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Handling Stress and Burn Out

Handling Stress and Burn Out

We’ve all been facing 18 months of a pandemic, so if you add in a major hurricane affecting many of our own homes and families, it’s easy to see why you may be feeling a sense of burn out, stress or pure exhaustion.

It can be hard to accept that we can’t control everything around us, and that we are vulnerable in certain situations. Right now especially, we need to create a space that allows us to accept those vulnerabilities, along with any sadness or fear, and work on building up our strengths. These emotions are normal during this time, but be sure to monitor yourself for symptoms that are outside of a normal response, such as appetite fluctuations, new sleep disturbances, depressed mood, decreased energy levels, inability to complete simple tasks and severe concentration difficulties.

It takes some work to hone your coping skills and try to re-frame the situation to focus on things you can control. Here are some tips:

Focus on the present

Finding balance and developing ways to cope that incorporate reflection, gratitude and focusing our energies on the present is so important. But the truth is, that’s easier said than done, and some days are just tough. Accept this, and on those days, hold tight to the things that bring you joy like family and friends.

Get enough sleep
Getting enough sleep is so important when trying to avoid burnout. Even if you have to significantly adjust your sleep schedule try to fit in at least eight hours of sleep each day or night. Getting enough rest can improve your alertness, concentration, stamina, mood and motivation.

Rely on each other

One way we can also support one another is authentically sharing our struggles and offering a safe place to be heard and to reflect. If you see a loved one or coworker struggling, reach out and offer support and your genuine concern.

Take care of your whole self

Maintaining a regular exercise routine coupled with a well-balanced diet can help lower your stress. It is recommended that you exercise for at least 30 minutes a day. This will help your body feel refreshed and give you a mental break from your work, home life, or whatever is causing stress.

Take time for self-care and compassion

This could come in many shapes and sizes. For some it’s limiting news intake or time on social media, which could be triggering. For others, it’s an outside yoga class.

Daily affirmations and mindfulness

Start your day with a few positive words or thoughts. You’d be surprised how your mindset can shift if you start the day thinking positively. Positive affirmation apps like ThinkUp, Shine, Grateful, and Kwippy can be excellent ways to help you change the way you think.

Know where to turn
There is a lot of help out there, if you need to take that step. Take advantage of any counseling services offered by your workplace or church. Many counseling services now offer telehealth appointments that will allow you to speak to someone from the comfort and convenience of your own home. If you are struggling with post-hurricane stress/anxiety, which can be common for those who have lived through previous natural disasters, trauma-focused psychotherapy is considered the gold-standard method of treating trauma reactions. SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) offers a 24/7 national disaster distress hotline: 1-800-985-5990.