The days are getting brighter, daffodils are blooming – so why aren’t you feeling the joys of spring? If you feel physically and emotionally exhausted, overwhelmed and isolated, you might be experiencing burnout.

Recognised officially by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as an occupational phenomenon, burnout can occur when we experience long term and excessive stress, either at work or in our personal life. And after the last couple of years, it’s not surprising that more of us than ever are feeling closer to burning out.

So, what can we do to help ourselves reduce stress and recuperate?

Identify the causes of stress

Burnout is a form of exhaustion from feeling completely swamped all the time. We just can’t keep up with the constant demands on our time, energy and emotions. So, perhaps it’s important to work out where all the demands are coming from.

A big factor is likely to be work, of course. We all find work stressful at times, but when it’s beginning to impact on our mental health, we need to take action. Of course, we can’t just remove ourselves from the cause – walking away from work is just not that easy. We can take time to talk to our employers about recognising and managing stress in the workplace.

But it’s not just work. Right now we are all worried about money; just watch those energy prices spike! Health issues, relationships, lack of sleep – all these factors contribute. While there is unlikely to be a quick fix, just taking some time for self-care can help you to improve your mental health.

Here’s a few ways you can help yourself to reduce the impact of burnout.

Set clear boundaries in your home office

There’s been a lot of focus on home working since 2020, as thousands of office workers found themselves sitting down in their kitchens to work from a laptop for the first time. The sudden change from a workplace environment was perhaps more startling than many expected. Instead of office banter, easy interactions over the monitor and long chats at the coffee machine, people were isolated and expected to work out how to focus through the distractions of home life. It’s not as easy as many had thought.

It’s important to set clear boundaries so that your work life doesn’t spread across your home as well. If you can keep your home office separate to family space, it helps. But if you can’t, then make sure you put away your office at the end of the working day so you’re not tempted to pick up emails late at night. And that means setting office hours as well, so that your days don’t leech into your evenings. By the way, this goes for anyone who works over their expected hours in a workplace too!

It’s ok to say no

Now that restrictions are leaving, some of us are heading back to the office. And we’re finding that our social lives are picking up as well. But just because workmates want to head out to lunch, or friends are inviting you for after work drinks, it doesn’t mean you have to go.

Yes, we’ve been locked down for a long time, and you might want to ‘get back to normal’. But just as heading into lockdown was a shock to our systems leading to many feeling isolated, suddenly heading back out to multiple lunches, parties and evenings out will be another extreme change.

There is no harm in taking it slowly. If you don’t want to rush back out to pubs and restaurants, don’t be afraid to say no to invitations. Whether you are still wary about being in crowded spaced, or just don’t want to go out, then listen to yourself and put your own wellbeing first.

Keep up the activities that make you happy

Others have really flourished while working from home, finding they have more time to be with family and perhaps start new hobbies or exercise more. The key is not to stop now, as things return to normal. Use this new chapter to continue your new hobby, do things that you love and keep nurturing those relationships with the people who make you happy.

Schedule in time for yourself

Even the most outgoing of people need some quiet time to themselves. It’s not selfish to care for your own mental health by taking a break.

Schedule in a little time each week that’s just for you, when you can relax and recharge. It might be a quiet walk in the woods, letting fresh air and nature lift your spirits and calm your mind. Or a sunny sofa and a book, quiet me-time that takes you away from thinking about day to day life.

Book yourself in for a treatment and let natural therapies do the healing. A reflexology session relaxes your mind and boys, improves circulation to remove toxins from the body – built up from prolonged exposure to stress – and helps to restore your wellbeing.

Take care before you burnout

If you’re under pressure and feeling stressed, putting some strategies in place now might just help you reduce the chances of reaching complete exhaustion. It’s better for your health, and means you’ll be able to deal with future stress too.

Before you reach complete burnout, why not take time to assess your stress levels now. Book in for a calming holistic therapy, and give yourself some time out today.