Overpacked schedules seem to be the norm these days. Whether our plate is full of work deadlines, family obligations, or a combination of both, the stress of a packed routine can quickly get overwhelming. Consecutive seasons of busy schedules can leave us feeling burnt out and exhausted. As we try to keep up with the day-to-day agenda, it’s common to see healthy habits slip down on our priority list. Learning to avoid burnout can help us succeed with daily tasks, manage stress, and stay on track with goals.

  1. Prioritize Sleep

Sleep affects almost every aspect of our health and wellness, so allowing your body adequate rest should be on top of your priority list. According to a study published in the National Library of Medicine,[1] “The results identified ‘too little sleep (< 6 hours)’ as the main risk factor for burnout development”. Practice good sleep hygiene by establishing a bedtime routine and turning off screens at least thirty minutes before bed. These beneficial habits can help with falling asleep and staying asleep.

  1. Set Boundaries

Juggling work and personal life can become a strenuous balancing act. Without boundaries, endless demands can run together. Set clear boundaries and expectations that allow you to meet your basic, daily needs. Block time on your calendar to ensure you get bathroom and lunch breaks. Turn off notifications during family time. Be transparent about realistic deadlines. Let family members and friends know when you are available, when your plate is too full, or when you could use help.

  1. Encourage Healthy Habits

Maintaining healthy habits can give us the energy to continue through busy days. Regular exercise is beneficial for our mental and physical health. It gives us a good outlet for stress and is a great way to alter our perspective. Even if you do not have excess free time for exercise, a quick walk or mini-workout can still positively impact your day. Fueling yourself with the proper nutrition by eating a balanced diet is also helpful for preventing burnout. Focus on incorporating fruits, veggies, whole grains, and lean protein. Limit added sugars, sugary drinks, and excess caffeine, which can exacerbate stressful feelings.

  1. Add Time-Outs into Your Day

Hit pause on your busy take and take a mindful time-out for just a few minutes. A quick break helps you reframe your thoughts and focus on the present. Try a deep breathing exercise, listen to a favorite song, or follow a guided meditation for a mindful moment in your day. If you have more time, choose a relaxing activity, like walking, reading a book, or stretching.

  1. Practice Resiliency

The American Psychological Association[2] defines resilience as “the process and outcome of successfully adapting to difficult or challenging life experiences, especially through mental, emotional, and behavioral flexibility and adjustment to external and internal demands”. Resiliency is not a lack of stress or difficult situations. Instead, it is practicing to adapt and adjust whenever hard times happen. Prioritizing relationships, taking care of yourself, finding purpose in what you do, practicing a positive perspective, and seeking help when you need it are all ways to build resiliency. When we aim to understand our stress triggers and find better ways to manage them, it helps us through feelings of burnout and more resiliency in the future.

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