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3 coping mechanisms to douse burnout

12/15/2021

You can fight back against burnout.

Of all the professionals who are justified in feeling burnout, truck drivers may top the list. Given the ongoing driver shortage, supply chain turmoil, growth in retirements, "The Great Resignation" saga and massive backups at the nation's busiest coastal shipping ports, truckers are burning the proverbial candle at both ends.

The best form of relief to severe burnout is a well-deserved vacation, but in light of the circumstances facing the industry — not to mention the national economy — an extended holiday may not be possible.

But you don't have to grin and bear it when you adopt the right mindset and coping strategies. Here are a few helpful solutions to battle burnout.

1. Go to bed earlier than you do now
How many hours of quality sleep are you getting every night? According to the National Sleep Foundation, the sweet spot for sleep is between seven and nine hours per night. But if you're not getting enough quality sleep — i.e. deep sleep — that sweet spot may leave a sour taste. That's because deep sleep is the kind that is truly restorative to the mind and body. Between 13% and 23% of sleep should be the deep kind, according to the National Sleep Foundation.

Classic indications you're not getting enough include feeling lethargic — a symptom of burnout — cravings for calorie-rich foods, and an inability to concentrate.

By going to bed earlier, you give your body more time to enter deep sleep mode. To induce REM, The National Sleep Foundation recommends exercising regularly, reducing caffeine intake and establishing a routine.

2.  Exercise more
Everyone knows that exercise is incredibly important to their physical and mental health. But it can also be an excellent source of soothing for burnout. According to several studies cited by Psychology Today, cardiovascular exercise has been shown to "significantly reduce" burnout symptoms inside of four weeks.

"Exercise has potential to be an effective burnout intervention," concluded the authors of one study, which was published by the National Institutes of Health and National Library of Medicine. "Different types of exercise may assist employees in different ways. Organizations wishing to proactively reduce burnout can do so by encouraging their employees to access regular exercise programs."

3. Sail away in your mind
The imagination is an amazing tool; our thoughts can metaphorically take us to places that we'd love to visit or return to. Therapists say that going on a mental vacation can be very effective in minimizing burnout. Speaking to VICE, Carly Bassett, a licensed clinical social worker based in Texas, said what worked wonders for her during a stressful time in her career was imagining herself devouring gelato somewhere in the country of Italy. She noted that these mental excursions really helped her to relax and put things into perspective.

Other coping mechanisms for burnout include countering negative thoughts with positive ones or words and planning fun activities so you always have something to look forward to.

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