By Katie Pierce
Burnout is a distinct type of chronic stress frequently associated with excessive workload. While having a strong desire to achieve your career goals is admirable, you should be mindful of unhealthy habits such as working long hours every day, taking on too many responsibilities, and responding to emails even late at night. Unless you pay close attention to the signs, these types of habits can quickly result in burnout.
You may be on the road to burnout if you’re exhausted all the time, you feel nothing you do is appreciated, or you find yourself wearing period underwear every day because work stress has disrupted your cycle. Other symptoms of job burnout include alienation from work-related activities, irritability in the office, and reduced professional efficacy.
Work burnout decreases an employee’s motivation to learn and grow. When an employee exhibits these signs of burnout, most of their focus and energy is directed at daily survival and not personal or professional development.
Learning how to avoid burnout is critical for anyone with a job. Here are seven natural ways to prevent burnout and reclaim a positive outlook on your work.
Start Your Day Right
How you start your morning sets the tone for the remainder of your day. Instead of starting your day in a frenzy—jumping out of bed, skipping breakfast, and rushing out the door, consider slowing down your morning.
Set your alarm fifteen minutes earlier than usual and spend the time meditating, stretching gently, journaling, or reading something inspirational. When you develop healthy morning habits, you set the stage for a successful day.
An exhausted brain may desire to work longer hours to make up for lost time throughout the day. However, staying late in the workplace or working overtime may result in burnout. This will eventually deplete your energy, enthusiasm, and motivation.
Setting a strict stop time to your workday is critical for avoiding burnout. Establish clear limits and refrain from checking and responding to emails after your shift. Set a clear cutoff point and remind yourself that you need a life outside of work.
Learn to Say No
While you may be the type of person who enjoys doing things for others, you should avoid overextending yourself. To help manage your psychological health, do not be afraid to say no—particularly to those who place unreasonable demands on your time.
Whether you say yes out of guilt or a misguided belief that you can “do it all,” learning to say no to more requests helps decrease stress and frees up time for what matters most.
Many people do not take breaks at work. Perhaps you’re too busy, pressed for time, or worried about losing your momentum. However, taking a break to refuel your brain will keep your thinking brain sharp and energized.
Make a conscious effort to get up from your desk and move about. Take a little stroll, grab a cup of coffee, and spend a few minutes staring at something other than your screen. By taking breaks rather than powering through, you are likely to do more work in less time.
Have Lunch Away from Your Desk
When you’re pressed for time, it’s all too tempting to eat at your desk or skip lunch entirely. Rather than doing that, plot your lunchtime on your calendar so that you are reminded to eat.
Take an uninterrupted lunch break away from your workstation. Even better, enjoy lunch with colleagues somewhere away from the office. Allowing yourself time away from your computer screen gives your brain a chance to relax and recharge, leaving you refreshed and energized when you return to the workplace.
It is critical to incorporate movement throughout your workday. Without movement, your body stiffens and loses its ability to function properly, resulting in brain fog, back and neck pain, and even injury.
Every hour, stand up and move about for a few minutes. Stretch, walk to the printer, or take the stairs instead of the elevator. Go talk with a colleague in person instead of simply sending a message or an email or calling on the phone. Once you start moving, you’ll notice an improved mood, increased energy, and a clearer mind.
Get Enough Sleep
A good night’s sleep is essential for recovering after a long day at work. Sleep helps you detox to rejuvenate your body by replacing old cells with fresh, energized ones. Quality sleep does not only remove toxins from your liver to promote healthy muscle growth, but it also flushes out toxins from your brain, improving your cognitive performance.
Burnout may strike anyone, even if your job is generally fun and stimulating. If you recognize any signs of impending burnout, keep in mind that ignoring them will only make things worse. However, you can prevent burnout from becoming a full-blown breakdown if you follow the steps above to restore balance in your life.