Next up in our burnout series is everything you need to know about preventing burnout and saving not only your mental sanity but also your health and possibly your career!
Are you feeling like you can’t wait to put on your OOO and not look at your work email until Jan 2021 (or maybe even ever)? Are you feeling overwhelmed? Unmotivated? Cranky at your coworkers you normally enjoy? You may be experiencing burnout, but have no fear – you can use this holiday break to work on preventing it!
Burnout is a workplace issue and can show with varying symptoms and severity depending on the individual, but it is most characterized by exhaustion, lack of motivation, difficulty focusing, and an often-altered temperament towards others. There are times where burnout can go so far, it leads to real health implications.
Left unchecked, burnout can wreak havoc on your health, happiness, relationships, and job performance. To catch burnout and combat it early, it’s essential to know what to look out for. If you’re haven’t heard of or are unfamiliar with burnout as a whole, I recommend you check out the other articles in our Workplace Burnout series here:
• Burnout: What exactly is it?
• Burnout: Am I experiencing it?
How to Prevent Burnout
Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle
First and foremost, it is important to acknowledge what you do with your body can significantly impact your mental state – so, taking better care of your diet, sleep schedule, and exercise routine will play a huge role in preventing burnout later down the line. Sure, this seems simple and self-explanatory and you probably know you should be doing this, but are you actually?
Here are the fast and simple rules to follow:
1. Create a proper sleep schedule, ideally with 6-8 hours of sleep at the same time each day.
2. Lighter, healthier foods that won’t make you tired. (I know, the chocolate is calling me too, just don’t overindulge!)
3. Find time for 30 mins of light exercise every other day, at least – just going for a walk around the block can make a huge difference in your outlook! (I promise, the act of getting dressed to do the walk is the most challenging part, so just push through and thank me later.)
Embrace Your Creative Side
Burnout can bring on many side effects, one of those being the stifling effect on your thinking. Individuals who are burnt out tend to see things in black and white, taking a very rigid approach to work and life. One of the best ways preventing burnout and reducing stress is just to let your creative side run free once in a while; a simple hour every week to flex your creative muscles with writing, painting, or even coming up with a new dinner recipe can go a long way in keeping you engaged and motivated.
Work With Purpose & Live Your Truth
Follow your passion – Individuals who feel as though their work has a meaningful purpose, rather than just a way to pay rent each month are actually more likely to prevent burnout. Take some time to sit down and take a third-party view of your job and think deeply about what you do and what value it adds to others.
Not every job will have a substantial, meaningful purpose behind it, and that’s okay. Just because burnout is a workplace issue doesn’t mean that the solution has to be found in your work. According to Elizabeth Saunders, a time management coach, the core to burnout prevention is about living a life with purpose and ‘living your truth’, not necessarily just your day job.
The closer you are to living a life with purpose and aligning with your core passions, the less likely you are to burnout. Simply put, find something that energizes and restores you and make time to have that part of your life, whether it be your job or in your free time.
Know What You Can Change
Have you ever heard the saying: ‘Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference’?
Well, according to the ‘Areas of Worklife’ model, workload, control, reward, fairness, community, and values are the main contributors to burnout. Therefore, it’s essential to take a step back and think of these areas in order to see where the source of burnout is/could be coming from and what you can do to change or lessen the impact, either by altering the environment or in extreme cases, removing yourself from the situation entirely.
How to Handle Burnout When You’re Already Experiencing It
Although preventing burnout is the ideal scenario, we all know that isn’t always going to be possible – so, what if you’re reading this and know for a fact, you’re already experiencing burnout? What then? Well, with these holidays right around the corner set aside some time for yourself and work through our tips below to start 2021 anew.
- Relax and unplug – actually set yourself time each day to altogether remove yourself from the stressors surrounding you and let yourself truly relax, whatever that looks like for you. It could be reading a book/magazine, going for a swim, or my favorite – baking a batch of cookies!
- Get enough rest/sleep – This seems so self-explanatory, but most adults should be striving for 7-9 hours a night. It will be difficult, especially if you’re feeling overwhelmed at work or if you have kids at home and think that there aren’t enough hours in the day as it is, but you need to remember to let your body have time to rest and reset just as much as your mind.
- Get organized – Get organized, clear your head, put together a simplified to-do list, prioritize what needs to be done and work out a realistic plan to get this done. By doing this, you’ll spend less time stressing about remembering what needs to be done and actually doing it.