Burnout is extremely common among working professionals. According to the American Psychological Association, 40% of workers in the U.S. reported feeling burned out in 2013, and that number may have increased since then. Since burnout has such a negative impact on both your mental and physical health, it’s crucial to take steps to prevent and overcome it before it becomes too overwhelming. For this reason, we’ve provided simple steps on how to overcome burnout at work and leave you feeling energized, happy, and healthy again!
How to Overcome Burnout At Work
1. Take breaks
No one can maintain peak performance for eight hours straight, so take regular breaks. It’s easy to convince yourself that one more hour will make all of the difference, but it usually doesn’t. Instead, schedule an hour of work and follow up with a 15-minute break.
For even better results, do your most intense work during your first two hours and then schedule lighter tasks for later in your day. Research shows that our brains perform their best when we spread out mental heavy lifting over time—giving our concentration time to regenerate after focusing on a problem. Here are some tips for taking short breaks at work. See, Dangers Of Sitting All Day Long.
One of the best ways to do that is to connect face-to-face with someone else: It might be tempting to stay glued to your computer screen, especially if you have loads of assignments or endless emails demanding immediate responses.
However, staying focused is easier if you take scheduled breaks from looking at screens and connect with other people face-to-face instead. Taking five minutes away from your desk (or computer) several times a day to chat with coworkers or customers is ideal. See, How To Have More Energy During The Day?
2. Have fun outside of work
Whether you choose to volunteer or spend time with friends and family, taking time outside of work will help you refocus. You don’t need anything fancy, just take a walk in your local park or get dinner with friends every week. Getting outside of your normal routine will help you recharge and return to work ready to take on new challenges. See Benefits Of Nature.
3. Establish boundaries
If you feel like your workload is getting out of control, sit down and establish boundaries for yourself. You should always be working toward your ultimate goals, but it’s important to give yourself breaks. If you push yourself too hard without a break, burnout is inevitable. Consider these three tips for establishing boundaries between your work life and personal life.
- Avoid social media while on the clock. Social media can be a big drain on our time; if you find yourself spending too much time scrolling through Facebook or Twitter, consider turning off your connection while you’re working so that your attention remains focused on what needs to get done.
- Know when to stop working. Just because there are endless hours in each day doesn’t mean we have endless energy reserves; don’t burn out by pushing past exhaustion time after time. Instead, figure out exactly how long you need to spend on something before you can declare victory and move on to something else.
4. Don’t put yourself down
There’s nothing worse than your own negative self-talk, so don’t do it. Stop telling yourself that you can’t accomplish something. Start making a list of all of your accomplishments and remind yourself what you can do.
Putting yourself down is one way of worsening your burnout, but if you don’t believe in yourself, no one else will either. Start believing in yourself and your ability to handle work stress, and suddenly it will seem as though everything falls into place. See How To Stop Overthinking?
5. Get enough sleep
Sleep is one of the simplest and most powerful ways to overcome burnout. In fact, it’s a crucial part of staying healthy, both physically and mentally.
You may think it doesn’t matter how much sleep you get, but research shows that if you’re getting less than 7 hours of sleep per night, your risk for stroke rises by up to 4%, and if you’re getting less than 6 hours per night your risk for diabetes rises by up to 15%.
Lack of sleep may also affect your mental abilities. Make sure you are getting enough sleep every night so that you can stay sharp and focused during those long workdays. See, How To Sleep Better?
6. Analyze what makes you happy
A common misconception about being burned out is that you feel apathetic, worthless, and uninterested in your work. It’s important to realize that burnout isn’t a state of mind or an emotional reaction; instead, it results from feeling tired and stressed because you spend too much time doing activities with little long-term benefit. One way to combat these feelings is by analyzing what makes you happy.
If you have trouble understanding why certain tasks (or whole aspects of your job) make you unhappy, ask yourself: What do I like most about my day? What do I like least? When am I most effective at work? What kind of people do I enjoy spending time with? By paying close attention to those things when you aren’t working, you can identify ways to incorporate them into your daily routines—making your work-life more enjoyable. Tips For Better Mental Health.
7. Improve your health
The first step to overcoming burnout is being more mindful of your health, both mental and physical. Make sure you exercise regularly, get enough sleep, and eat healthy foods. There are many changes you can make in these areas that will help you recharge and leave burnout behind. Not all of them are easy (or fun!), but they’ll be worth it. Here are some tips:
One great way to recharge your batteries is by connecting with nature. Set aside time each week for a walk or hike around your neighborhood, go on a short trip outside town, or take up gardening as a hobby. All three activities have been shown to improve happiness and lower stress levels—important for fighting off work-related fatigue and depression. See, Daily Habits To Help You Live, Healthy, and Happy.
