The Path to Better Work Life Balance: A Recap of the CLP’s Personal Development Workshop on Effectively Preventing Burnout

CLP’s 4th Personal Development Workshop Session on Stress Management

The UBC Asian Studies Program hosted its 4th interactive workshop on personal development focused on prioritizing self-care and boundaries to prevent burnout, as well as exploring practical tips and insights to achieve harmony between professional commitments and personal lives. In today’s hyper-connected world, the line between work and personal life can often blur, leading to increased stress and an increased risk of burnout. It’s essential to recognize the importance of maintaining a healthy work-life balance to safeguard our well-being and productivity.


Understanding Burnout – Erica Altomare

Erica Altomare – Guest Speaker

The guest speaker of the workshop, Erica Altomare, facilitated the interactive session and invited the attendees of the UBC Asian Studies Program to participate in:

  • Engaging discussions about the causes of burnout
  • Understanding symptoms of stress
  • How to effectively reduce your stress and prevent burnout
  • And to achieve the healthiest work-life balance possible

Opening the compelling workshop, Erica emphasized the importance of being aware and looking at burnout on not just an individual level, but on a collective, and systemic level as well. What this helps us understand is that burnout is not solely a personal issue, but often arises due to systemic factors within workplaces, such as excessive workload, poor management practices, and a lack of resources or support. In addition to this, viewing burnout from a collective standpoint fosters a culture of support and understanding within the workplace. When burnout is acknowledged and addressed collectively, it reduces the stigma associated with mental health struggles and encourages open communication.

Erica highlights that this collective approach enables individuals to feel more comfortable seeking help and support, ultimately mitigating the negative effects of burnout.


 What is Burnout, and How Can We Mitigate Stress Levels Getting to the Tipping Point?

Simply put, Erica defines burnout as: “the result of chronic workplace stress, where we can feel negativity, lack of motivation, inefficiency, self-doubt, inability to focus, and physical headaches.

Now the first step to stress management and preventing burnout is identifying how we are feeling by taking a moment to reflect and observe ourselves. Being able to identify how were feeling in the moment is what allows us to emotionally regulate, and helps on a physiological level, as it helps reduce our cortisol levels in our bodies.

The next step is to strengthen our support networks to be able to discuss how we are feeling and check in not only with ourselves, but with our community as well.

Reflect and Observe + Strengthen Support Networks = Stress Mitigation


The Importance of Setting Boundaries

Erica illustrates the importance of setting boundaries

The workshop emphasized the focus to understanding boundaries. Setting boundaries is essential for stress management because it promotes many key factors:

  • Work-life balance
  • Prioritizes self-care
  • Enhances communication
  • Empowers individuals to take control of their lives and well-being

Building boundaries is essentially building the confidence to say no, or to reject a task. In order to create boundaries, Erica shared with the audience her method of how she would typically say no to reject a task:

“Thank you so much for the offer and thinking of me to complete this task, unfortunately I have too much on my plate at the moment and am unable to make the time to help.”

Erica also mentioned that she keeps her wordings in her notes and in her email drafts, making it very handy in times that she needs to set those boundaries.

By setting boundaries, this promotes effective communication and assertiveness. This way, by delineating specific times for work and leisure, individuals can maintain a healthier balance and reduce the risk of burnout. By setting limits on the amount of time and energy they dedicate to work or other commitments, individuals can prevent overextension and exhaustion, allowing them to recharge and replenish their resources.


Summary Recap of Stress-Relieving Strategies

Some of Erica’s key stress-relieving strategies included:

  • Identifying clear expectations and priorities
  • Taking deep breaths
  • Getting active
  • Meditating
  • Connecting with others/ strengthening your support network
  • Being creative
  • Getting enough sleep
  • Keeping a journal

The floor was then open to participants having a chance to share their personal strategies to relieve stress and achieve a healthy work-life balance.


Workshop Audience Engagement

Throughout the workshop, attendees engaged in discussions about their personal experiences that have helped them mitigate stress in their lives. The discussions were taken place via unmuting, using the chat box, and participating in breakout rooms.

The attendees contributed their insightful methods on how their resting techniques, such as deep breathing and meditation, both aimed to calm the mind and body. The audience also mentioned that time management skills help prioritize tasks and reduce feelings of being overwhelmed and stressed.

Attendees engaged in discussion about stress symptoms using the chat box, by speaking, and participating in breakout rooms

Other attendees mentioned that their favourite ways to relieve stress is by getting into an artistic, creative space through art; such as calligraphy, or music, and journaling, in order to translate their thoughts into words on paper.

By incorporating a combination of these strategies, people can develop a comprehensive approach to stress management that suits their unique needs and circumstances.

From the audience, Lu Xingqin shared with us some of her thoughts and reflections about the workshop, and shared her insights about what worked for her:

“The definition of burnout helps me self-check my daily mental condition, the first step of solving problem is always identifying the problem. And the second part of the workshop actually gives some practical tips to prevent burnout. Finally, I did not expect that I will like the breakout room discussion part, but it actually worked really well. From the discussion, I knew that many people also have similar stress as I do, it just let me feel better.”

What did you like about the workshop?

“All the concepts are useful, and discussions in the chat box or breakout rooms are relaxing. While the workshop was coming to a final end, we identified the key takeaway from this workshop: “I know that we shouldn’t be guilty of taking rest properly, not just preventing us from burnout, but also improving our productivity”. 

This interactive workshop allowed participants to dive into a dynamic exploration of stress management strategies, igniting lively discussions and fostering valuable insights. Through this interactive workshop, and expert-led discussions, and engaging activities, attendees had the opportunity to better understand and share various techniques for mitigating stress and enhancing well-being.

What truly made the event remarkable was the active participation of the audience, who eagerly shared personal experiences, exchanged practical advice, and offered support to one another. As individuals shared their struggles and triumphs, a sense of camaraderie and empowerment permeated the atmosphere, creating a safe and supportive space for growth and learning.

By embracing a collaborative approach to stress management, attendees left the event equipped with newfound strategies to mitigate stress and burnout. Finally, we extend our gratitude to our guest speaker, Erica, and to everyone who participated in making this workshop engaging, informative, and practical. If you enjoyed this session and would like to stay tuned to attend future sessions, follow @UBCchinese for more!


Written by Isidora Bašanović