Let’s face it- if you’re an artist, a hard worker, professional, all, or none of those, you’ve experienced stress in your life. Chances are you weren’t prepared for the ultimate stressor and challenge in everyone’s lives- coronavirus. But that’s okay because you kept your distance, you quarantined, washed your hands, and wore your mask. But why are you still so stressed and overwhelmed?

Thank burnout- according to the HelpGuide, burnout is “a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. It occurs when you feel overwhelmed, emotionally drained, and unable to meet constant demands.” If you haven’t felt this before, consider yourself lucky- if you’re feeling it now, for the first time, or have felt this for a long time, don’t worry because there are ways to reduce burnout and prevent it in the first place.

Here’s a list of five different ways you can help to prevent burnout so you can cope and live a better life.

1. Learn How to Manage Your Stress

Stress is a normal and healthy part of life. Everyone experiences it, but when it comes at a detriment to you and your health, that’s when you need to find coping mechanisms to help handle and manage your stress. There are a wide variety of coping mechanisms, from breathing exercises to gardening, or even journaling; it’s best to try a couple out and see what works for you. Take some time out of your daily routine to use your newly found coping skills and start or finish your day with more peace than you had previously.

2. Exercise

If you’re like me, then this is the last way you’ll want to try and prevent burnout, but it genuinely will help. Exercise is good for the body and mind alike, and many people use it to relieve stress and relax. It doesn’t have to be a hardcore workout either- you can do yoga, pilates, or if you’re feeling a little feisty, you can do HIIT workouts as well. Whatever you find interesting, whether that involves weights and yoga mats or even just a walk around the lake. Your brain and body will thank you for it later.

3. Set Aside A “Tech-Free” Time

If you have a smartphone, chances are you have social media, and better yet, you’ve seen the news, and it isn’t pretty. It’s so easy to get engulfed by social media, especially when it comes to current events, but it’s important to give yourself time to breathe, time to think, and time to enjoy yourself, away from your phone. Try starting small, give yourself 5-10 minutes away from your phone and do something else: read a book, draw, paint, whatever you find relaxing. Try upping the amount of time for yourself every day; it doesn’t have to go on for hours, but if you can set aside at least thirty minutes to an hour every day for yourself, away from social media, away from the news, your stress will be reduced tenfold.

4. Don’t Be Afraid to Say No

While it can be tempting to take on every possible task you can, it’s just not humanly possible to do it all. We all want to please everyone by saying yes to every minuscule task, but it’s important to know your limits and not stretch yourself too thin. If you can’t make that tight deadline, then just say so. People will be more appreciative that you were honest than they would be if you sent in poor work. Try to set yourself up for more quality work, rather than quantity. Just because you can work on ten projects at once, doesn’t mean you should. Learn your limits, and make sure others know too so you can do your best work and avoid any unnecessary stress.

5. Sleep!

I saved the best way to prevent burnout for last- sweet, glorious slumber. It’s so important to get a full night of sleep, yet it’s easily one of the most commonly neglected human necessities. While doctors often say you need at least eight hours of sleep, everyone is different- try to find the right amount of sleep for you, and stick to it like glue.

Set a sleeping schedule that you can loyally follow, and do your best not to miss it. Avoid spending all-nighters working, because your work isn’t going to get better overnight. Put the pencil/mouse/etc down and get some rest. It’ll still be there in the morning for you to work on, and having a fresh set of eyes will make all the difference in your performance and quality.