Beating burnout: 10 tips for women - Blog - Persona Nutrition

Beating burnout: 10 tips for women

Woman sleeping

It’s 3 pm, you peek your head up from a day of back-to-back meetings and think to yourself, “I haven’t even had lunch yet.” A jolt of caffeine gets you to your 5pm deadline before you dive headlong into evening chores.  

Sound familiar? You may be on the road to burnout.  

So what is burnout, exactly?  

Burnout is different from stress. Stress is the feeling you get when you’re pushed outside your comfort zone. We all feel it from time to time; it’s temporary and it’s normal. Burnout is an entirely different beast. It’s a more serious issue that develops over time and leaves you depleted, detached and cynical. It makes a simple task feel like an insurmountable feat.   

Are women at higher risk? 

Yes. As women, we tend to wear our superhuman, “get sh** done,” powers like a badge of honor. We sacrifice workouts, sleep and even skip our daily lunch breaks just to keep up. In fact, women spend two more hours per day on chores than men who work the same number of hours¹. Add in the mental burden of managing these competing demands—known as “emotional labor”—and it’s no wonder that women, especially millennials, are burning out at an alarming rate. 

How do you know you’re burnt out? 

Burnout comes with some telltale symptoms:  

  • Hopelessness 
  • Fatigue and exhaustion 
  • Irritability 
  • Loss of motivation 
  • Inability to meet obligations 
  • Emotional detachment 
  • Withdrawal 
  • Brain fog 
  • Trouble sleeping  

 

If this sounds like you, something has to change—your health depends on it. Here are 10 tips to help you recover:  

1) Set healthy boundaries  

Boundaries are the limits we set for ourselves in relationships and at work. They not only help preserve our emotional and physical health, but they can help us work more efficiently too². Before your workload gets unmanageable, communicate clear (and reasonable) expectations on timelines, and learn how to say “no” or ask for help when you’re stretched too thin. Most importantly, establish reasonable work hours and be sure to plan some well-deserved time-off.   

2) Go easy on yourself  

Getting burnt out doesn’t mean you’re a failure; it just means you need a break. It’s important to keep this in mind. A 2016 survey found that the average woman criticizes herself at least eight times a day³. The negative self-talk can amplify the psychological effects of burnout. So, show yourself the same compassion you would to a friend. As the saying goes, “give yourself grace.”  

3) Log off social media 

That toxic self-criticism we mentioned above is driven in part by our online habits. When we spend time on social media, we tend to compare ourselves to the unrealistic images we see there, and that can accelerate the negative self-talk that in turn makes burnout worse. So, to unwind your mind, take a break from scrolling. 

4) Stop skipping lunch  

When there isn’t enough time in the day, lunch breaks are the first thing to go. The truth is, stopping for lunch increases productivity, helps you feel more creative and improves your focus. Take a few minutes to unplug, enjoy a meal and stretch your legs before tackling the second half of your day. 

5) Get plenty of sleep   

Gearing up to hit “send” on an angry work email? Sleep on it! Chances are, you’ll feel better after a solid eight. Research shows that working while tired makes you more vulnerable to stress and irritability4 

6) Move your body  

There‘s truth to the phrase, “runner’s high.” Moderate to intense exercise produces feel-good chemicals in your brain called endorphins. These are what give you that post-exercise buzz—and make exercise a great de-stressor. Aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity, five days a week and be sure to include strength exercises at least twice a week for some bonus health benefits5. 

7) Eat a healthy diet  

People who eat healthier diets, especially Mediterranean-style diets rich in whole foods, feel less stressed than those who eat a typical Western-style diet high in sugar, processed foods, and fast food6. Tame “hanger” with balanced meals full of fiber, protein and healthy fats to keep your blood sugar (and mood) on an even keel throughout the day. And aim for at least five daily servings of antioxidant-rich vegetables and fruits for important stress-busting nutrients. USDA’s MyPlate defines a serving as one cup of fruit, one cup raw or cooked vegetables, or two cups of leafy greens.  

8) Treat yourself to some ‘me’ time 

Make time for the things that make you feel good. Getting your creative juices flowing with a favorite hobby has been shown to help reduce stress, so dust off those paint supplies and make a mess, knowing that you’ll come out feeling refreshed. Not feeling creative? Reward yourself at the end of a long workweek with a bubble bath or enjoy lunch with a friend for a similar dose of feel-good vibes.  

9) Talk to a therapist   

Burnout increases your risk of depression. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Check your insurance for local providers or ask your doctor for a referral. 

10) Try the right supplements 

When it comes to stress and energy (or lack thereof), there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Some supplements, like ashwagandha, can help you feel more relaxed throughout the day, while others support your sleep and energy.  

Not sure where to start? Take our free nutrition assessment to find out exactly what you need to get your bounce back. 

 

Emily is a registered dietitian with a master’s degree in health communications. She is a self-proclaimed nutrition nerd and has a knack for translating nutrition science into everyday tips and resources.  Emily is just one of Persona’s team of qualified nutritionists. Do you have questions about nutrition? Reach out. Our experts would love to help.   

This information is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional or any information contained on or in any product label or packaging. Do not use the information from this article for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing medication or other treatment. Always speak with your physician or other healthcare professional before taking any medication or nutritional, herbal or homeopathic supplement, or using any treatment for a health problem. If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem, contact your health care provider promptly. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking professional advice because of something you have read in this article. 

References:

  1. Hayes J,Ph.DCH, Ahmed T. Providing unpaid household and care work in the United States: uncovering inequality. IWPR. 
  2. Newsom, Rob. The Link Between Sleep and Job Performance. Sleep Foundation. June, 24 2021. Accessed January 4, 2022. https://www.sleepfoundation.org/sleep-hygiene/good-sleep-and-job-performance 
  3. Calderwood, Imogen. How womencriticise themselves at least EIGHT times a day (and yes, wanting to lose weight is the number one topic). Daily Mail. January 4, 2016. Accessed January 4, 2022. https://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-3382984/Women-criticise-8-times-day-yes-wanting-lose-weight-number-one-topic.html 
  4. SaghirZ, Syeda JN, Muhammad AS, Balla Abdalla TH. The Amygdala, Sleep Debt, Sleep Deprivation, and the Emotion of Anger: A Possible Connection?. Cureus. 2018;10(7):e2912. Published 2018 Jul 2. doi:10.7759/cureus.2912 
  5. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, 2nd edition. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; 2018.
  6. Radavelli-BagatiniS, Blekkenhorst LC, Sim M, et al. Fruit and vegetable intake is inversely associated with perceived stress across the adult lifespan. Clinical Nutrition. 2021;40(5):2860-2867. 
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