4 Ways to Prevent Burnout
By Paul Triggs, LMSW
The word burnout is thrown around commonly but not many people know the signs. Some of the signs of burnout include fatigue, pessimism, loss of motivation and depression (Bourg-Carter, 2013). Fortunately, burnout can be prevented and here are some ideas to try before you experience this difficult situation.
⦁ Stop feeling like you can’t take a break
I understand this may be tough to do at times especially with deadlines and a lot of responsibility. On the other hand, while the work you do and the value you bring to work is certainly important the odds are the work will be there when you get return. The thought of taking a break may feel overwhelming but here me out there is more than one way to do this. For example, taking a break could mean many things whether it’s a short walk, a long break or even going out for a smoke. Although, smoking is not an encouraged form of relaxation for some people this action creates a plan to get away from anxiety producing things and change your focus. The point of this exercise is to create a distraction from what you are doing and take some time to regroup comfortably. Another form of taking a break can also be going on vacation. The average job in the U.S. offers workers 15 days per year so use them! (Doyle, 2019).
⦁ Track your progress
Tracking your progress is a good way to monitor all the things you have accomplished and help clarify all the steps it takes to achieve your objective. To start think of how you track other things in life and how that impacts your desire to continue those activities. For example, many people who exercise a lot keep a log to track their progress and monitor the work they put into their fitness. In turn, keeping a log to track progress at work is virtually the same thing and this could help you during downtimes to reflect on your awesomeness. Tracking your progress can also serve another purpose because it is guaranteed to help lower your anxiety. Anticipation is the main ingredient for anxiety and by preparing for this challenge you could use neutralize its effects and learn to appreciate your efforts.
⦁ Pace yourself
In the city that never sleeps there are no shortage of work stressors and unrealistic deadlines. Fortunately, as I mentioned earlier, we all average around 15 or more vacation days a year so that should be a time to get away and leave work behind. If you are not able to take vacation or get away for multiple days do small things to make the most of your time. For example, you can try to come into work a little earlier with the goal of doing more after work or you can discuss taking a long lunch with your boss occasionally. The effect of small positive steps could have lasting results.
⦁ Talk to someone
This step is listed as the last tip in this article, but it can really fit it during any part of the process. The act of discussing issues has been empirically proven to help clarify the source of challenges and come up with steps to deal with discomfort. The simple act of talking to someone especially a professional could help raise your spirits quickly as just showing up to therapy can do wonders. For example, research has shown that actively participating in a skill such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or CBT can positively affect your brain (Walton, 2017). So, reach out to someone today and cool off before you burn out.
Bourg-Carter, S (2019). The Tell-Tale Signs of Burnout ... Do You Have Them? Retrieved from: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/high-octane-women/201311/the-tell-tale-signs-burnout-do-you-have-them
Doyle, A. (2019). Vacation Time and Pay for Employees. Retrieved from: https://www.thebalancecareers.com/how-much-vacation-time-and-pay-do-employees-get-2064018
Walton, A. (2017). Research Again Finds That Talk Therapy Can Change The Brain. Retrieved from: https://www.forbes.com/sites/alicegwalton/2017/01/25/research-again-finds-that-talk-therapy-can-change-the-brain/#4547c2d43278