Checklist: Coping with Stress and Burnout

staying fit during cancer treatmentStress in moderation is healthy, but when stress is a constant in our lives it can lead to burnout. Burnout can be defined as the response to lasting stress, leading to decreased productivity, diminished compassion or care for others, and emotional drain (Edwards & Dirette, 2010).

If life is stressing you out, it is possible to combat these symptoms in order to improve overall quality of life and life satisfaction.

First, let’s look at the causes of stress that may lead to burnout:

  • Balancing work and family life
  • Workplace relationships
  • Job demands
  • Type A personalities traits (competitive, organized, impatient, perfectionist)
  • Demographics (women reported higher rates of burnout than men)
  • Decreased professional recognition

Now what can we do to cope with stress and burnout?

  • Engage in healthy habits and activities

    • Exercise at least three times per week for 30 minutes
    • Get enough sleep (seven to eight hours per night)
    • Participate in enjoyable leisure activities
      • Take up a new hobby
      • Spend time with friends
      • Go outside!
  • Commit to quality nutrition and meal planning

    • Make a grocery list and only buy what is on the list
    • Address personal development
      • Set goals or make a bucket list
        • Cross at least one thing off each year!
  • Take on leadership roles or develop leadership skills

  • Practice activities that improve self-awareness

    • Mindfulness
    • Yoga
    • Journaling
    • Meditation
    • Take care of your primary relationship with your spouse or significant other
      • Set priorities
      • Schedule regular dates and invest time
      • Set boundaries
        • It is important to be able to say NO!
        • Don’t overcommit yourself
        • Don’t take your work home with you

This is not an all-inclusive list by any means, but may be a good starting point to address stress. It is my hope that this will spark you to improve your self-care in order to improve your health and wellness.

By Danielle Rowland, MS, OTR/L

Occupational Therapist at Hegg Memorial Health Center Avera

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