By Makenzie Crutcher on February 18, 2022 in Life Hacks
The past few years were anything but normal. We’ve shifted how and where we work, the ways we interact with our friends and family, and so much more. While this stress can take a toll on mental health and lead you to fatigue, let’s vow to not let burnout bring us down this year.
What is Burnout?
According to WebMD, “Burnout is a form of exhaustion caused by constantly feeling swamped. It’s a result of excessive and prolonged emotional, physical, and mental stress.” While not a condition that’s medically diagnosable, burnout is definitely on the rise – especially in women. Be careful not to confuse burnout with stress. Stress is associated with a certain task or goal, and burnout is an extended period of stress that can leave you feeling apathetic and distracted.
Although burnout is commonly associated with unmanageable workloads, unclear tasks, extensive pressure, and other work-related causes, if left unacknowledged it can lead to problems with your home and social life, as well as an increased chance of illnesses like colds and the flu.
It’s not just a one-size-fits-all situation, though. There are three kinds of burnout:
- Under-Challenged Burnout – Feeling bored or underappreciated? Under-challenged burnout results in cynicism and avoidance of responsibility stemming from no growth opportunities to challenge you in your career.
- Overload Burnout – “This happens when you work harder and harder, becoming frantic in your pursuit of success. If you experience this, you may be willing to risk your health and personal life to feel successful in your job,” says WebMD.
- Neglect Burnout – Have you ever heard of imposter syndrome? Well, imposter syndrome is connected to this type of burnout caused by things constantly going wrong, feeling helpless, and doubting your skills.
Don’t forget an important point Psychology Today brings into this conversation, “Jobs aren’t the only source of the chronic stress that causes burnout…Non-work burnout, however, is less well-known than that caused by career stress. But burnout, in any form, can have severe consequences if left untreated.”
Signs of Burnout
Whether it’s a co-worker, a family member, a friend, or yourself you’re worried about experiencing burnout, it’s important to know the signs.
- Forgetfulness and distraction
- Losing sight of your goals and lack of pride in your work
- Difficulty being present
- Little to no enthusiasm about day-to-day tasks and work
- Frustration and irritability
- Muscle tension
- Increased illness
If you’re experiencing any or several of these symptoms, take a peek at our helpful tips below to kick burnout to the curb.
Tips to Bounce Back from Burnout
1. Get to the Root
Start with a little self-reflection. It’s difficult to change a situation without realizing and acknowledging what the problem is. Begin by asking yourself introspective questions with an emphasis on work, relationships, and any other contributing stressors. Some example questions are: Am I waking up in the morning ready to take on the day, am I putting enough effort into my relationships, and am I achieving the goals that I’ve set for myself? Also, this introspective self-reflection could not only improve your burnout but also improve leadership performance. Win-win!
2. Make Changes
There are several famous quotes along the lines of, “Small changes eventually lead to huge results.” Challenge yourself to adopt this mindset every day and slowly lighten your load. Remember it’s okay if you can’t do it all, ask for help or rearrange your schedule to take things slower.
3. Talk to Someone you can Trust
Who’s your go-to when you need to have a heart-to-heart about something going on in your life? Maybe it’s your older sister or a lifelong friend. Whoever it is, talking to loved ones about what’s going on allows them to provide support and make you feel less alone. If you (or your trusted confidant) feel you would benefit from professional help, try talking to a therapist. Online solutions like Talkspace or Better Help could be great solutions if you’re already stressed with packed days.
Also, have an open and honest conversation with your direct supervisor. Brainstorm together where you could lighten your workload or clarify responsibilities.
4. Take Back Control
Although you may not have control of what led you to burnout, you do have the power to regain control. Prioritize most important tasks, delegate anything you can, and create separation between work and personal life. What’s the most important thing? Be firm about your needs.
5. Set Boundaries
When it’s time to set boundaries, many of us are a little more flexible than we should be. We suggest closing your computer at the end of the workday and resisting the urge to check any notifications on your phone. If you limit the time given away and hit pause, you could stay on top of stress. Most importantly, it’s okay to say “no” when you need to. Say a coworker asks you to take on extra responsibility and you’re already mid-burnout, you need to take care of your body and tell them you’re not in the place to add more responsibility at the moment.
6. Give Yourself Grace
Burnout does not equal failure. Burnout does not equal failure. Burnout does not equal failure. Okay, have we made our point yet? This is important.
If you experience burnout, you’re not a disappointment. In fact, according to Indeed’s survey of 1,500 people, you fit into the majority because 52% of respondents say they’re currently experiencing burnout. Allow yourself love and support – it’s okay to be imperfect and it’s okay to need a break. As long as you’re doing your best, you’re doing all you can.
7. Focus on Your Needs
Last, but surely not least, focus on yourself. Taking care of your physical and mental health outside of work will lead you to be more productive during work. Try to get at least seven hours of sleep per night. Exercise 30 minutes daily – even when traveling. Spend time with loved ones and alone. Eat healthier foods and drink more water. Add meditating to your daily routine to increase mindfulness. Apps like Headspace or Calm are affordable and have guided introductory-level meditations. Finally, do something that brings you joy each and every day.
With the above tips and information, hopefully, we will all feel refreshed and avoid burnout this year. Just remember to prioritize yourself and take breaks when you need to – your body and mental health will surely thank you.