The dreaded B word. Burnout. To a large majority of the working class, it’s a regular occurrence that seems almost inescapable. It’s more common than you may realize and can be extremely detrimental to both your job and health.
Burnout is defined as “fatigue, frustration, or apathy resulting from prolonged stress, overwork, or intense activity.” It can be triggered by things like your workload, feeling unappreciated or even a toxic work environment. The result? You begin to feel disconnected, exhausted and unproductive.
Rather than ignoring these red flags and allowing daily burnout to drag you down, here are 5 proven ways you can overcome it without quitting your job
1. Listen to your mental chatter.
One of the most prominent key indicators of burnout is your thoughts and feelings, or what I like to call your mental chatter. As surface-level as that may seem, your mental chatter is vital and can indicate if certain tasks are overwhelming. Ignoring your mental chatter and labeling it as “typical stress” will only make it worse. Being aware of your constant thoughts or feelings and focusing on them can give you the validation that something in your daily life needs to change.
Utilizing a journal has helped me be more aware of my mental chatter. It allows me to have a full-blown conversation with my thoughts. I’m able to gain a deeper understanding of what’s working and what’s not. The key to effective journaling is to not do it every day. Doing it on the days that you feel the most stressed or overwhelmed will allow you to be fully expressive. This way you can identify trends in things you write which can pinpoint the tasks or hurdles that may be leading to burnout.
2. Learn to say “no.”
Why do we have such a hard time saying no? Maybe you want to always come off as helpful or have a can-do attitude. As valiant as that seems, it’s ultimately a trap. When you say yes too often, your performance is at risk of suffering.
Michael Hyatt wrote:“If I don’t say no:
• Other peoples’ priorities will take precedence over ours.
• Mere acquaintances will crowd out time with family and close friends.
• We will not have the time we need for rest and recovery.
• We will end up frustrated and stressed.
• We won’t be able to say yes to the really important things.”
If you’re already hurting for time or are asked to work after hours on something that’s not part of your job description, it’s time to just say no. Of course you should always do so politely by telling your colleague or leader that you currently can’t accept their request due to your workload. Learning to say no the right way is a remedy to avoid the inevitable burnout.
3. Unplug at the end of the day.
This is definitely one to tell the boss: staying late is actually very bad for your overall health. Don’t believe me? A recent study proved that regularly working late at the office can increase your chances of stroke and heart disease.
It’s critical for both your productivity and health to find your daily cut off point and stick to it. To accomplish this, I recommend using your calendar to your advantage. Schedule a daily task review at the end of the work day or add time slots for specific activities right after work. These will help cut you off so you can focus on your work-life balance while also minimizing your chances for burnout.
4. Meditate daily.
Even if it’s just for 10 minutes, spending the time to just breathe can be a powerful way to reduce your symptoms. Meditation is a habitual process of training your mind to focus and redirect your thoughts.
Most people think of meditation as a simple way to reduce stress and develop concentration, but the benefits go far beyond that. Positive mindsets, self-discipline, increased pain tolerance and even healthy sleep patterns have all been benefits of meditation. This simple hack can be instrumental to your mental and emotional well-being.
5. Double down on relationships.
When you get busier at work and in life, you often make less time for friends and family. Believe it or not, this is a terrible decision.
Individuals that handle stress the best are the individuals who increase their social activity when things get hard. Shawn Achor echoed this, “The people who survive stress the best are the ones who actually increase their social investments in the middle of stress, which is the opposite of what most of us do. Turns out that social connection is the greatest predictor of happiness we have when I run them in my studies.”
Long story short, burnout symptoms can be poisonous and strong relationships are one of the few proven antidotes.
Burnout is stressful and harmful to your health, career and personal life. If you pay attention to your mental chatter and utilize effective tips like these, you can overcome the ever so common career burnout without having to quit your job.