In a fast-paced, performance-driven society, working long hours and enduring perpetual stress is inevitable. However, if you stay constantly on the go by never finding time to rest and reflect, you face burnout. At this stage, you will feel depleted physically, mentally and emotionally. You are running on an empty tank of gas.
Burnout is unfortunately a common experience that few people know how to appropriately address. If you are burning out, do not fret. Here are seven steps to recover, take control of your life and regain passion for your work.
1. Take time to reflect.
It is beneficial to take breaks from work to reflect on your life trajectory. Whether an hour a day or a lengthy vacation, devote time to pondering how things are going. When you are on the clock, going through the motions leaves no time or attention to think about why your job matters more than a paycheck. Routine without reflection leaves you uninspired. Taking a meditative respite will reignite your enthusiasm for your vocation or motivate you to pursue a different calling.
2. Chronicle your problems.
Make a list of everything that stresses you out. Describe why each item is a source of anxiety and pinpoint possible solutions. Rather than ignoring your problems and making them worse, this activity allows you to think through your stressors and address them head-on. Add to the list as more issues arise.
3. Identify a better job routine.
For many people, a hectic work schedule is the major cause of burnout. To reduce your workload, try a couple of strategies including not accepting every new responsibility offered and delegating tasks instead of tackling it all yourself.
Lengthy commutes are stressful. According to research from the University of Montreal, commutes longer than 20 minutes significantly increase the risk of burnout. If your commute interferes with your productivity and efficiency, talk to your boss about telecommuting or another type of arrangement that works for everyone.
4. Reassess aspirations.
Set personal and professional goals that lead you to a happier life. Consider the story of Carrie Severson, the founder and CEO of an empowerment organization for girls. For the first three years building the organization Severson devoted all of her time to her job. She paid a heavy personal toll. She lost friends, let her health suffer and quickly burned out. Finally, she took time to figure out that she wanted a better work-life balance and began reinvesting in relationships and traveling.
5. Seek support.
Find people who support you when you face issues at home and work. As you develop your career, ask peers who have overcome similar problems to share their valuable advice, guidance and contacts. Surround yourself with people who anchor you emotionally. Unwinding with friends and family will mitigate stress and burnout by helping you to keep things in perspective.
6. Expand your network.
The company you keep can be tremendously helpful for your business, but you will also want to meet new people outside of your existing relationships. Newly made connections expose you to different perspectives, present fresh opportunities and spur novel business ideas. In general, improving your social network will make you a more valuable asset at your job.
7. Eat better, drink less and exercise more.
While it is common knowledge that eating better, drinking less alcohol and exercising more will lead to higher energy levels and a better quality of life, it is difficult to adhere experiencing burnout. Many cope with stress by eating foods high in sugar and fat, while others drink more alcohol to dull their stress. This step should therefore serve as the last phase in your burnout recovery, after you have eliminated the major causes of burnout and are in decent condition to improve your coping habits.
There is no one-size-fits-all solution. Modify these steps to match your needs. Recovering from burnout will take some time. Have patience and congratulate yourself on even the smallest of achievements.