Prevent burnout and improve wellness in 4 simple steps
Nobody was born knowing how to control their emotions. The highs and lows of emotional reactions can significantly affect well-being, and during difficult times, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed, tired and burnt out.
Psychologist, author and speaker Dr. Jody Carrington says the basis of emotional struggles is dysregulation, or not knowing how to stay calm in times of distress. And, in the middle of the global COVID-19 pandemic, she thinks it’s a significant challenge for a growing number of people.
These few simple tips may help prevent burnout and restore mental wellness.
“The fundamental ingredients in emotional dysregulation are uncertainty, fear and the thought that there’s no end in sight,” Carrington says. “With so much uncertainty around us, it’s expected that we’d see increasing rates of emotional exhaustion. Dysregulation is the heart of burnout.”
Top tips for emotional wellness
At a past FCC virtual event, Carrington shared four tips for improving emotional regulation and preventing burnout:
Humanity is wired for connection. Reconnect with loved ones and your purpose. Why are you running a farm business? Why are you raising your family in the location you’re in? Why are you on this planet? The reason why you do what you do matters.
Research suggests 45% of every 24-hours should be spent resting. While sleep is the biggest indicator of emotional regulation, rest time can also include doing your favourite or relaxing activities.
- Choose joy
Experiencing joy is a choice. Humans can experience multiple emotions at the same time, but one always takes precedence. So, if we spend all our time planning for the worst, the joy is overlooked. Laughter triggers remarkable changes in our bodies. When was the last time you belly-laughed with your family? When was the last time you danced in your kitchen?
- Practice gratitude
Gratitude is powerful, but it takes practice. Being grateful involves shifting the focus from the stresses in life to what’s going well. Think specifically of what brings gratitude today, even if it’s something small.
Also, self-reflect and consider why your family, farm and community are lucky to have you. What do you bring to the table that makes them better? These may be difficult questions to answer, but they are important.
Practical first steps
Carrington advises a first step of holding space for those currently experiencing or near burnout instead of trying to fix things right away. Breathe in. Drop your shoulders. Relax your jaw. Drop your tongue from the roof of your mouth.
If it’s a loved one approaching or experiencing burnout, her best advice is to lead by example.
“You can’t tell them how to regulate emotion - you have to show them. You become the answer - not necessarily in fixing what anyone else is going through but dropping those shoulders and showing them.”
In an immediate mental health crisis, call 9-1-1 or go to a hospital. For more information on the resources available for mental health on the farm, go to domore.ag.
Emotional struggles are frequently based in dysregulation or not knowing how to stay calm during distress. Experts say to improve emotional fitness, reconnect with friends and loved ones as much as possible, rest, be deliberate with emotions and practice gratitude.
Article by: Rebecca Hannam