Tips to Fight Burnout

By Deanna Tempro

Many of us experience times when we feel overworked, unappreciated, and powerless over our work or life situations. However, prolonged high levels of stress that go unchecked can lead to burnout. If you experience this most of the time, then you may be headed towards burnout. Burnout happens gradually, however, there are physical, emotional, and behavioral signs that may be subtle at first but get worse over time.

Warning Signs of burnout:

Some of the physical signs include feeling drained most of the time, changes in appetite, fatigue, frequent headaches, insomnia, and muscle pains.

Some of the emotional signs include feeling helpless, loss of motivation, detachment, decreased satisfaction, losing sight of yourself and your goals, a sense of failure, and self-doubt.

Some of the behavioral signs include irritability, isolating from others, withdrawing from responsibilities, difficulty maintaining relationships, procrastinating, and using food, alcohol, or drugs to cope.

Tips to Fight Burnout

Prioritize your health, sleep, and exercise
How we treat our bodies has a huge impact on our mood and energy levels. We all know that it’s important to get enough sleep, eat well and exercise however when we are experiencing burnout these three things are essential.

Take breaks
Schedule time in your day for breaks to reenergize. Step away from your workspace and leave the digital devices behind. Eat lunch away from your workspace. Take a walk. Read something interesting. Even a short 10 minutes away from your workspace can give you a boost of energy.

Set boundaries
Set boundaries on your time, commitments, and responsibilities. Be intentional with your time. Honor your work schedule by starting and stopping at your scheduled times, log off when you’re done, turn off your work phone and close your email.

Before accepting another responsibility or commitment take a minute to think about how much time and energy will be required of you and pause to ask yourself, Do I really have the time or energy for this?

Say no. Don’t overextend yourself. This is easier said than done, however saying no allows you more time for things you actually want to do and time to complete things you have to do and do them well.

Find meaning
Changing your view of the work you do can help you regain a sense of purpose. Try to connect your work to a personal or professional goal, focus on the aspects of your job that you do enjoy, or reflect on why the work you do matters.

Focus on the other aspects of your life that give you meaning and satisfaction: family, friends, community, and interests.

Talk to a Therapist
A therapist can provide professional support to help you identify the sources of your burnout, support you in developing coping methods, and determine if you’re dealing with something greater than burnout, as many of the signs of burnout can also be associated with depression.