If I told you that you needed to drive your car nonstop across the country, no fuel stops, what would you say? Impossible. Our cars were not built to go that far without stopping for fuel.
So why is it a surprise that we humans are not meant to work and think nonstop? Unfortunately, fuel is too obvious of an answer. When we run out of fuel, much like a car, we simply stop. Fuelling our bodies is important, but so is fuelling our minds and addressing our mental health.
A more subtle analogy to mental health is the oil in the car. As we drive, we eventually begin to breakdown the oil, and over time that oil becomes less effective. If we don’t heed the car’s warnings, our engine is forced to run with low or no oil and will literally burn out – it will overheat and stop working.
How Can You Prevent Burnout?
We need to slow down the pace in order to get our needed space to think and to put things into perspective.
Practice the following actions and attitudinal mindsets to help slow down the pace and protect yourself from mental exhaustion and burnout:
Stop consuming information nonstop.
Being connected 24-hours a day can lead to mental strain and anxiety. Schedule regular times throughout the day to take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to the news.
Calm your mind through intentional practices.
Meditation is something often discussed but seldom practiced by many. It can also be useful to keep in mind the 6 Rs (Rest, Relaxation, Recreation, Relationships, Routine, Reframing) that help you manage stress and anxiety in a healthy way.
Focus on something else.
Give your mind something else to think about, it would be preferable to think about something that is energising and uplifting.
Practice a mindset of gratitude.
So easy to say, so hard to do. Gratitude is a mindset that searches for and recognises the things that we can be grateful for. The practice of gratitude energises us and helps us in times of adversity.
Practice a mindset of meaning and purpose.
This is the mindset that your life has meaning and value and purpose. It is also a mindset that your actions have purpose and thus you must act to continue despite setbacks and difficulty.
Practice a mindset of connectedness.
This is the mindset that you do not have to do this alone and in fact should not have to. That we are not alone and there are many who are on this journey, and together, we can overcome.
Practice a mindset of positivity.
This is not a glass is half full orientation, although that can be helpful. It is a mindset that is nourished by the benefit of positive emotions that often come from gratitude, purpose, and connectedness.