Burnout can leave you feeling disempowered, helpless, and out of control. The reality is, the symptoms of burnout can be difficult to recognize, so while prevention is a best-case scenario, and it’s not always possible to spot the signs ahead of time.
Whether you are in the early stages of noticing a few, gradual symptoms of burnout or recognize yourself as experiencing ongoing and increasingly challenging symptoms, it’s important to remember there are ways you can move forward and recover.
Burnout causes and symptoms differ per person, so it’s no surprise that the cure will too. Here are a few tips that can help you work towards recovering from burnout.
1. Own the Problem
We all know the cliché that the first step in solving a problem is admitting you have one. Addressing the issue of burnout requires conscious changes to your attitude, workload, and habits. Recognizing that you need to make those changes is the most important first step in banishing burnout. Exactly how you do that will be personal, but don’t be afraid to try a few different things to find what works for you.
2. Learn How to Mentally Detach from Work
It’s easy to think that time way will be the answer. In reality, it requires way more than a few days spent out of the office. A momentary break doesn’t actually change your circumstances. You may exit the office, but constant connectivity makes it harder than ever to truly leave work behind. Rather than a one-off vacation, you must learn how to mentally detach from your work when your day is done. That may mean coming up with an end-of-day routine to help you transition from “work-mode” to your personal life, or turning off your work email notifications from your phone so you aren’t tempted to check it after hours. Don’t be afraid to try different strategies to find out what works best for you.
3. Find Meaning Outside of Work
If your job is taking over your life, it’s time to focus on something you care about instead of thinking too much about the source of negativity. Finding a way out of this mode of thinking requires finding an identity outside of your job. It means concentrating on activities that provide you with joy and a sense of meaning. Seeking out these activities means recognizing that your work doesn’t define you.
4. Time to Talk
Sometimes it’s not your attitude or habits that need to change, it’s the workload itself. Don’t be afraid to talk about your burnout. You should approach your supervisor to have a candid discussion about how you’re feeling and that you would like their support and guidance in adjusting your workload. Before you head into the conversation, have a plan in place and already have a few options for what would help you most. Have a list of your current obligations and duties, and clearly explain to your boss that you’d like to either delegate some of those responsibilities or identify which ones should be prioritized when you’re unable to tackle them all.
Burnout is an epidemic in workplaces, and it’s a disheartening topic to read (and write) about. Feeling empty about your job and purpose in life is not to be taken lightly. Taking positive steps towards recovery starts with identifying what’s challenging for you, taking a step back to prioritize your mental health, considering you options and making empowered changes to eventually overcome burnout.