By: George Mears
Career burnout can happen to anyone, even when you love what you do for a living. Burnout can come from feeling too much pressure at work, workplace dynamics, or from a general lack of work-life balance. More often than not, it’s multiple issues piled on top of one another that lead to serious frustration over time. Regardless of the cause, these strategies can help you stop burnout before it becomes a serious problem.
Give Yourself a Break
One of the most common reasons people feel burnt out is that they simply try to do too much without taking a break. Our society puts a great emphasis on productivity, which leads to a culture of overwork. However, according to Entrepreneur, overworking ourselves doesn’t increase productivity, and it may actually detract from your ability to work effectively.
The best way to head off burnout is to consistently take breaks and cut back on those extra hours. Instead of working through your lunch break, use it to enjoy a healthy meal or even take a walk and listen to music or a podcast you like.
Another crucial way to avoid burnout is to use your vacation time. Dedicated employees who are already prone to burnout are often the least likely to use that time. However, just like taking regular breaks, taking time off may actually improve your performance.
You don’t even have to leave town — as long as you truly take that time off from work, you can get just as much benefit from taking a “staycation.” Especially if you live in a bustling city like Chicago, the opportunities to unwind while being a tourist in your own town are virtually endless. As Turnkey explains, take a walk through Navy Pier, spend a leisurely day at a museum, and take full advantage of the city’s nightlife by checking out the music and comedy scene.
You could just stay home, but we recommend renting a vacation property so you’re removed from everyday life. Another benefit of getting outside your own home for your staycation is that you can pick a place that’s near the spots you want to explore most.
Take Care of Yourself
Taking regular breaks, a “staycation,” and even a getaway from time to time is one way to practice self-care. However, you should also be taking care of yourself all the time. When we’re busy at work, self-care is often the first thing to go, but it’s also one of the main factors that contribute to burnout. In fact, three ways to avoid burnout are to sleep, exercise, and laugh.
These things are easy to let slide when you’re focused on what you need to get done. This is why you have to be extremely intentional about making them happen. If your employer offers a wellness program, look into how you can take advantage of that, and maybe even get a group of co-workers to join you for increased accountability. We would also add eating a balanced diet to the list of self-care necessities. Eating well takes effort, but that doesn’t mean it has to be time-consuming. Adopt a few strategies for making healthy eating easier, such as prepping fruits and veggies at the beginning of the week or even buying pre-chopped produce.
Along with everything you do take better care of yourself, it’s also smart to look at outside forces that may be leading to burnout. Ask yourself if you’re the person who never says “no” or if there are specific tasks or co-workers that cause you excess stress. If so, can you set better boundaries? If you feel a general lack of satisfaction, are there new opportunities you could explore that would be more fulfilling?
Some of these things may seem out of your control at first, but it’s always worth considering if there are alternatives. The reality of avoiding career burnout is that it’s up to you to make the necessary changes. Burnout isn’t unavoidable — you just have to take small steps (and sometimes larger ones) to stop it in its tracks.
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