Are you feeling burnout at work? If so, you're not alone. Burnout is a common mental health issue that can affect anyone, regardless of their profession. We spend most of our time at work, so it's no surprise that our job can have a major impact on our mental health. Working long hours, having a high-pressure job, dealing with difficult clients, day after day putting out fires, even the best of us can face burnout.
Fortunately, there are some habits that we can adopt to help prevent burnout. In this blog post, we will discuss habits that can help you stay energised, and motivated, and avoid burnout at work.
Recommended reading: It's Okay to Take a Mental Health Break
What Is Burnout?
Two important definitions of burnout are:
"A state of physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion caused by long term involvement in emotionally demanding situations." – Ayala Pines and Elliot Aronson.
"A state of fatigue or frustration brought about by devotion to a cause, way of life, or relationship that failed to produce the expected reward." – Herbert J. Freudenberger.
In other words, burnout occurs when we feel overwhelmed by our work and unable to meet the demands of our job. When we're in this state, we may feel like we're running on empty. We may have trouble sleeping, focusing, or working efficiently. We may also experience symptoms of depression, such as feeling hopeless or irritable.
If you're experiencing these symptoms, it's important to take action. Burnout can lead to serious health problems, including anxiety, depression, and heart disease. It can also impact our relationships with others and the future of our career.
Recommended reading: Avoid These Six Things To Find Happiness At Work
13 Warning Signs That You're Heading For Burnout
The first step is to recognize the signs of burnout. According to Mind Tools, there are specific symptoms or warning signs of burnout that include:
"Having a negative and critical attitude at work.
Dreading going into work, and wanting to leave once you're there.
Having low energy, and little interest at work.
Having trouble sleeping.
Being absent from work a lot.
Having feelings of emptiness.
Experiencing physical complaints such as headaches, illness, or backache.
Being irritated easily by team members or clients.
Having thoughts that your work doesn't have meaning or make a difference.
Pulling away emotionally from your colleagues or clients.
Feeling that your work and contribution goes unrecognized.
Blaming others for your mistakes.
You're thinking of quitting work or changing roles."
Stress And Burnout
We've touched a lot on burnout but you may be wondering what's the relationship between stress and burnout? Although the two share some characteristics, there are distinct differences.
Stress is often relatively short-term, and it is often caused by a feeling that work is out of control. You might experience stress several days in a row, especially when you're working on a large project or under a tight deadline.
However, once the situation changes, stress often lessens or disappears entirely. The 2020/2021 TUC biennial survey of union health and safety representatives showed that stress stands out as the number one dominant health and safety concern at work.
Burnout often takes place over a longer period. You might experience it if you believe your work is meaningless; when there's a disconnect between what you're currently doing and what you truly want to be doing; or when things change for the worse – for example, when you lose a supportive boss, or when your workload increases beyond a sustainable point.
You go through "the motions" instead of being truly engaged. Over time, this may lead to cynicism, exhaustion, and, sometimes, poor performance.
9 Habits to Beating Burnout
Fortunately, there are several things we can do to avoid burnout at work. We will touch on some of these habits below.
1. Set healthy boundaries
In order to prevent burnout, it's important to set healthy boundaries. This means taking steps to manage our time and energy and making sure that our work doesn't overwhelm us. Make sure you schedule time each day for yourself, outside of work. This can be used for relaxation, exercise, or anything else that helps you recharge. If you don't make time for yourself, you'll eventually become overwhelmed and burned out. Make sure to take time for yourself outside of work and don't bring your work home with you.
2. Practice mindfulness
Mindfulness is a practice that can help us manage stress and avoid burnout. It involves being present in the moment and paying attention to our thoughts and feelings. When we're mindful, we're less likely to get caught up in negative thinking patterns or stressful situations. This can help us to stay calm and focused, even when things are tough. Here's a link to some mindfulness worksheets to get you started.
3. Maintain a healthy work-life balance
It can be difficult to maintain a healthy work-life balance, especially when we're under a lot of pressure at work. However, it's important to make time for ourselves and for the things we enjoy outside of work. When we're stressed out or burned out, it's difficult to focus on anything else. If you can't seem to disconnect, try meditation or yoga to help clear your mind.
4. Make time for activities you enjoy
Another way to avoid burnout is to make time for activities you enjoy. This could be something as simple as reading a book, going for a walk, or spending time with friends and family. When we take time for ourselves, we're able to recharge and come back to work feeling refreshed.
5. Take regular breaks
Another way to help avoid burnout is to take regular breaks. This could mean stepping away from your computer for a few minutes every 30 mins or hour, going for a walk outside, or spending time with friends and family. Breaks allow us to refresh our minds and come back to work with a fresh perspective.
6. Connect with supportive people
It's important to connect with supportive people when we're feeling overwhelmed or stressed. These people can provide us with valuable support and a listening ear. They can also help us stay positive and motivated. Talk with your manager about your feelings about work, your goals and what issues you are currently up against.
7. Get enough sleep
Most adults need seven to eight hours of sleep per night. When we don't get enough sleep, it can take a toll on our mental and physical health. Symptoms of sleep deprivation include feeling tired, irritable, and having trouble focusing. If you're experiencing these symptoms, it's important to make sure you're getting enough sleep
8. Eat a healthy diet
Eating nutritious foods helps your body to function at its best. A healthy diet is important for avoiding burnout. Eating nutritious foods helps your body to function at its best. Preparing your meals in advance can help you to stick with healthy eating habits. Try to incorporate plenty of fruits and vegetables.
9. Exercise regularly
Most adults need at least thirty minutes of exercise per day. When we don't get enough exercise, it can take a toll on our mental and physical health. Symptoms of exercise deprivation include feeling tired, irritable, and having trouble focusing. If you're experiencing these symptoms, it's important to make sure you're getting enough exercise. Exercise is an important part of maintaining a healthy work-life balance. It can help us clear our minds and rejuvenate our bodies. Exercise also releases endorphins, which have mood-boosting effects.
If you're feeling burntout, try these habits. They may help you to feel more energetic and motivated. One of the best ways to avoid burnout is to develop healthy habits. This means eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, and getting enough sleep. It's also important to find ways to reduce stress in your life. This might include meditation, yoga, or even just spending time with friends and family. As well as taking breaks when you need them. This might mean taking a vacation or even just taking a few days off work each month.
Finally, it's important to keep perspective. Remember that your career is not the most important thing in your life. Make sure to schedule time for activities that you enjoy outside of work. This will help you maintain a healthy and happy life!