8. Keep learning, growing, and improving yourself
Finding a mentor, reading about your industry and market, and keeping up with news in your business field are all great ways to stay motivated. If you stagnate or stop learning new things or don’t see continual improvement in your skills, you may be prone to burnout.
9. Don’t let others bring you down
Your mood can be contagious, especially when working in a team environment. Whether it’s positive or negative, your attitude will rub off on others, which is why you should always try to keep it up. Even if your boss doesn’t like what you have to say (which happens more often than not), ensure that your positivity and enthusiasm shine through.
10. Celebrate small wins
When you feel burnt out, it’s tempting to focus on everything that remains to be done. To counter that mindset, however, celebrate your wins by acknowledging how far you’ve come.
Keep a Wins Board or journal where you write down what you have achieved and how much progress you’ve made each day. Seeing your wins will remind you of all your hard work, and it might even encourage you that there are many more days of hard work ahead.
What are the Common Signs of Burnout
Here’s the thing about burnout: It’s scary, it’s exhausting, and it often manifests as work-related stress. But if you don’t catch it in time and address the issue, burnout can cause you to make mistakes at work or miss deadlines entirely. The good news? If you can recognize what burnout looks like and incorporate the above tips, you may start experiencing changes in no time.
Here are the common symptoms of burnout
You don’t enjoy your job
If you find yourself dreading going to work, or if you’re constantly counting down the hours until the weekend, it’s a sign that you’re no longer enjoying your job. This is a huge red flag, and it’s important to take steps to rectify the situation before it leads to full-blown burnout.
You have frequent headaches
Having headaches more often than usual can signal that you’re headed for burnout. It’s important to pay attention to your body’s signals and take some time for yourself if you start noticing these kinds of changes.
You’ve lost interest in activities you used to love
When you’re burned out, even things you normally enjoy can start to feel like a chore. If you find yourself dreading activities that used to bring you joy, it may be a sign that you’re headed for burnout.
Exercise doesn’t relieve your stress anymore
When exercise stops being a form of relief and starts feeling like another source of stress, it’s a sign that you’re headed for burnout. If this is the case, try mixing up your routine or taking a break from working out altogether. And make sure to schedule in some relaxation time – even if it’s just a few minutes each day.
Your mood is constantly low
Feeling low is one of the most common signs of burnout. When you’re burnt out, you may not have the energy to care about things that once made you happy. You may also feel stuck in a rut and can’t see a way out. If your mood is constantly low, it’s time to take a step back and assess how you’re really feeling.
You’re tired all the time, even if you sleep enough
Feeling tired all the time is one of the most common signs of burnout. If you’re getting enough sleep but still feel exhausted, it’s time to take a closer look at your work-life balance. Are you working too much? Not taking enough breaks? Not doing anything outside of work that brings you joy? These are all things that can lead to burnout.
Alcohol makes your problems worse
Alcohol might seem like a quick fix for your stress, anxiety, or depression, but it will only make these problems worse. Not only is alcohol a depressant, but it can also lead to impaired judgment, decision-making, and motor skills. If you’re struggling with mental health issues, alcohol is not the answer.
You find yourself procrastinating more than usual
We all have days when we just don’t feel like getting work done. But if you find yourself putting off tasks more and more often, it could be a sign that you’re experiencing burnout. This is because when burned out, you can’t muster up the energy to care about anything, let alone things you don’t enjoy. If you find yourself in this situation, try to take a step back and assess why you’re feeling this way. Is there something about your job that’s causing you stress?
Only bad news makes your day better
Good news just doesn’t cut it anymore. In fact, hearing any news – whether it’s good or bad – makes you feel anxious and on edge. You’re just waiting for the other shoe to drop. And when it does, you feel a sense of relief, even if the news is bad. This is a sign that you’re heading for burnout.
Burnout is all too common in the modern workplace. Many employees suffer from it at some point in their careers, and while it can’t be completely avoided, there are ways to help avoid or overcome it.
By following these 10 tips to overcome burnout at work, you can keep your job from negatively affecting your health and performance so that you can feel energized and motivated at work instead of exhausted and miserable.
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