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Are you feeling perpetually exhausted at work? Thinking that things are out of your control? Distancing yourself from your job? You might be experiencing burnout.
Burnout is a term often heard within the workplace setting, especially with the rise of work-from-home practices adding to the stress last year. Burnout is officially recognized by the World Health Organization as a medical diagnosis that may apply to individuals exhibiting symptoms of constant exhaustion and increased feelings of negativity towards their job, which affects their productivity.
There is a myriad of symptoms and signs that everyone feels when they’re on the brink of burnout. Everybody embodies a different combination of burnout signs, so take the time to listen to the signals from your body and mind. Catch the signs early to prevent the consequences from affecting your health and career.
Health is wealth. There’s arguably nothing more valuable than staying healthy so you can easily achieve your goals. The best way to avoid burnout is to prioritize your health and wellbeing with a combination of activities. Short-term solutions can help fix the immediate impact of burnout, but incorporate long-term strategies that support your overall wellbeing before the problem even starts.
If there’s anything that lockdown has taught most of us, it’s the value of our social connections. We’ve all had our fair share of wanting to go outdoors, meet up with friends, and attend events. Make the effort to connect with your colleagues, friends, and family to establish a well-rounded support system. Be wary of surrounding yourself with negativity and focus on cultivating relationships based on trust and respect. Develop friendships in your workplace to build stronger bonds with your colleagues. Understand the team you are working with and its dynamics to figure out how you fit in the bigger picture. Having a strong team bond gives you peace of mind when taking time off and makes work more enjoyable. They can also help you shoulder the burden when the stress gets too much.
Incorporate movement into your day. Our bodies aren’t made for sitting down or standing up for extended periods of time, so mix it up! Get up every 30 minutes if you’re sitting to give your stiff muscles a break. Take a break to refill your mug or do a quick stretch routine. Your back will thank you at the end of the day. Your eyes will also appreciate the time away from the screen.
Try to pencil in time to exercise in your day and make it a habit. If this is new to you, don’t be afraid to work your way up. Pick up an activity you’ve always wanted to try or revisit again. Start with 20 minutes, then slowly increase the time as your body adjusts to the exercise. Exercising is a great way to break up your day and leave you feeling energized to take on new tasks.
Purposefully change up your routine by scheduling breaks to take time to yourself. A few 20–30 minute breaks can do wonders in refocusing your perspective. Go on a quick coffee run, work on some chores, or watch a short video. These breaks give you the chance to move your attention away from stress and pressure. Come back with renewed energy to help you tackle tasks more efficiently and make clearer decisions. Chances are you’ll find that you accomplish more in your day with these breaks too!
Remove yourself from technology. We tend to find ourselves glued to screens for hours at a time for work and for play. Put a hold on checking social media updates or emails and travel back to simpler times. Pick up a relaxing activity like reading, meditating, or yoga. Whatever you choose, remember to take this opportunity to find a new hobby or project to recalibrate your creative side and let it run wild. Activating your creative side can fight burnout before it even happens by relieving stress by working on something completely unrelated to your job.
Burnout stems from workplace problems. If you’re feeling unaccomplished, underappreciated, and constantly stressed, then it may be time for you to reflect and re-evaluate your relationship with your job responsibilities. A study conducted by Michael Leiter and Christina Maslach developed an “Areas of Worklife” model revolving around the 6 areas of workload, control, reward, fairness, community, and values. Review your perspective regarding each of these areas to figure out what needs to be changed to feel more fulfilled at work. Looking at issues from other angles can reframe your expectations and understandings. Consider the causes of your stressors and how you may be able to enact change to decrease the problem. If you think you’re taking too much responsibility at work, it might be a good time to talk to your manager or team and see if there are any ways to redistribute the workload and work off of each other’s strengths. Ultimately, you need to ask yourself if it's worth putting in the work or you might need to look at other options.
Sleep is so important to daily functions both physically and mentally as the body recovers during sleep. From weakened immunity to memory issues, sleep deprivation impacts a number of bodily functions. Get consistent and high-quality sleep to ensure you’re at your best every day. Set a bedtime routine for yourself to tell your brain it’s about that time and try to avoid screentime 1–2 hours before to minimize your exposure to blue light. If you find it difficult to clear your head, try jotting thoughts down beforehand to get hours of deep sleep.
When was the last time you rewarded yourself? Time to take those vacation days. Whether it’s traveling to your favorite destination or pampering yourself at home, distancing yourself from work is effective in managing stress. If you can’t take time off work, then send yourself a well-deserved gift. Looking for a surprise gift for yourself? Consider using Giftpack AI to generate a gift that you might have not even thought about for yourself! Giftpack AI selects gift options for you so it’ll be a surprise when you see it. They offer a risk-free questionnaire trial to test out its system. Regardless of where you get the gift, it should be something that sparks happiness and delight.
At the end of the day, taking care of your health is important to sustaining your career. Preventing burnout by spotting the signs earlier is easier than recovering from it. The next time you have time off, take a long look at how you are balancing your work and life to achieve long-term success.
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