You probably know the feeling even if you have not yet identified it. The constant stress of the workplace requires building up over time, until you suddenly feel physically, emotionally and mentally exhausted. What you experience is called burnout.
But here is the good news: there are effective ways to combat it.
Whether you have already reached the burn-out stage or can feel it approaching quickly, a few clever tactics can help you turn things around and feel good at work again. Of course, some jobs are more favorable for burnout than others.
If you often experience burnout, it may be worthwhile changing jobs or even changing industries. Until then, however, use these tactics to get the job done without sacrificing your health and well-being.
First, you can't fight burnout if you don't know what it looks like or feels like. It is useful to get in touch with your feelings about work, so that you can recognize the signs of burnout as it approaches.
These signs are different for everyone. For some, burnout can manifest as excessive fatigue, while for others it can appear as insomnia. You may notice that you become more irritated at work, or more retired at home. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines burnout as the following three dimensions:
- "Feelings of exhaustion or exhaustion of energy;
- Greater mental distance to one's job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one's job; [1
If you experience only one or two of the above problems, you may not experience true burnout, although you may come close. When all three appear simultaneously, you have reached the burnout stage
Try to keep a close eye on how you feel on and about work, and if you notice when things begin to fall back, you can prevent burnout before it actually starts, or you can use the Psychology Today Burnout. doing a test – it is not an exact predictor, but it can give you a better idea of where you are now.
Now let's look at some ways you can prevent yourself from achieving burnout or pulling it out know when you reach that point.
Plan a vacation
When you realize that you are approaching burnout, it is rarely practical to take a vacation right away. Recovering (and preventing) burnout is a lengthy process. However, it can help to take a good break during that process.
If possible, book a vacation in the coming weeks or months. Try to make it a longer period, such as a week or two, instead of just a few days. The less you are in contact with work during your vacation, the better, so consider booking it during a slow period or after you have completed a number of major projects.
Little money? A stay where you simply enjoy your own home and city without work can have the same benefits.
Although you may not be able to record it right away, your free time will help you shake off burnout forever.
Consider medical leave
Certain employees may work for a maximum of 12 unpaid weeks according to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). These laws ensure that people can take time off for serious medical problems, childbirth or similar reasons, without losing their job.
If you are covered by FMLA, you may want to visit a medical professional and provide written documentation of the effects of burnout that you are facing. This allows you to take a considerable amount of free time without risking your job.
Of course this is not an option for everyone, because not all employees fall under FMLA and not everyone can afford to take unpaid free time. However, if it is an option for you, you can get rid of your work faster by taking a longer period of leave.
Prioritize your workload
A long-term, heavy workload will push you to burn-out, especially if not all required tasks make sense to you. When you begin to feel your burnout, take a good look at your typical workload and try to set priorities. Are there, for example, projects that you can delegate or switch off altogether?
You may need to meet your boss or colleagues to change your workload. However, if you have a convincing reason why some tasks are unnecessary or better delegated to others, you have a good chance of reducing your workload to the things that really matter.
Invest in your physical health
Burnout demands mental, but also physically demanding. To combat it, you invest extra in your physical well-being so that these effects do not get worse. Even if you can't change your workload or schedule, it can help make some changes at home.
For example, if you eat a lot of unhealthy takeaway meals, go to the supermarket or order healthier delivery meals to compensate for your diet. Sleep asleep, even if that means you have to cancel a few plans. And try to get a little more exercise in your days if you've been sedentary – you can find many short, simple training ideas on YouTube that you can do at home.
Setting work home limits
No good work-life balance leads to much faster burnout. If you find that your work regularly follows you home, it may be time to set some limits.
For example, you have to set a specific hour every night, after which you will no longer check emails at work or mention taking work. Or consider going to a coffee shop or coworking space after work so that you have an incentive to finish everything before you go home.
Once you get home, you put all your attention into relaxing and recharging for the next working day. Do not pick up work tasks until you are back on the clock. Even if you are a freelance or external employee, make sure that you schedule enough free time every week so that you can recharge.
Connect to your support system
Everyone needs a good support network to thrive. And a support system that understands your responsibilities in the workplace can be particularly useful if you are dealing with burnout.
If you have friends at work or friends who work in the same industry, you can plan some time with them to talk about the burnout-related challenges you face. They will understand better than most what you are going through. They may even share their own tactics to reverse burnout.
Make plans for the future
To get out of the burn-out and ensure that this no longer happens, you have to make future plans. This can help you get back in touch with your inspiration and focus, so that burnout can be relieved faster.
What those future plans look like, depends on you and your unique work situation. For example, you may need to make an appointment with your boss to talk about taking on various responsibilities that are more meaningful and manageable for you.
You may need to look for a different job in a less demanding workplace, or for a company culture that suits you better. This may even be the right time to switch to freelancing, go back to school, move or make another important life change.
Of course you should not immediately immerse a complete life revision just because you have burned out. However, it may be a good time to re-evaluate your life, how the work fits into it, and to make carefully considered changes accordingly.
Two-thirds of full-time workers say they have burnout. However, if it happens to you, you can handle it proactively. These tips give you some tools to help burn out the workplace.