Ranking the top mental health first aid tactics for when you’re feeling burnt out at work

Regardless of where you come from, it’s possible to get burnt out at work. Even the most resilient people can end up with burnout symptoms, characterized by feeling unable to rest properly, irritable, and lethargic – that’s when you know you need mental health first aid to tackle the problem. This can be especially prevalent for workers in creative industries, where your brain is the primary source of work output.

If you’re feeling burnt out and wondering how to get back on track, keep reading. We’ve ranked the top mental health first aid tips to help you feel better and keep moving.

5 – Get active

physical activity reduces anxiety

One of the best forms of mental health first aid is physical activity. Not only does physical activity release endorphins (good bodily chemicals that make you feel great), it can also help boost self esteem as your body becomes more fit. 

Stefan Kollenberg, co-founder of tech company Crescendo, said going in the morning before work is a great way to start the day. He added that he started working out as a way to overcome feeling sluggish and rushed in the mornings, which was hitting his confidence levels – and it worked for him. 

4 – Unplug

mental health first aid tip: unplug

When it comes to mental health first aid, one of the easiest things you can do is to unplug. MSc candidate Dia Rahman, whose research focuses on wearable technologies and the related impact on health, said simple things like muting notifications from work apps and deleting work related apps on long weekends, vacations, or when she’s had a stressful week really helped her. 

Rahman said that doing academic research and working at a tech startup (at the same time) nearly burnt her out, but these tips kept her going. 

3 – Take a vacation

vacations help you recharge

Knowing how to rest well is about more than Netflix bingeing. It’s acting with purpose and treating rest time as a necessary part of your day (not just the thing you do when you can’t do anything else). 

Roy Periera, founder of AI startup Zoom.ai, combats this by encouraging his team to take vacation. The company even uses Vacation Fund as an employee perk to show they are serious about their employees resting well. Vacationing doesn’t necessarily mean going somewhere exotic and spending money – it could be as simple as a long weekend with no work apps and going to the local museum. 

2 – Try online therapy

mental health first aid tip: web therapy

In many cities, going to a therapist has a stigma attached to it. People feel uncomfortable waiting in long lines and sitting in waiting rooms. Web therapy can fix all that. It’s the same concept as therapy, but you do it in the comfort of your own home via a webcam. 

Anastasia Valentine, the CEO of Startup Canada, found that asking for help is a big challenge facing creative people. Web therapy reduced the pressure to “ask for help” since it was more convenient, required less time, and could be done at home. Bonus: web therapy can often be cheaper than traditional therapy.  

1 – Find your way to process feelings

mental health first aid tip: paint, dance, sing, or more

Sometimes, “traditional” things don’t work for you and you’re still feeling stressed. In times like these, dig into what you really love and find a creative outlet to help you process emotions. 

Cherry Rose Tan, CEO of For Founders By Founders, researches what makes high performers burn out. She found one of the best mental health first aid tips is to process emotions however you can. That means you could dance (alone, in a group, or at a club), sing, write, paint … anything that resonates with you and helps you feel like the emotions are flowing through and out of you. If you try one of these things and you get no feeling, try something else.

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