The 10 Ways to Combat Burnout
Two-thirds of full-time employees have experienced burnout during their career. The cost of burnout is not limited to the individual and his or her family—it also affects employers through lost workdays and lower employee productivity.
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The 10 Ways to Combat Burnout
Two-thirds of full-time employees have experienced burnout during their career, and 67% of workers believe the pandemic made burnout worse. The cost of burnout is not limited to the individual and his or her family—it also affects employers through lost workdays and lower employee productivity.1
Burnout occurs when individuals are subject to high levels of stress in their work or personal lives that lead to mental and/or physical exhaustion. There’s no single source of burnout; it can arise from the demands of taking care of elderly parents, childcare or excessive hours at work.
Burnout manifests itself in symptoms that include feelings of isolation, irritability, low energy, inadequate sleep, dreading work, escape fantasies and frequent illnesses. Burnout doesn’t happen overnight; it’s a process that typically involves a series of steps, beginning with neglecting personal needs and those of others, moving to impatience and conflict, and culminating in anxiety and depression.
10 Steps for Fighting Burnout
Burnout is avoidable, but it requires you to take proactive steps, such as:
- Reduce your workload and delegate. Too often, people bring upon themselves the stresses of a heavy workload due to a need for control or the pursuit of perfection. Let it go. Delegate duties to staff and accept that, in the real world, perfect is impossible.
- Take control of your time. The feeling of lack of control can be highly stressful. Stop answering 2 a.m. emails or checking-in on work before heading to bed.
- Rediscover your purpose. The deadlines and aggravations of work can cause you to lose sight of the great purpose that originally motivated you. Take time to remember the purpose of your work.
- Rely on your relationships—at work and among friends and family. From them comes the strength and love that restores the spirit.
- Take breaks—physical and mental. Nothing refreshes the mind and body like a good walk or absorbing a book.
- Practice good sleep habits. That means no caffeine, a relaxing bedtime routine, etc.
- Evaluate potential conflicts. Sometimes stress is about a conflict with your personal value system. Examine if you are being asked to do things that conflict with your personal ethics, and address accordingly.
- Reduce exposure to stressors. Work to eliminate contact with the people or things in your life that cause stress.
- Do things that “fill you up.” This could include giving to others, volunteering at the pet shelter or any number of things. The satisfaction of pursuing a passion builds a reserve to deal with life’s stressors.
- Relax. Try meditation, prayer or other relaxation techniques (not drinking!) that brings calm to your mind.
Burnout is not only mentally and emotionally taxing, but can lead to a number of physical health dangers. Being aware of symptoms of burnout and how to address can be lifesaving.
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