Break the Burnout Cycle
November 13, 2023
Is your never-ending workload causing you to feel overwhelmed and anxious? Does taking breaks throughout the day feel like a luxury you can't afford? If so, you may be spiraling into a burnout cycle. A 2022 survey of 15,000 workers across 15 countries by McKinsey Health found that a quarter of employees experienced burnout symptoms. If burnout is so common, what can we do about it?
On October 19, as part of our WLIT Coffee Talk series, I talked with Tiffany Lord, yoga coach and founder of Love + Asana, to raise awareness of stress factors and to promote our mind and body health. Tiffany shared some insightful tips and tricks she practices to bust burnout and prioritize her well-being.
Here’s a look at some of the tips, tricks, and experiences we discussed with Tiffany.
Self-care Should be a Priority, Not an Afterthought
The act of self-care does not have to be a large or luxurious event. When we create this perception that our self-care is something that requires a lot of time, it becomes more elusive to us and less achievable. If we make self-care more approachable, we will be more likely to lean into it throughout the day and take those breaks we deserve.
In terms of stress management, taking moments to reset throughout the day and starting to shift our mindset can improve emotional regulation and reduce anxiety. This can be anything from going for a walk to making time to step away from the computer during lunch, practicing yoga, or taking a warm shower or bath to unwind after the end of the day. There is no right or wrong choice for self-care, and Tiffany recommends choosing what works for you. Hopefully, whatever that is will bring you more joy, relieve tension, and make you feel more present.
Integrate Guilt-Free Micro-Breaks into Your Routine to Build in Moments of Calm
Rest is an important part of performance and human function. We should break up repetitive tasks or static postures by taking a micro break of about 30 seconds to five minutes every 20 minutes or so. These micro-breaks provide regulation to the nervous system so we can flow in and out of work more confidently and efficiently.
Giving ourselves a reset from overwhelming thoughts and anxiety, even if it’s just a short one, can get us out of the burnout cycle. Micro-breaks give us space to pause, reflect, and potentially shift into this more aligned and present state of being in a way that is totally guilt-free and achievable.
Release Stress and Restore Balance in as Little as One Minute with Interactive Desk Stretches and Relaxation Techniques
One technique that Tiffany shared is Sama breathing, or box breathing. The Sama technique uses a set length of equal inhalations, exhalations, and breath retentions. The main goal of this technique is to reduce mental chatter and distractions.
To practice box breathing, simply:
- Get ready: Get into a comfortable, seated position.
- Start breathing: With the mouth closed, inhale and exhale through the nose in a slow, even, and continuous flow. Use a diaphragmatic breath so that the belly rises and falls with little or no movement in the chest.
- Find your rhythm: Slow and deepen your breath as much as comfortable. Most importantly, breathe in and out of the body at your own pace. If you begin to struggle, then shorten the length and number of counts.
- Start your breath cycle: Inhale for a count of 4; hold your breath for a count of 4; exhale for a count of 4; hold your breath for a count of 4.
- Repeat the breath cycle.
These topics are just a glimpse of what we talked about during our conversation. Check out the video recording for a few moments of practice and valuable insights that can inspire your approach to achieving a better balance in your life.
Thank you to our WLIT community for engaging in the discussion and sharing your experiences, we learned from you as always!
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