How to Build Resilience and Reduce Burnout

Written by: CareerJay
Published on: 12 May 2022

Build Resilience & Reduce BurnoutOur work demands us to be mentally alert. There’s not much cruise control or autopilot in our industry. As a result, we need to be even more aware of self care and balance, to avoid burnout

That's why it's important to cultivate a positive and flexible way of looking at things, and to keep your energy levels high. As a bonus, when you’re happy and focused, you can deliver more value and support to those around you

In this article, we’ll share tips and ideas on how to build and maintain personal resilience. And how to develop the necessary behaviour to become an attractive candidate when seeking new roles, and settling into a new team

Empathy, motivation and social skills are built from the self-awareness element of Emotional Intelligence; a term you’ve probably heard often in relation to both positivity and mindset. The work of Salovey and Mayer, and subsequently Daniel Goleman, discusses how self-awareness allows us to understand how and why we respond the way we do in certain situations. Giving us the opportunity to take charge of these responses and regulate stress. This is really important for handling challenging situations at work, as well as at home. When we learn the triggers, we can adopt more productive behaviour. Learn about our capacities. And build the identity we’d like to have; rather than regretting what we did or said after the event

Mental Agility Helps Us Grow and Adapt

Perhaps one of the most significant advantages of being flexible; or mentally agile, is the fact it develops persistence. When you can view each obstacle in your path as an opportunity to learn, you stop seeing things as ‘bad’ or ‘good’. Rather, you’ve been presented with a challenge to solve. Something that’s giving you the opportunity to learn or develop skills. Which helps you to stay confident that, no matter what, you can find a solution

Reframing your thoughts provides you with life’s golden ticket. It’s the foundation for mental agility and the development of strong cognitive skills. Whenever you meet an obstacle, you retrain your brain to think of it as an opportunity. Carol Dweck, the Mindset Psychologist, stated in ‘A Summary of Two Mindsets’: “Our ideas about risk and effort come from our mindset. Some people realise the value of challenging themselves, they want to put in the effort to learn and grow” 

When you can see setbacks as opportunities to learn, this flexibility in thinking means you won’t shy away from challenges. You’ll feel more comfortable about taking risks. You’ll stick with uncertainty, even when it’s tough. And you’ll continue pushing until you reach your goal

This will translate into more opportunities for success

It also builds resilience

Resilience

Being resilient is not about being emotionally bankrupt. Resilient people still experience happiness, joy, fear and sadness. And when they go through a tough time, they still feel sad, or scared, or anxious; sometimes all three! But they don’t get ‘stuck’ in any particular emotion. They cope with the situation… and move forward. They’ve trained themselves to understand when enough is enough, and - as a result - are less likely to suffer burnout

The good news is resilience can be learned. By developing thoughts, behaviours, and actions, you can recover from traumatic or stressful events in your life

You can create an emotional bank account, for many of the same reasons as you may have created financial savings. Building your personal resources ahead of time, means you can draw on them when you need them later on

From a resilience perspective, the more you keep yourself in tip-top emotional shape; by staying fit, eating healthily, doing breathing exercises and or meditation, resolving conflicts early on, and getting enough sleep, the easier it becomes to manage your emotions when hard times hit

You’ll be able to draw upon the ‘credit’ you’ve banked when you reach a low point

Think about your life at the moment. Are there any stress points you haven’t dealt with? Is there something you can do about them right now? Or is there a way to reframe them so you feel better? For example, you might say: this is only temporary… I’ve come through worse times… by x date, this will be resolved…

This is not about squashing emotions, or always being happy. We’re not advocating taking a Pollyanna view of life

It's about allowing yourself to feel how you feel, within the context of the situation. When someone takes your parking space, you don’t want it to define your day. Having a stressful Monday morning, doesn’t want to set the tone for the rest of the week. Being late for a meeting, doesn’t mean things won’t go the way you wanted them to

How you manage your reactions and stop yourself from worrying, obsessing and criticising yourself, is the key to learning to be more resilient. We all have a negative internal critic, who loves to tell us why we’re less than, or not good enough. But that focuses all our negative emotions inward, narrowing and restricting our attention. And ultimately limiting how we are, and the actions we'll take

Positive emotional states do the opposite. They broaden our thinking and the potential solutions we can see

To access a more positive state of mind, think about the things that make you feel better, and carve out time to do that; take a hot bath, go for a long walk, spend time in nature, listen to a child laugh, stroke a pet

Ask yourself if you’ll still feel this way tomorrow? Next week? Next month? A year from now? Ten years from now?

Seeing a point, no matter how far in the future, that you’ll feel better will make you feel more positive

There is a light - no matter how far away - at the end of the tunnel. You can and will get through this

If you feel particularly low, do something for someone else - especially if they can never repay you!

When we help others, our brains release oxytocin, serotonin and dopamine. These hormones have the effect of boosting our mood and counteract the effect of cortisol (the stress hormone). Automatically making us feel better than we did before; incremental changes add up - think about the savings account we mentioned earlier

In short, resilience involves:

  1. Reframing things to see something positive you can learn, or a more positive time ahead
  2. Keeping yourself in good emotional shape; fit and healthy, cultivating a general sense of inner peace
  3. Taking action early, so stressful things don’t layer one on top of the other, like a precarious game of emotional jenga

Remember to treat life like a flight on an aeroplane; put your own mask on first. If you lose your coping mechanism and burn out, you won’t be able to help anyone. You won’t make that meeting. Finish that project. Support that team. Win that award. Or reach that goal. Taking short(er) breaks and time out now, to focus on building your future resilience and managing your stress levels, will save you a whole world of time later if you go into full burnout

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CareerJay was created with you, your wellbeing, your ongoing employability and your happiness in mind. We’re on a mission to ban Sunday night blues and thank goodness it’s Friday sentiments and help you create a work life you don’t want to run headlong into weekends to get away from. We’ve put together solutions and opportunities we think are going to make your difference. To find out more visit careerjay.com/pharmiweb or contact us at hello@careerjay.com

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