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November 14, 2012, last updated November 27, 2015
By L. Carr, Associate Editor and Featured Columnist

3. Exercise to Prevent Burnout

Workers who exercise and regularly take part in physical activities are
less likely to suffer from burnout, studies reveal. A 2012 report from
the Department of Medicine, Mayo Clinic, Rochester questioned over
7,000 US surgeons and found that those who participated in aerobic
exercise in line with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
recommendations had higher quality of life scores and were less likely
to experience burnout in their demanding profession.  (Read more
foods that help you recover from a workout.)

To prevent burnout make sure you set aside time for exercise – start
the exercise habit and keep it up, then you will be better equipped
mentally and physically to deal with work stress and demands. (Read
more about
how to reduce muscle soreness after a workout.)

Small Breaks Can Help Decrease Burnout

Many of us work in highly stressful jobs where we are exposed to
stress, ethical dilemmas and complex procedures. How can you prevent
burnout and remain positive and involved in your demanding work? A
2012 study from the Children's Hospital Los Angeles showed that an
off-site retreat for oncology nurses at the hospital allowed nurses to
relax, reflect and calm down. The retreat also taught nurses how to
cope with the stresses of their job, which was seen as highly valuable.

Mindfulness Decreases the Risk of Burnout

What is mindfulness? Mindfulness means being fully aware of your
body and mind. It means living in the present.  

Mindfulness can help prevent burnout, according to experts. A 2012
study by the University of Virginia School of Medicine, Charlottesville
showed that a course of mindfulness decreased burnout and improved
the wellbeing of healthcare providers.

In the study 93 physicians, nurses, social workers and psychologists
participated in a mindfulness-based stress reduction course meeting for
2.5 hours a week over eight weeks plus a seven-hour day retreat. The
healthcare workers were trained in mindfulness techniques such as the
body scan, walking and seated meditation, mindful movement
techniques and the application of mindfulness at work.

At the end of the eight weeks, the participants reported improvements
in burnout scores and in their mental wellbeing.

Spend Time With Your Family to Cope with Stress and Burnout

You are not powerless to prevent burnout. On the contrary, you can
put in place many different coping strategies to prevent burnout. One
key thing to do is to seek support. You may not feel like reaching out to
anyone once you suffer burnout but it is important to your recovery
not to isolate yourself. Turn to your family, friends and loved ones for

A 2012 study from researchers at the Hotel Dieu Hospital, Kingston,
Ontario showed that occupational therapists who spent time with
friends and family and kept a good work life balance were able to
better manage signs of burnout. However, it is important to set
boundaries when it comes to family commitments. If you are
overworked and facing pressures at home you need to say no to the
tasks and commitments that are not essential or which you do not want
to do.

Does Sick Leave Prevent Burnout?

Can you prevent a later bout of burnout with sick leave earlier in your
career? According to a 2012 study from the Research Institute, Modum
Bad, Norway among Norwegian doctors, sick leave can have a
preventative effect on emotional and physical burnout. Researchers
reported that the number of weeks of sick leave after a counseling
intervention for burnout had a positive effect on the levels of burnout
and physical exhaustion doctors felt three years later. If you feel
burnout looming, take time off. Use up your vacation or sick days and
get away from work for a while.

Multivitamins to Stop Burnout

Something as simple as a multivitamin and mineral supplement could
help you manage stress and prevent burnout, according to experts. A
2000 study from Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine, University of
Natal, Durban studied 300 people who took either a multivitamin and
mineral tablet or a placebo for 30 days. Those taking the multivitamins
were better able to cope with stressful circumstances and were less
anxious overall. The supplements that helped burnout included vitamin
B1, B2, B6 and B12, vitamin C, calcium and magnesium.

Try Yoga Classes to Manage Stress and Burnout

Many people report that yoga helps them deal with stressful situations
and gives them more tools to cope with work burnout. A 2012 study
from St. Elizabeth's Medical Center, Brighton involving 1,794 people
found yoga decreased stress and anxiety. Beginning your day with 15
minutes of yoga or meditation can make a difference to your outlook
throughout the day. Rather than forcing yourself out of bed and
straight to work, connect with your body and mind and do something
that inspires you.

Does Your Personality Affect Your Risk of Burnout?

Many experts say that your personality puts you at greater or lesser
risk of burnout in your career. For example, a 2012 study from the
Universidade Lusófona de Humanidades e Tecnologias, Lisbon, Portugal
looked at 404 teachers and demonstrated that people with higher levels
of neuroticism were more affected with burnout. Teachers who applied
coping strategies based on the problem, and not on emotion,
experienced burnout less often while teachers who were more
extrovert suffered less from burnout.

You can’t always change your personality but you can recognize how
you cope with stress and consider ways in which you can help yourself
towards a more positive attitude at work.

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Burnout is more than just having a bad day
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