How to avoid burnout at work
Job stress and burnout (a state of emotional, mental, and physical exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress) are huge issues in the UK — in fact, a study of leading British companies shows that 80% of executives fear that they’ll lose employees to burnout within a year and that one in three workers is thought to suffer from burnout, while the NHS found that 40% of workplace related illness is down to stress.
If you feel like you’re probably a part of one of those statistics, there are things you can do. Instead of trying to ignore burnout, or push through it, try instead to:
Figure out your big ‘why’
This is key to avoiding burnout: understanding the ultimate reason that you’re doing the work you’re doing gives you the motivation you need to keep going when things are hard.
What’s more, when you get very clear on your “why” from the beginning and make sure it aligns with your values and beliefs, you can avoid falling into situations where you end up working very hard for an end result that you don’t actually want, which is a great recipe for burnout.
Take care of yourself mentally and physically
You’d never go to work drunk — but studies show that even moderate sleep deprivation has a comparable effect on your performance. There’s no way that you can perform at your peak if you’re not taking care of yourself physically, and vice versa. While many people try to power through the day on caffeine and a few hours’ sleep, this is terrible for your health and for your productivity, so get the sleep you need, eat foods that power you up, and move in a way that makes you feel good.
Likewise, you need to take care of your mental health by getting some time away from your work. Hobbies and other activities aren’t indulgences. They’re necessary for your brain to have the rest and alternative stimulation it needs so that you can be really focused when you are working.
Forget productivity, go for flow
In the past decade or two, it was all about productivity and multitasking. But focusing on always doing more, more, more won’t get you the results you want, and it makes you more prone to burnout.
Instead, focus on getting into flow: that state in which you get so focused on one thing that you lose track of time and end up feeling accomplished and energised, not worn down. The key is to focus on one task at a time, and to focus on tasks that are challenging, but not overwhelming.
If you start to burn out, take it seriously.
It’s really easy to think that you can power through something like burnout, especially if you’re really ambitious and hard working. But trying to force yourself to keep going through burnout is like trying to run a marathon with a pulled muscle — all you’re going to do is damage yourself, maybe permanently. So if you do start to feel stressed or burned out, take it seriously and get the help you need to get back to your best.
What’s your take? How do you keep from getting burned out? Tell us below in the comments!