15 ways to find your way back from burnout
Preventing burnout protects your overall health and wellbeing, as well as your career. However, if the way you work changed radically over the past year, your old defences may not be enough.
How do you know if you’re burned out?
Some of the most common signs include irritability, depression, and lack of motivation. You feel tired, overwhelmed, and unable to control your circumstances. Your physical health can be affected too, putting you at increased risk for heart conditions and diabetes.
If you’re feeling flat, down or your productivity has dropped, the good news is that you can recover. Try these 15 strategies for bouncing back from burnout.
Fighting Burnout During Work Hours:
1. Permit yourself. You already have permission to prioritise your health and wellbeing however, if it helps you to be given permission, here are a few that you can choose from.
2. Evaluate your expectations. Burnout is often caused by pushing yourself too hard for too long. Look at your to-do list and see what you can eliminate, automate or delegate. Focus on your top priorities.
3. Set goals. Working towards something you want to achieve provides instant inspiration. Break long-term objectives down into more bite-size daily and weekly targets, so you’ll keep building momentum.
4. Limit distractions. Burnout makes it difficult to concentrate. Create quiet spaces where you can work at the office or at home. Turn off your phone and stay away from websites and apps where it’s easy to lose track of time.
5. Find allies. Do you feel isolated or have more conflicts with your coworkers? Burnout can take a toll on your relationships. Participate in social activities at work. If you feel safe and supported, talk with your boss or a trusted colleague about what you’re going through.
6. Have fun. Brighten up your workday. Join the wellbeing planning committee. Pass along a funny joke or an intriguing news story.
7. Pace yourself. How many hours are you working a week? Research shows that excess overtime lowers your performance. You’re more likely to achieve sustainable success with a 35-to-40-hour week.
8. Take time off. It may help to get away from your routines for a while. If possible, use your holidays to visit family and friends. If you’re short on leave, you could try a spa day at home or check into a local hotel for the weekend.
9. Be patient. Burnout often builds up gradually and it may take a while to turn things around. Give yourself credit for your awareness in identifying where you’re at and go from there. Appreciate signs of gradual progress as progression is more sustainable than perfection.
Fighting Burnout Outside of Work Hours:
1. Address root causes. While there are many things you can do to cope with burnout temporarily, lasting change depends on resolving the source of your troubles. Maybe it’s an event at work, or maybe it has more to do with your beliefs, expectations or personal life.
2. Set healthy boundaries. Remote work blurs the line between business and leisure activities. Try to keep office items out of your bedroom wherever possible. Let your work know the hours when you’re unavailable.
3. Sleep well. Go to bed on time, so you can wake up feeling refreshed. Stick to a consistent schedule, even on weekends and holidays.
4. Work out. Physical activity relieves stress and gives you more energy. Design a balanced program of cardio exercise, strength training, and stretches to keep yourself fit for your best work and life.
5. Learn to let go. Manage daily tensions with stress-relieving activities. Listen to calming or uplifting music or spend time on your hobbies.
6. Consider counselling. If your burnout symptoms persist, you may benefit from working with a professional. Some employers have extended mental health benefits as a result of COVID-19.
Burnout can seem overwhelming, but you probably have more options than you think. Change your daily habits and ask others for help if you’re struggling. Taking constructive action will help you to regain your balance and increase your career and life satisfaction.
If you’d like to develop your workplace wellness skills, our professional 10299NAT Diploma of Wellness Leadership course has helped others along their journey of redesigning a workplace that helps individuals and teams thrive.