October to December is packed full of holidays. From scares to sparklers, we spend 3 months in a whirlwind of holidays hitting one after another. While January might have been a welcome return to normalcy, it is possible that the feeling of stability might be waning for some.
We are half-way through February and people are starting to feel tired, as we often do around this time of the year. While ‘burnout’ is a common phrase to start hearing that might describe how you feel, ‘whiplash’ is another.
The symptoms of both experiences are similar, but the way to overcome them differs. Because of this, it is important to know where you stand. Take a look at our guide to learn about what you are experiencing and find out how to overcome it.
Burnout is a common affliction that can occur at any time throughout the year. It’s a result of excessive and prolonged emotional, physical, and mental stress. In many cases, burnout is related to one’s job, though that is not the only cause. This feeling can come from personal or professional stressors and can be identified based off the following factors:
- Increase of escape fantasies
- Increasingly cynical outlook
- Feelings of fatigue or helplessness
- Feeling as though you are unable to be productive
- Frequent illness
So how do you combat burnout? Thankfully, burnout is not a new concept, so there are many guides to getting past it. Depending on the causes of your burnout, some solutions may prove to be more useful than others, but trying any combination of them can only ever help you.
To get started, evaluate your options. What can you afford to do, time-, money-, and energy-wise? Getting a therapist is always a great way to deal with stressors, but it is an expensive service. Supportive friends are great, they are not a substitute for mental and emotional assistance.
Instead, try different opportunities locally and virtually to see what fits your schedule and funding best. Virtual therapy is flexible to your schedule and often has deals for subscriptions that can save you a fair amount of money. Companies like Cerebral and BetterHelp both offer multiple plans to fit your needs at any given time. Local opportunities can include therapeutic activities or private meetings that might help you find the support that you need, like group therapy or community support groups.
Once you know what you can do, figure out what you want and need to do. Try to find opportunities that satisfy both of these tasks as it will make what you need to do much more enticing. Look for physical opportunities, such as yoga, walking, or the gym, as these will help you unwind from stress and feel more prepared for the day.
Mental exercise is just as important as physical. Look for enjoyable and challenging mental games, such as crosswords or puzzles. These can keep you focused and engaged, which ensures that you will be able to mentally escape from worry and work. Water Sort, Polysphere, and Puzzledom are all highly rated puzzle apps available for both iOS and Android users.
Ultimately, it will take a combination of tasks to properly care for yourself during and after burnout, but doing so will allow you to come back much healthier and better prepared to face the day. Making an effort with activities like these will ensure that you have regular and deep sleeps, which are the key to restoring and protecting your health. Try free apps like Aura or Pzizz, both of which will help you better understand and control your sleep cycles.
Whiplash has a few definitions, but, in this case, we are focusing on expectational whiplash. We spend the last 3 months of every year running between events, get togethers, contests, and more. It should be no surprise that our bodies adjust within that time. We come to expect that there is a new task around every corner and, for 3 months, that feeling is usually validated.
In January, we get a breather, of sorts. We are back to work, or our normal schedule, but we are still facing new trails that keep us on our toes, like New Year’s resolutions. We keep our minds and bodies busy, as that is what they have come to expect, but that falls apart when we do get a real break.
As we either discard or adjust to our resolutions, our bodies are left with the energy and the expectations of a much heavier schedule. If you are suffering from this type of strain, you may experience:
- Feelings of forgotten tasks
- Inability to sleep
- Feeling that time is limited
- Sensory overload
While the symptoms present the similar to those of burnout, the solution is different. Combatting whiplash means resetting your expectations for what your days look like, especially on a personal level. Whiplash is exacerbated by what we have become used to, so we need to bring out bodies and minds to a new level of expectation.
Calendars and to-do lists are great helps for this. Calendars give an overall look to the month, which will assist in reducing anxiety about forgotten events and allow you to enjoy personal time with the reassurance that you have nothing else happening. To-do lists do the same on a smaller scale: by creating a day-to-day list of needs and crossing them off, you are physically reminding yourself that you have finished your necessary tasks and can relax.
If you have Google Calendar, that can be a simple and easily accessible way to keep up to date. If not, try out free apps like Todoist or Fantastical. Both apps are highly rated and have varying plans if you need something more in-depth than the free versions.
If scheduling is not something that you are able to do, then focus on redirecting the nervous thoughts to productive efforts that will help you dial back slowly. Look for crafts that take time and effort and focus on those at the height of your anxiety. Steer these activities away from previous stressors, like work or social expectations. These are meant to be a safe and healthy outlet for your energy and time, so make sure that you put yourself and your enjoyment first during these projects.
Knowing what you are facing is the first step to overcoming it. While the solutions presented here are great launching points, they might not be the end-all solution. If you are feeling mentally and emotionally drained or are facing stress and anxiety at an unmanageable level, take the time to visit a mental health professional who can give you more personalized treatments.
If you are looking to help people as a practitioner, then check out our job page! We have opportunities available all across the county for all levels of professionals, so check out our job page today! If you are looking for something different than what we have listed there, then send us an updated resume and we will connect you with a dedicated recruiter.