How To Avoid Burnout at Work

It really isn’t a big secret that our lives, and in particular, our work lives are becoming more and more stressful with the passage of each day. We feel frustrated because of our jobs more often than not, and bad days pile to become bad weeks or even bad months. Every day is a struggle and every single day is a ‘bad day at the office.’

As a result, stress, fatigue, tiredness and, in particular, burnout becomes a real problem.

According to Mayoclinic.org, “job burnout is a special type of job stress – a state of physical, emotional or mental exhaustion combined with doubts about your competence and the value of your work.”

The website also has a list of things which could lead to burnout at the workplace, including lack of control, work-life imbalances, pressure and unclear job expectations, to name a few.

Burnout at work can have many adverse effects on a human being: chronic fatigue, exhaustion, anxiety and depression, heart disease, risk of stroke, obesity, risk of alcohol or substance abuse, and general vulnerability to diseases.

There are, however, ways in which job and work-related burnout can be managed and completely eliminated from your work routine:

1. Take a Break

This is perhaps the most obvious, yet the most straightforward and effective advice anyone could ever give you! If you’re feeling burnt-out and on the verge of a break-down, step back and take a break immediately! Take some days off from work, plan a vacation, go on that cruise or that trip that you’ve been wanting to go on, or just simply use the time off to rest and relax. Taking a few days (or perhaps even a few weeks off) from work could do wonders. Vacation days are there for a reason – use them!

2. Maintain a Work-Life Balance

It’s not easy – in fact it’s anything but easy and is something that we struggle to do – but maintaining a work-life balance is very important, especially in today’s stressful work environments and busy lives. All work and no play can lead to burnout really quickly, so it is essential to define boundaries and limits as far as work goes, stick to a healthy routine, and set aside a few hours of ‘me-time’ everyday.

3. Exercise and Workout

Exercise and working-out is amazing, and brings many long-term health benefits as well, apart from the obvious short-term advantages. Regular exercise is known to stimulate  various brain chemicals which result in you feeling relaxed and more happeid. Exercise also brings mood improvements, is a great way to blow-off some steam after a stressful day, and could lift your mood after a long day at work. If you’re feeling burnt-out at work, it might be a good idea to go for a run every day, sign-up for the gym, and/or follow a fitness plan.

4. Indulge in a Hobby or Two

Hobbies are a great way to distract yourself from the rigors of work, in addition to being an excellent creative outlet for your mind and your body. For instance a hobby which is completely different from your work – such as photography, playing sports, arts and crafts, fishing or just about anything else – can give your mind a much-needed break from the weekly rigors and stresses of work, and could also improve your productivity and focus. So nourish your creative side by indulging yourself in activities that have nothing to do with work.

5. Find Time to Relax and Recharge

A few years ago, I did something that I thank myself for doing every day – I ‘slowed-down’ my mornings. I developed and started to follow this morning ritual whereby I make it a point to get up early every morning – usually when the sun’s coming up and well before anyone else gets up – in order to go on a small run, and just relax by playing the guitar and sipping on some coffee, for instance, instead of jumping out of bed and rushing through the morning. Getting up a little bit early, even if it’s just a few minutes earlier than you usually do, allows you to slow things down and start your day on the right foot.

6. Slow-down at Work

This is, in some ways, closely related to point no. 2 above. Slow-down at work. Know that you can’t give your 200% everyday, and you don’t really need to. Yes, being a proper and thorough professional at work, as well as having the right attitude and maintaining a proper work ethic is important, and the last thing that I would tell you to do is start slacking. However it is humanly-impossible to be at your best and function at optimum levels 24/7. Sometimes, it may be a good idea to reassess your own expectations of yourself and readjust accordingly.

7. Learn to Say No

Trust me, you’ll be doing yourself a massive favor and once you learn to do this, you’ll thank me for it! It is important to accept and understand that sometimes, it is completely okay to say no. It doesn’t mean that you have to be rude in order to do so, or that saying no means you can’t help the other person out. But generally speaking, in life and especially if you want to avoid burnout, avoid over-promising because you’ll almost certainly end up under-delivering and burning yourself out in the process.

8. Re-Evaluate your Career Path

If you think you’re stuck in a rut or a dead-end career, and especially if it’s causing stress and frustration in your personal or professional life, it may be time to consider reevaluate your career path – perhaps even call it quits (but this has to be the absolute last resort). Maybe things have changed since you started working – perhaps the industry has taken a turn for the worse, or the culture, norms and values of the organization that you work for have changed and hence stopped aligning with your values. Perhaps you feel under-challenged or overburdened. Or maybe your current working conditions no longer allow you to achieve your goals. Whatever the reason may be, now might be the time to ask yourself some tough questions.