Stress, anxiety and burnout are nothing new, but they do seem to have peaked during the pandemic. If you’re one of the many feeling them, it may be time to slow down and work on feeling better. First up? Figuring out exactly what you’re dealing with.
Performance expert Delatorro McNeal II says burnout and overwhelm are similar, but slightly different. He compares burnout to a car that’s totally out of gas and running on fumes, and he says you can think of overwhelm as “the rubber band that you’ve expanded beyond its capacity.” He gives three major reasons people feel overwhelmed:
- Not asking for help. “We all graduated from the University of I Can Do It All By Myself,” McNeal teases.
- We tend to think about too many parts of a project at once instead of breaking it down and prioritizing tasks.
- Not delegating, which he says is often “because we don’t trust that other people can execute at the level that we do.
And once you know what you’re actually feeling and why, it’s time to address the issue:
- At work - The first step to managing stress and burnout at work is to set healthy boundaries. “Work is like weeds,” McNeal explains. “It'll take up as much of our life as we allow it.” Getting comfortable saying no is part of the boundary-setting and so is “being where your feet are,” which is being present and focused on what’s in front of you.
- On your way home from work - McNeal suggests finding an outlet to diffuse work stress so you don’t carry it home. He suggests listening to a podcast or music, or meditating during your commute. And try to reframe your thoughts to shift “from obligations to opportunities.” Think I get to go home to make dinner instead of I have to go home to make dinner.
- When you’re home - Do things you enjoy to help shake off the stress of the work day and don’t be afraid to communicate to loved ones if you need a few minutes to yourself to detox and reset.