What is burnout? Many of us are familiar with this psychological response to constant stress. Burnout is the point of complete physical or emotional exhaustion, often due to prolonged occupational difficulties. Merriam-Webster provides an interesting and more technical perspective of burnout. It defines it as, “the time when a jet or rocket engine stops working because there is no more fuel available.”
Sound familiar? Many of us have hit that point where there is simply no more fuel left in us to give. The benefit of this definition is that it helps us to realize one very important fact: this problem can be fixed. Just because our energy sources may have run dry at this point—whether that is because of an over-allocated work environment or a chaotic position—does not mean we’re “out of fuel” eternally.
We’ve identified five simple ways to not only relieve ourselves of burnout, but avoid it in the first place.
Recognize Your Limitations
Often times the cause of burnout is one trying to be everything to everyone. It will take humility, but learning to say ‘no’ and understanding where to draw the line can go a long way.
Give Yourself a Means of Expression
What do we mean by that? Though it may be difficult to separate yourself from your work during a flutter of activity, pulling away can make you a more well-rounded individual in the long run. Devote time outside of the office to play an instrument, learn a new language, keep a journal, or whatever your preferred method of self-expression may be. Finding an outlet to explore can be a great way to allow your mind to wind down before the next day.
Focus on Today
We often have the tendency to stress about next week’s problems before they’ve even hit us. While it is good to think big picture, it is essential that you focus on what needs to get done today. Learn to center yourself on the present, as this can relieve you of stressful thinking that leads to burnout.
Have a Role Model, Not a Corrival
It is only human to compare ourselves to others, but our method of doing so can either abash or strengthen us. Having someone we aspire to be like and setting goals for ourselves are healthy comparisons. But it’s important that we maintain that balance. Unfair comparisons of ourselves to other people will only lead to more negative feelings and eventually, burning ourselves out.
Maintain a Positive Attitude
If your stress is caused by things like undermining coworkers or an overbearing boss, simply adjusting your perspective can make a world of difference. Try to focus on the best in others and vocalize the valuable traits you notice in them. Your positive energy will create momentum that can be shared by all members of the team.