How to Beat Work Burnout
Many employees these days feel overworked and work burnout on the job is a common experience for many people. In the United States especially, you now have the ability to stay connected at any time. You can now access emails at any time because smartphones allow you to access the internet and work literally 24/7. This can easily lead to burnout, which can not only cause depression but physical health issues as well.
Sometimes working on certain projects at work can really take it all out of you. This is especially true if you work long hours during your workday. By constantly working even when you’re not at work, like brainstorming about a new idea for a project while you’re making breakfast and thinking about that pitch that you have for next week while you’re getting ready for bed, your focus, creativity and problem-solving abilities are being put to the test for hours, days and even weeks. This only leads to negative thoughts and of course, can bring on a feeling a being burnt out.
[Check out these tips for increasing work productivity]
We all need breaks, but unfortunately, you don’t always get one when you’re needing one most. Are you feeling just a little frustrated, or are you facing major burnout with your job? So what exactly can you do to avoid these feelings? Here are a few tips that might help you out:
A short vacation or a simple day of being lazy won’t magically make the feeling of burnout go away. You have to pace yourself. Be sure to turn off your phone, or silence it at night or once you get home from work. Resist the urge to check emails or your phone after hours. New York Times reporter Alina Tugend says that “stress is to burnout as feeling a little blue is to clinical depression—a much more serious and long-term problem that doesn’t get the attention it should but can affect all aspects of our lives and workplace.”
Switch Your Routine Up Frequently
If you’re doing the same thing day in and day out, it’s easy to feel burnt out. Doing the same thing every day is not only monotonous but can feel quite tedious as well. Don’t be afraid to ask for a change with your responsibilities. Ask to take on a new and different project, or a new level of responsibility so your daily routine changes.
Sleep Does Wonders
Try to go to sleep earlier or wake up later. A lack of sleep causes a ton of issues already on its own and it especially doesn’t help when you’re feeling burnt out with your job. You can help your nighttime routine by leaving your cell phone or laptop far away from your bed. By having these items in bed with you, you’re going to feel the desire to keep working and breaks in working are major to feeling refreshed and rejuvenated not only in the mornings when you wake up but at your daily job as well. You may feel behind at work, but it’s much better to just get a little more sleep at night rather than working late on that project. You’ll be surprised how much more effective and productive you will feel and be the next day and you won’t feel many if any symptoms of work burnout.
Keep a Positive Attitude
You’ll be surprised just how much more productive you can be if you’re not feeling cynical and in a good mood. When you’re feeling work burnout, it’s easy to become frustrated, especially when you’re feeling overloaded with deadlines and responsibilities. Try to do your best to change your mindset. You can work with a life coach or find a mentor to help you learn to appreciate what you do have. Learn what your particular stressors are and do your best to stay away from them. When you feel like you don’t have control, it’s easy to fall into a negative cycle, so find an action that you do have control over and use that to improve your attitude situation.
Take Frequent Breaks
When you feel behind on a project at work, it is extremely tempting to stay at your desk and work through lunch or stay late at work to get everything done. Deadlines still exist and they have to be completed on time, but you can be completed even with taking breaks. You don’t have to spend an hour away from working to get a break. Try taking just 10 minutes every hour of your work day to just relax, eat something, or take a walk to get a change of scenery. You’ll come back feeling more refreshed and more productive once you get back to your desk. Even better, if you have any sort of degree of flexibility in your hours, be sure to take advantage of it. See if you can work from home just once a few, or perhaps a coffee shop. You could even negotiate coming in an hour later, or an hour earlier maybe a few days a week to switch up your day, or to make time to perhaps attend a yoga class to relax you before or after work. This is a major way to help to avoid work burnout.
Contextualize What You’re Doing
When you feel work burnout, every part of the day can feel like it’s dragging on and feel unbearable, but don’t forget that there are (hopefully) things you do actually enjoy about your jobs and the company you work for. Make sure you allot some of your time to focus on your most favorite parts of your job. Positivity does wonders. Allow yourself to have an “it’s all worth it” feeling at least once a day. Now sometimes, you may be working on a project that you despise and are not loving one bit. Just take a step back and think about how you’re contributing to your company as a whole. Don’t forget to think about the broader impact of the project you’re doing and your company mission. It will help you realize that it’s a great reason to keep going, no matter how hard it may seem sometimes.
Reward and Treat Yourself
When you do finally get a day off or take some vacation time, think about the many different ways that you can reward yourself for your hard work and everything that you’ve accomplished thus far. Treat yourself to something on your way home or go shopping for a new outfit. Rewarding yourself releases dopamine, the feel-good chemical in your brain. This creates a positive feeling that will show itself once you go back to work and to help avoid the feeling of work burnout.
Reach Out to Others
Sometimes when you feel overwhelmed, just simply talking to someone else about it can help immensely. Call someone during your lunch break or on your way home and don’t be afraid to vent. Just by getting your feelings out in the open, it can make you feel as if a massive weight has been lifted off of your shoulders.
Or even try the opposite. Still call someone, but talk about literally anything that isn’t work-related. Your job, of course, is your focus during the day, but once it’s done, get your mind off of. You can do this by distracting yourself and hearing about someone else’s day or perhaps making plans to give yourself something to look forward to. Anything that gets your mind off work is the goal.
Recognize the Symptoms of Burnout
By recognizing the symptoms of a work burnout feeling coming, you can avoid it, by doing the tips listed above. Symptoms include: feeling overwhelmed, exhaustion, a sense of hopelessness, frustration, feeling cynical and a sense of failure and not being effective.