Head Hack – 4 Ways I Avoid Burnout

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An interesting question was posed to me recently about how I stay healthy and how I stay resilient, given the emotional energy required in my job(s) as I juggle being a Psychiatrist and leading headversity.

For me, there are 4 things that help me with this, and I need to do them or I bump up against a significant amount of emotional exhaustion and burnout.

1Exercising

4 ways I avoid burnout

I need to work out 5 times a week, which includes playing hockey and going to the gym. In these workouts I need to push myself to the limit, workout very hard, or I’m not in a good state.

2Meditate 10 minutes every day

4 Ways I Avoid Burnout

The second thing I do is meditation. This doesn’t typically happen on weekends, but usually is a weekday habit I try to build into my morning routine to get in the right head space.

3Ensure I’m getting 7-8 hours of sleep every night

4 ways I avoid burnout

The third thing I need is sleep. I practice quite strict sleep hygiene. For me, I need 7-8 hours a night, especially given the demands of working on call as a physician. I’ve had experiences on call, as many doctors have, where you’re sleep deprived and everything goes to hell! Lack of sleep for me just does not work, plain and simple.

4Take breaks!

4 ways I avoid burnout

The last thing I do is to make sure when I’m bumping up against that feeling of being burned out or I don’t have enough energy to do this task, I usually take a break. This can be extremely tough to recognize, but it’s really important.

If there’s something I need to do and I know I’m going to get into that zone where I’m feeling burned out, I’ll set aside some time the next day to make sure I can recover and make sure I’ve got the balance needed to keep going.

My goal is always to “stay in the game” as long as I can. But, it doesn’t do me any good to get totally burned out so that I don’t want to go to work, don’t want to help my patients, or even to keep building headversity.

Note: These are common practices and the use frequencies that work for me. Not everyone will require the same amount of sleep, workouts per week, or even time spent meditating, to help them achieve a similar sense of emotional balance. 

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