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As much as I promised myself I would not let the election stress me out, I blew it. After working out twice on election day I was still filled with nervous energy. So, I filled myself with hot wings and cold beer. It was a temporary fix and not one I recommend.

 But it’s not just the election, we are living in extremely stressful times. Add in the time change, cooler weather and oh boy do we have a recipe for burnout.

 A cnbc.com article on work stress and the pandemic included some interesting information. For one, the definition of burnout has been updated by the World Health Organization. It is now defined as “a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.” The article adds that “It is characterized by three symptoms: feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion; increased mental distance from one’s job or negative feelings toward one’s career; and reduced professional efficacy.”

 Even if you’ve never experienced burnout before, COVID-19 may have changed that. The article quotes Dr. Patrick Porter, founder of Brain Tap Technologies on how the pandemic has effected many workers. Porter said, “Increased stress and anxiety surrounding COVID-19 has understandably caused work productivity to plummet because your emotional state is directly connected to your ability to focus.”

 From the article, “Porter says stress, anxiety and fear elevate cortisol levels in the brain, which interfere with memory, making it impossible to concentrate on your work. Not only is this bad for employees — it is also bad for businesses, as the decrease in productivity significantly impacts a company’s bottom line.”

 So, if you care at all about your personal brand and the company you work for, you can’t allow burnout to get the better of you.

 The cnbc.com article has some tips to help:

• Exercise

• Get more sleep

• Unplug

• Give back

• Find moments of joy

 I fully agree with this list. In addition, here are a few things I’ve found that have helped me keep calm and work on.

 Drink water — A quick online search proves that the benefits of staying hydrated are massive. It’s one simple thing we can do that benefits both the inside and outside of our bodies. Hydration keeps muscles and joints working better and makes skin appear more supple and radiant, so even if you’re feeling blah inside, at least you’ll good on your next video call.

 Get outside — Speaking of water, if you live anywhere near it, go to it. Research has shown that being near water can lower stress and anxiety and increase an overall state of well-being and happiness.

 Focus on the positive — Years ago, I spent the month of November writing down something I was thankful for each day. If there was ever a time to bring back that tradition it’s 2020. I’ll start now, today I am thankful for you, my reader. If I didn’t have to a write a column this week, I wouldn’t have forced myself to think about what I’ve been doing to avoid burnout and in turn, remind myself to keep doing those things.

 What are you doing to avoid burnout? Email me at ecaswell@mihomepaper.com.

Emily Caswell is the brand manager for VIEW Group, the branding division of View Newspaper Group.

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