Burnout occurs when you experience high levels of stress over a long period of time, and it takes a toll on your physical and mental health. The World Health Organization, which classified the condition as an “occupational phenomenon” last year, lists burnout symptoms as a feeling of exhaustion, increased mental distance, or about one’s work. negative feelings, and decreased professional efficacy.
Here are some steps you can take to avoid work burnout.
Working eight hours straight without office distractions may seem easy, but it can leave you mentally exhausted and emotionally drained. Don’t think you have to stick to your work just because you’re at home. Try to take many breaks throughout the day, and instead of using social media, try a Zoom call with a friend or a walk outside to help you reset.
Maintain Your Schedule
It may be tempting to roll out of bed two minutes before you log in, but pretending you’re getting ready for a day at the office can help get you into a productive mindset. Make a plan for what and when you will accomplish during the day. If there are distractions that cannot be avoided, set expectations with your manager about when you will log on.
Set up Your Workspace
It’s a good idea to choose a dedicated workspace with minimal distractions, whether it’s a home office or a nook in the kitchen. Try to find a place separate from the places you associate with leisure time.
Get Some Exercise
Your gym may be closed, but a socially distanced walk or bike ride around the block can help keep you energized throughout the day. If you can’t devote a large chunk of time to it, small bursts of exercise can be just as effective. Virtual fitness options like apps and online videos can be great options for the colder months.
Keep Yourself Organized
As you wind down, make a to-do list for the next day. Calendar apps and other online productivity tools can help you meet your deadlines, and storage bins can help you declutter your physical space. Distractions like kids, spouses, and housework can be unavoidable, so staying organized will help you easily pick up where you left off.
Unplug During Non-Work Hours
A good work-life balance is crucial to avoiding burnout, and there is evidence that an “always-on” culture does more harm than good in the workplace. Make sure you choose a consistent end time and avoid working at night or on weekends. Resist the to check your email after hours. Also, consider limiting your daily news and social media intake.
Reach Out for Help
If burnout is starting to affect your or your family’s well-being, it may be time to seek professional help. Many healthcare providers have increased access to telehealth services during the pandemic, making it easier than ever to get the help you need.
Burnout can often feel insurmountable. But feeling overwhelmed is a symptom, not a long-term sentence. By understanding the symptoms and causes and implementing these four strategies, you can create a road map to recovery and prevention. Your brutal experience can serve as a turning point that leads you to a more sustainable career and a happier, healthier life.