Burnout can hit us hard, especially when we don’t recognize the blaring signals our bodies send us. When we miss the signs of burnout, it can sneak up and take over—fast. This can lead to complete emotional or physical exhaustion, increased procrastination as well as less motivation and productivity. This phenomenon is linked to job occupations, but it can disrupt both your personal and professional life. However, there are ways to combat and bounce back from burnout.
What Exactly Is Burnout?
Burnout happens when work-related stress and anxiety are not managed, therefore, it turns into chronic physical or mental exhaustion (WHO).
Are you feeling…
- Energy depletion and exhaustion?
- Increased negative feelings towards your career/mental distance from your job?
- Reduced professional productivity?
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), these are all massive signs of burnout. Bouncing back from burnout is not an easy task when you’re dedicated to your job or feel as though you must always be “on”. But these steps are a necessary part of the burnout recovery process, so get ready for loads of you time.
1. Taking A Break
First and foremost, get out of the office. Take time for whatever de-stresses you and makes you happy. Schedule plans to socialize with friends and family, read that book you’ve been meaning to, meditate, and… laugh. Laughter is a great remedy. If you need a few more recommendations, try:
Shut off your phone, tablet, laptop—whatever you’re glued to—for a while. By forcing this shutdown, you’re controlling when your workday ends.
Watch old comedies that make you giggle—TV shows or movies. Did you know that rewatching the same shows/movies can be good for your mental health? According to a study published by the University of Chicago, there’s a key reason why so many of us find comfort in rewatching them. Not only is there a hint of nostalgia and enjoyment, but exposing our minds to the same content over and over makes it easier to process what’s happening. Also, it requires almost no mental effort to enjoy it.
Release your emotions by writing them down. Take up journaling, poetry, lists, or even novels to unburden yourself. By providing this outlet, you may be able to pinpoint where the core part of your stress or anxiety truly lies. Then you can work to correct it.
Get Up and Move
Dance around your house like nobody’s watching. Go for a ten-minute walk. Hit the gym. Try a yoga class. There are several things you can try daily to combat work-related burnout. On a scientific level, exercise reduces the body’s level of stress hormones and stimulates the production of endorphins—considered to be your body’s mood elevators.
And if it’s difficult to make time for breaks, schedule downtime into your calendar.
2. Focus On You
Consider your current lifestyle. Do you drink a lot of caffeine or alcohol? Fast food? When was the last time you made a proper meal for yourself or exercised?
Exercise and a healthy diet focus on what your body needs to function at its peak. This means you will feel better, be in a more positive mood, and improve memory. It’s easy to grab fast food on your way home, but taking the time to properly prep a meal fuels your body with nutrients. Unfortunately, it’s common to forego eating healthy in favour of completing the next deadline.
In a work environment, it seems easy and natural to set aside our health to make time for clients, deadlines, projects, presentations, sales, etc. But keep in mind that your health is the best thing you could do for yourself and the business (Inc). Basically, when you’re feeling your best, you’re likely to be performing your best too.
Your mental and physical wellbeing is important, so don’t make fitness and health feel like another chore. This should be fun—a way to get away from your stress for a brief time. Make them part of your monthly or weekly routine, so you don’t forget to include that well-needed (and deserved!) stress reliever.
3. Outsource Where You Can
Ask for help. Sometimes we say yes to things we have no time for or we pile our workload higher than we can get through. Therefore, reach out to people who can help you through this mess.
How can you do this?
For starters, make a list of everything that needs to be done in order of priority. Can anyone on your team tackle these items? If so, ask them if they’re willing to work with you on them. Connect with coworkers to see who can pick up your slack or have a chat with your boss for a deadline extension to complete the tasks well. When you’re not stressed by deadlines, you may rediscover your inspiration for the job.
Also, it doesn’t hurt to reach out to friends and family. If you’re having difficulty, find someone who can simply listen to your work-related stress and anxiety. Sometimes talking out the issue with a friend can help.
4. Ease Back Into Your Work
As burnout fades, you may be quick to jump back into old habits. However, these old habits are likely what brought on burnout in the first place. So, be careful. Change your thought patterns to something more positive than they used to be. Additionally, take things one step at a time and maintain a healthy balance between your work and your wellbeing. If this newfound energy and productivity envelopes you in your work life all over again, you may find yourself repeating this process more often than necessary.
Basically, take it slow. If you’re looking for more information on how to deal with work-related stress, consider these TED talks.
In The End…
You may not want to follow these steps because they interfere with your career goals, but burnout is already affecting those goals. So, work on your health to bounce back from that dreaded exhaustion, negative feelings, and/or reduced professional productivity brought on by burnout. You may discover that you have more energy and motivation to complete the tasks that used to be the most dreadful part of your day.
For more information, read Burnout Support and Prevention Resources: Are There Enough?