6 psychologist-approved ways to avoid COVID burnout

Psychologist Beth Howsley explains how you can take extra care during this time of heightened stress and anxiety. 

While some people are currently working less hours, some are working more hours than ever before. While some are now working from home, others are struggling to find work. Whatever your circumstances, change and uncertainty can be a large source of stress.

Extended periods of stress can overwhelm our minds and bodies, which can lead to burnout.

It is vital that we can be mindful of our health and wellbeing during this time and practice regularly checking in with ourselves.

Here are some effective ways to prevent burnout…

6 psychologist-approved ways to avoid COVID burnout

1. Start the mornings off right

It’s helpful to start every morning with an intentional practice which sets aside time dedicated for you to connect with yourself. Developing and maintaining a good morning practice is vital to start the day in a positive way.

Everyone’s morning practice can look a little different so ask yourself ‘what are the kinds of things that help you to connect back with yourself?’ Some people like to include a short meditation, some prefer to pray, others may like to give an offering for the day, for example burning an incense stick. Some other useful things to include in your morning routine are:

  • Gratitude expression
  • Gentle stretching/ yoga poses
  • Mindfully enjoying a herbal beverage (try to be mindful of your caffeine intake as this can also add to overworking your adrenals, resulting in placing more stress on the body).
  • Journal writing – whether it be for developing greater self-awareness, to empty out your thoughts, or simply to process our current experiences, journaling is a highly effective tool to reduce stress.

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2. Connect with nature

Getting into nature regularly is an incredible practice to keep yourself balanced and relaxed.

Taking intentional time outside of the home every day is a beneficial practice, ensuring you can breathe in clean air, connect with nature and move the body.

3. Get creative

Creative expression is so important for our wellbeing, however is unfortunately often unvalued in our society.

We are all creative by nature so having a creative outlet can be extremely beneficial to take some time out and connect with yourself. Creativity can help us connect back to our less inhibited, fun, playful self. It can help to create more balance in our lives.

Tapping into our creativity doesn’t have to be some extravagant action; it can be as simple as making time to play your favourite board game.

4. Try some self-care

In times of stress, it becomes even more important to prioritise sleep, exercise and diet.

The moments you feel like you have no time for self-care are the moments when self-care is most needed. Remember that no matter how small the step towards self-care may seem to be, it can have an ongoing ripple effect on your emotional wellbeing.

Some examples of some small steps can include making sure you’re getting into bed around the same time each night, spending five minutes meditating each morning, or three minutes dancing to your favourite music.

Self-care activities that can help to relieve tension with some kind of body work, either massage, soaking in an Epson salts bath, or using an essential oil such as lavender to calm your nervous system can also help you to relax.

5. Be mindful of where you spend your time

Be mindful of how much time you’re spending on social media and watching the news. You may feel that it’s necessary to keep up to date with the current news updates, however, it’s also important that you spend time focusing on things which are important to you and enhance your happiness and wellbeing.

6. Set boundaries

If you are now working from home due to COVID, it can be easy to blur the boundaries between work life and home life. Do your best to create a workspace within your home which inspires you and allows you to focus as much as possible.

After work hours, engage in some kind of daily ritual to help you shift out of your working mode and into your personal space. This could be something like showering, going for a walk, or playing some music.

In unfamiliar times, it can be easy to forget and not honour our boundaries. It’s important to regularly check in with yourself and ask yourself how you’re feeling and what it is you need. If you feel that you’re struggling with your workload then it’s important you communicate this to your boss or otherwise if you’re your own boss, carve out more time for you to focus on other areas of your life that you might be neglecting. Honour thy boundaries, honour thy self.

Bethany Howsley is a clinical psychologist from Lysn. Lysn is a digital mental health company with world class wellbeing technology which helps people find their best-fit professional psychologist whilst being able to access online tools to improve their mental health.