How To Avoid Burnout at Work - Work / Life Balance

A survey conducted by Deloitte found that 77% of people report having experienced job burnout. Whether you're an entrepreneur or are trying to work your way up the corporate ladder, maintaining a work-life balance is essential to reduce your risk of burnout. Read on for tips on avoiding burnout at work and how to recover from burnout once it occurs.

Know the Symptoms of Burnout

Most people have heard the term, but it can be a struggle to define the meaning of burnout. Knowing the signs of burnout can help you realize that you're on the verge of burnout, so you can make changes and improve your mental health. Some common burnout symptoms include:

  • Feeling overly cynical
  • Being overly critical of yourself and employees
  • Having to drag yourself to work
  • Difficulty beginning your day
  • Fatigue
  • Impatience and irritability with customers or coworkers
  • Poor productivity
  • Low levels of concentration
  • Turning to alcohol, drugs, or food to numb yourself or improve your mood
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Stomach problems like heartburn or diarrhea
  • Chronic headaches

Use Your Vacation Time

No list of tips to avoid burnout could be complete without a reminder that companies provide vacation time for a reason. Taking a break from the office is essential to keeping your head in the game, and traveling to new locations can give you new experiences to put work and the rest of your life into perspective. Instead of banking that vacation time, use it to the fullest by planning a trip, and once you get there, fully disconnect by ignoring work communications, including emails.

Delegate What Doesn't Give You Joy

Relying on others is key to avoiding burnout as a manager or entrepreneur. Your unique strengths and skills make you ideally suited to some tasks and make others stressful and annoying. Chances are, someone else on your team enjoys doing those things you don't. Learn about the work preferences of your team and look for opportunities to delegate those tasks that you try to avoid or put off to someone who will be eager to do them.

Give Yourself Daily Breaks

Every day, having a little "me time" allows you to recharge and refocus, so add some to your schedule. Include 30 minutes to an hour for lunch and at least one other 10-minute break. Stick to your breaks as diligently as you do times for meetings. Get up from your desk, change your scenery, and keep your phone in your pocket so work communications don't infringe on your time.

Try Stress Management Techniques

Stress management techniques can reduce the physical effects of what goes on at the office to lower the likelihood of burnout. Some things to try include:

  • Mindfulness meditation
  • Deep breathing exercises
  • Yoga
  • Tai chi
  • Visualization

You may need to try a few things until you find a stress management method that fits your life effectively.

Talk to a Pro

Therapy isn't just for people with serious mental illnesses. A licensed therapist or psychologist can help you identify sources of work burnout and teach you strategies to address them. Professionals can also give you tips on improving relationships with difficult coworkers or customers. Sometimes, simply talking to someone paid to listen is enough to release the chronic stress that contributes to burnout.

Eat Well

Healthy eating can keep your body functioning optimally, making illness, fatigue, and poor cognition less likely to get in your way at work. A well-balanced diet contains whole grains, lean protein, fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy products, and healthy fats in moderation and includes as few heavily processed foods as possible.

Set Personal Goals

If it feels like work is just an endless series of pointless tasks, setting goals can help make what you do every day more meaningful. Think about where you want to be in 1, 5, and 10 years and then establish a short-term goal that will start you on that path. Make your goals time-sensitive and measurable so that you can track your progress. When you achieve a goal, do something special to celebrate and then set the next one to continue your momentum.

Adopt an Exercise Routine

The benefits of regular exercise go beyond the body. Studies show that physical activity also reduces stress and supports mental health. Follow the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)'s guidelines by getting at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of high-intensity exercise every week.

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