Burnout in the workplace can leave you feeling exhausted, stressed, and cynical about your career. While some people find that the only way to respond to this is to quit your job, there are a few things you can do to deal with burnout from work. Check them out below!
- Look after your health. By the time people reach burnout, they have usually neglected their physical health in some way. Maybe they’ve been working too much to exercise or stressing too much to fall asleep. A lot of people turn to unhealthy sources to deal with feelings of stress and fatigue, like drugs and alcohol. So the first thing you should do is address any health issues you have. Catch up on sleep and start exercising again. Make your health your top priority again.
- Make time for rest. You can’t deal with burnout by working more. This is your body’s way of telling you that you’ve had enough and need a break. So honor your body by making time for rest. Ideally, try to take some time off work, even if it’s a few mental health days only. But if you can’t take any time off, incorporate rest in your routine. Get rid of anything from your life that is non-essential and no longer serving you and clear your schedule as much as possible. Try to remove any stress that you can.
- Go on vacation. Sometimes, a vacation is the perfect remedy for burnout. While you might be craving an active vacation full of new sights and a busy itinerary, you might really need a relaxing type of vacation instead. The type of trip where you lounge by the pool is perfect for burnout. What’s important is you get away from the stress of your daily life and give yourself the chance to catch up on rest. A packed itinerary could be what you need to exercise your mind, but ensure that you have enough time to relax too. After all, one of the major causes of burnout is exhaustion.
- Confide in someone you trust. Burnout can feel overwhelming. Talking to someone you trust about how you’re feeling can really help you. They might even be able to offer helpful tips to guide you through it. But if not, just having someone there to listen can be life-changing. Having an ear to borrow will help you to stop feeling alone or like there’s something wrong with you.
- Work in a different environment. If you can’t take time off work, try working in a different environment. Thankfully, in a post-COVID world, work options tend to be much more flexible. Enquire with your boss about working from home. If you already work from home, switch it up a little. Try working at a library or another public space where you can concentrate. If you really can’t leave your work building, ask for a new office or rearrange your office to make it feel new.
- Set yourself achievable goals. Sometimes, a rush of motivation can help you through burnout. When you have something new to be excited about, it can help you to deal with feelings of exhaustion and stress. Try to set yourself small, achievable goals, either in your career or personal life. Avoid setting unobtainable goals or those that are seriously challenging—the last thing you need is more stress!
- Find healthy releases for stress. One of the components of burnout is a build-up of stress. So it’s super important to deal with that stress. Find healthy releases for it. A lot of people find that taking up a new hobby, particularly a creative or artistic one, can help them to deal with stress. New forms of exercise, such as yoga, Pilates, boxing, or running, are also great for stress management.
- Avoid coffee. Surprisingly, caffeine will not help your burnout in the long run. While it might seem like sipping coffee will help you get through those work days that feel impossible, caffeine can actually make burnout worse. Being a stimulant, caffeine does the opposite of relax your body. It can wind you up more which is particularly harmful if you’re already dealing with anxiety or not sleeping.
- Switch up your routine. A change in your daily routine can spice up your life and stop it from seeming like Groundhog Day. Giving your brain new things to notice and adjust to can give you a renewed sense of energy. Instead of driving to work, try taking the bus. Go to a different place to get coffee during the day. Plan fun things to do on the weekends. Exercise in the morning instead of at night. While this might not cure your burnout, a change in routine can help you to deal with it until you are able to take a much-needed break.
- Find different work tasks. If possible, try to find different work tasks. Ask your boss if there are other responsibilities you can take on while giving up some of the old ones. Again, this change in routine in the workplace can give you a rush of energy.
- Look for a new job. Ultimately, some people find that the only way to deal with burnout in the workplace is to find a new job. They might reach a place where they resent their work and are sick to death of it. And usually, there’s no going back from there. If you’ve taken a break, given it plenty of time, and still don’t feel like your burnout is any better, looking for a new job might be the best path to take.
What the experts say about burnout
- People in certain professions are more likely to experience burnout from work. Those who are emergency response workers such as firefighters, police, or paramedics are more likely to experience burnout, as well as people working in education, religion, and even corporate environments. At times, burnout from work can be related to compassion fatigue.
- Burnout from work happens for a variety of reasons. However, one of the most common is workplace stress that the individual is ill-equipped to handle. As per the World Health Organization: “Work-related stress is the response people may have when presented with work demands and pressures that are not matched to their knowledge and abilities and which challenge their ability to cope.” This is worse when the person feels like they aren’t supported by either their colleagues or their boss.
- Burnout from work is more common than ever before. The American Institute of Stress notes that “numerous studies show that job stress is far and away the major source of stress for American adults and that it has escalated progressively over the past few decades.” While the severity of that stress and whether or not it leads to actual burnout varies depending on the circumstance and individual, it’s becoming more prevalent than ever.
- It can have dire consequences for your health. Mental health issues are the most obvious symptom of burnout, but it doesn’t stop there. Experiencing burnout can affect the individual’s relationships with their family members or partner. Not only that, but it can also lead to increased rates of heart attack, hypertension, and other health concerns.
- Things aren’t going to get any better unless there’s a change. Microsoft’s 2021 Work Trend Index discovered that now that many businesses have a hybrid model that allows employees to work at home part-time, burnout is going to become more prevalent unless changes are made. They discovered that high productivity levels are masking an over-exhausted workforce and that Gen Z is particularly at risk as they move forward in their professional lives. Not only that, but many business leaders are out of touch and “need a wake-up call.”