation retreat


"...The highest performers - those who put their hands up to manage new and difficult projects, will hold themselves to the highest standards - are often the most susceptible to burnout. There's nothing wrong with pushing yourself, but if you're going to play hard, make sure you rejuvenate harder..."

Stuart Taylor 2020

"...burnout is not the same thing as a diagnosable mental illness like anxiety or depression. However, the chronic stress underlying burnout can trigger or exacerbate an existing mental condition..."

Natascha Gillezeau 2019

"...mental despair of burnout has an existential flavour about it. What makes the search for meaning such a powerful force is a basic tragedy all human beings have to face, ie finality and inevitability of death......when people try to find meaning in their life through work and feel that they have failed, the result is burnout. To avoid and deny death we need to feel heroic, to know that our lives are meaningful, that we matter in the large, cosmic scheme of things. How people choose to become heroes depends to a large extent on their culture's prescribed hero system. Whatever hero system......people serve it in order to earn a feeling of primary value, of cosmic specialness, of ultimate usefulness to creation, of unshakeable meaning. In previous eras, religion was the most commonly chosen hero in the absence of deeply held faith, there is work. Given that our society's prevailing hero system revolves around career success, pushing back against the idea that work can provide us with some ultimate source of meaning is not always easy..."

Ayala Pines as quoted by Natascha Gillezeau 2019


"...many laudable pursuits are impossible to get through without some stress and discomfort. In fact, being challenged - intellectually, spiritually, emotionally and physically - is a key to growth..."

Richard Friedan as quoted by Natascha Gillezeau 2019

Thus need to find our right balance


 Links between creativity and stress

"...37 separate studies of creativity and stress found that 81.1% recorded a steady reduction in stress in individuals who took part in art, dance/movement and drama therapy..."

Behavioural Science Journal (2018) as quoted by Helen Hawkes 2019


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