Burnout Module 2 Summary

Tackling Burnout with Lifestyle Approaches

This is a summary of the module Tackling Burnout: Lifestyle Approaches for your reference.

Lifestyle Approaches

In this module, you will focus on lifestyle changes that can help lower your stress and reduce your burnout symptoms. Making improvements to your nutrition, exercise, sleep, and stress management can have a positive impact.

lifestyle approaches overview image

Change in these areas can be tough. Start with one or two and build them up over time. It’s best to focus on habits that are interesting and inspiring to you.

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Nutrition

Eating well can help lower stress by reducing inflammation in your body and regulating your blood sugar. The Mediterranean diet in particular can help improve your mental well-being.

mediterranean diet for burnout module image

Which Mediterranean diet foods do you eat?

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Which unhealthy foods do you exclude from your diet?

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Mediterranean diet image

Further nutrition information and advice can be found in your Goodpath “Diet and Emotional Health Guide.” Talk with your coach about making changes to your diet.

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Mindful Eating

Mindful eating, or bringing awareness to your eating, is also helpful when managing stress.

To help you eat mindfully:

  • Limit distractions during meals. Set your phone aside and turn off the TV.

  • Slow down as you eat. If you need, set your fork down in between bites.

  • Involve your senses. Observe how your food smells, tastes, and looks.

mindful eating image

Your program also includes a Mindful Eating practice to help you with this skill.

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Exercise

Emotional exhaustion is a common symptom of burnout. Those who are emotionally exhausted feel drained by their work. They may say things like, “I feel completely worn out by the end of my workday.” 

Physical exercise may help with burnout by reducing emotional exhaustion.

Consider what forms of exercise help to “recharge” you. You may benefit from a restorative form of exercise like stretching, or you may find more relief from a higher energy exercise like weight training, brisk walking, swimming, or running.

Good posture is also important. When you’re stressed, simply maintaining an upright seated posture, rather than a slumped position, can boost your mood and self-esteem.

good posture diagram

Here are some additional ideas:

  • Walking in a peaceful atmosphere like your local park or the beach

  • Boxing or martial arts classes to reduce frustration

  • Yoga to relax your body and clear your mind

What are some forms of exercise that reduce your stress?

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Sleep

When you’re sleep-deprived (getting less than 7 to 9 hours of sleep for most people), you’re more likely to experience burnout. Sleep renews your energy, restores the body, and decreases fatigue during the day. This highlights the importance of getting the right amount of good quality sleep.

How much sleep do you usually get? Is it quality sleep?

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To improve your sleep:

  • Don’t use electronics or watch TV before going to sleep.

  • Avoid caffeine at least 6 hours before bedtime.

  • Relax before bed - read, journal, shower, bathe, etc. 

  • Reduce bedroom noise and light.

  • Go to bed and wake up at about the same time every day (including days off).

  • Avoid napping for more than 20 minutes (Not napping may improve your overall sleep quality).

sleep hygiene tips

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Mindfulness

Mindfulness is staying in the present moment and practicing non-judgment. You will learn more about it throughout your Goodpath program. 

Mindfulness meditation, a practice designed to strengthen mindfulness, has been shown to reduce work-related stress. It can also lessen anxiety- and depression-related symptoms.

You can practice mindfulness by:

  • Taking a mindful walk: go outside and observe your surroundings - what do you see, hear, and smell? Try this during lunch or a work break. Your program also includes a Mindful Walking practice to guide you.

  • Practicing gratitude: Use Goodpath’s Reflections of Gratitude. You might want to keep it on your desk.

daily gratitude practice journal image

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Relaxation Techniques

In addition to mindfulness, relaxation techniques can help bring your stress level down. 

Relaxation is a way to counteract the fight or flight response (the stress response). Triggering the response “slows metabolism, breathing, heart rate, and brain activity.

Relaxation techniques include yoga, breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation, and guided meditations. These are all available through your Goodpath program.

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Ask for Support

Those who feel supported at work are less likely to feel burnt out. Identify your support needs so that you can ask for help. You might want to talk with close co-workers or your manager. 

ask for support two people chatting

Along with support at work, family members or friends can often provide support in times of high stress.

Asking for support may be hard, so:

  • Be specific about the help you need. Do you need someone to check in with you once a week? Do you need to talk through your experiences?

  • Express gratitude for support when it is offered.

  • Avoid apologizing or minimizing your needs. This helps to lessen any uncomfortable feelings and keeps you present and nonjudgmental.

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Take a moment to review the areas of your lifestyle that could help to improve burnout. What habits could you work on?

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If you’re having a hard time figuring out how to make these changes to your lifestyle, your Goodpath coach can guide you.