We can't hit pause and stop everything just to get a break- as much as we'd all like to from time to time- it's just not sustainable. But practicing self-care can help us function to the best of our abilities. For those who are in the responsible role for too long and are consumed with one aspect of life with no ability to break away and practice self-care, burnout can occur. Burnout can compromise a person's ability to manage regular day-to-day responsibilities and has physiological, mental and emotional consequences. As a result, Dennis Fehr, a clinical therapist with Manitoba BlueCross's Employee Assistance Program, directs clients who may be experiencing burnout to practice self-care.
"Self-care becomes a preeminent importance at that point," says Fehr. He likens burnout to an actual sunburn- when you're burnt, you remove yourself from the sun to avoid making it worse, but if you were to go sit out by a bonfire later that day, yo'd be in pain again due to the heat. If you're burnt or burned out, you don't just remove yourself from the one source of heat that caused the issue, but all sources of heat that can make the burn worse.
When suffering from burnout, it's important to look at all sources of stress and work to reduce stress or manage it with complementary self-care strategies. This can help you shift your thinking and regain your sense of self from whatever was consuming your time and energy, and have balance in life again.
Ideally though, just like you'd put on sunscreen before going out in the hot sun, practice self-care to avoid that burn altogether.
Read our article "Putting yourself first" to learn more about self-care and how to find balance in your life. Want more support and strategies for self-care? Manitoba Blue Cross’s counselling services are available to all Manitobans, regardless of whether or not you have coverage with Manitoba Blue Cross. Find the available support that's right for you here.
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