The final post in the Burnout series (refer to attached links)
A quote from the book Burnout – The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle: “The stress itself will kill you faster than the stressor will – unless you do something to complete the stress response cycle. While you’re managing the day’s stressors, your body is managing the day’s stress. It is absolutely essential to your well-being that you give your body the resources it needs to complete the stress response cycles that have been activated.”
Here are 7 ways to complete the stress response cycle that all signal to your brain and body that you are safe:
1) Physical Activity - the single most efficient strategy for completing the stress response cycle. Our bodies were built for movement not for sitting on a chair for 8 hours on zoom calls and proceeding to the sofa to watch Netflix until bedtime. Movement can be anything…. Just get your heart pumping a little. One of my favs - I often will take a break and play with my dog for 10 minutes!
2) Breathing – deep, slow breathes down regulate the stress response. A simple exercise is to do box breathing: breathe in for a 4 count, hold for a 4 count, exhale for a 4 count, hold for a 4 count, then repeat.
3) Positive Social Interaction – Though this has been more difficult recently, find time to spend in casual and friendly social interactions. This can even be something as simple as small virtual chats with others.
4) Laughter – a real laugh, not the polite social laughter but belly laughs – deep, impolite, snorting kind of laughter. Think back to the last time you actually were ROTFL…really. The euphoria felt after one of these real LOLs just can’t be beat.
5) Affection – Be with someone with whom you have a deeper connection and this is not necessarily physical affection. Also in this category are actions like a 6 second kiss or 20 second hug, which will change your hormones, lower your blood pressure and heart rate, improve mood increases oxytocin.
6) Just Cry – crying doesn’t help the stressor but it definitely helps to complete the stress response cycle. Crying is actually a physical expression of emotion or stress. (BTW - It is not a sign of weakness and can we please just stop telling our children or others to stop crying!!) Allowing yourself to experience this physical act, will allow you to complete the cycle. Usually, it won’t last longer than 5 or 10 minutes and you will feel so much better afterward.
7) Creative Expression – art, in any form, encourages emotions. Create something yourself, listen to music, experience visual arts or performing arts that support the emotion you are experiencing.
You don’t have do all of these things everyday, but in order to deal with burnout and keep it bay it is wise to build daily practices using one or two of these techniques.
Manage your stress which will manage your burnout.