Regulations designed to limit the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19 have altered the ways in which we live, work and interact with each other. According to Alton P. Hobbs Jr., many of these changes have resulted in increased long-term stress, often leading to burnout.

Alton P. Hobbs Jr. discusses the impact of the pandemic on psychological health

Regulations implemented to slow the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19, including advice to work from home and limit social contact, have resulted in drastic increases in stress — particularly among those new to remote work, states Alton P. Hobbs Jr. In addition, many people have spent the last year uncertain about the future and concerned about issues such as potential job loss. Others have struggled with working from home while helping children with remote schooling. Many businesses have had difficulties transitioning to online work, with employees suffering the consequences. According to Alton P. Hobbs Jr., long-term exposure to high levels of stress can have a negative impact on both mental and physical health. Increased irritability, difficulty sleeping and anxiety are just some of the consequences of long-term exposure to unrelenting stress — left unaddressed, this often leads to burnout.

Alton P. Hobbs Jr. suggests steps to prevent burnout

According to Alton P. Hobbs Jr., burnout prevention starts with stress reduction. The importance of self-care when it comes to psychological health cannot be overstated. Exercise is key — 30 minutes of aerobic exercise per day can help keep stress under control. Staying in contact with friends is another critical self-care activity. Walking with a buddy is a great way to get exercise and social contact at the same time. A healthy diet full of fresh fruits and vegetables also plays an important role in health maintenance, suggests Alton P. Hobbs Jr. Consider exploring new recipes and spending time cooking healthful meals to stay healthy. Hobbies also play a role in burnout prevention, states Alton P. Hobbs Jr. Try a new activity or re-discover an old hobby — creative endeavors also have an important role when it comes to increasing psychological well-being. Journaling and other forms of writing have also been shown to help. Those who notice an increase in stress-related symptoms, such as difficulty sleeping or increased irritability, should consider taking a break. Time to decompress, away from stressors, is critical to preventing burnout.