And, our TOP six tips to recover
from burnout at work
1. Learn to recognize the symptoms
To effectively gauge any potential deviations in your own or someone else’s behaviour, it is crucial to compare current behavior to a baseline or usual behavior. Are there noticeable changes in irritability, pessimism, or fatigue? Perhaps you are struggling to meet deadlines, experiencing difficulty making decisions, or taking frequent sick days. These signs could indicate a cry for help and should be taken seriously.
Chronic stress and burnout are the consequences of an overwhelmed mind, and while you may initially notice symptoms like brain fog or difficulty concentrating, physical signs will eventually manifest in the body. These physical symptoms can include body aches, headaches, hair loss, high blood pressure, gastrointestinal issues, muscle pain, skin rashes, excessive sleepiness, or weight gain.
Burnout itself consists of three core components: exhaustion, cynicism, and a lack of personal accomplishment. True burnout involves experiencing all three components simultaneously. Exhaustion often leads to constant tiredness and a significant lack of energy. Cynicism results in disengagement from work, withdrawal from social interactions, and an overall sense of negativity. Lastly, a lack of personal accomplishment leads to reduced productivity and a sense of failure in achieving goals. Understanding these components of burnout is crucial as we explore strategies for recovery and leading a healthier life.
In order to recover from burnout, it is important to start listening to your body’s signals. Cultivating the habit of asking yourself, “What does my body need today?” can be beneficial. It could be a day of rest, engaging in gentle exercise, or seeking connection with others. By tuning in to your body’s needs and responding to them, you can begin the process of healing and restoring balance in your life.
2. Build recovery into your schedule
Regrettably, a short vacation or wellness retreat alone will not be sufficient for a full recovery from burnout. When experiencing burnout, it becomes crucial to prioritize rest and allow yourself ample time to recuperate from chronic stress. This may involve taking an extended leave from work to facilitate the recovery process. However, it’s important to acknowledge that taking additional time off can be challenging in the current economic and pandemic circumstances. With fewer individuals available to shoulder the workload, you may face work overload, making it necessary to carefully consider how much time you can realistically take off and regularly assess your stress levels.
If your stress levels are less severe, you can allocate specific periods of rest, relaxation, and downtime at the beginning of each week. Setting aside dedicated time for self-care will enable you to rest and recharge.
It is equally important to cultivate a mindset that allows you to detach from work when you are away from it. One approach could be designating a few specific times each day to briefly consider work-related matters. Outside of those designated times, remind yourself that thinking about work while away from it diminishes the benefits of taking time off. By consciously redirecting your thoughts and focusing on other aspects of your life during your time away from work, you can enhance the effectiveness of your recovery and create a healthier work-life balance.
3. Get accustomed to the concept of energy management
Creating a list of energy robbers and energy boosters can be instrumental in managing your overall energy levels. Take time to identify what drains your energy and what enhances it, both at home and at work. Once you have a clear understanding, develop strategies to increase the presence of energy boosters and reduce the impact of energy robbers.
For instance, if working from home leaves you feeling drained and isolated, consider scheduling community workout classes, working at a coffee shop for a change of environment, or planning activities with friends or neighbours to combat isolation and promote social connections. Taking proactive steps to optimize your energy can significantly contribute to your overall well-being and productivity.
4. Learn to ask for help
Seeking help is crucial in overcoming stress and burnout. There are various ways you can ask for assistance and lighten your load. Consider the following suggestions:
1. Help at Work:
- Identify a trusted co-worker who can help share your workload. Collaboration and delegation can alleviate stress and create a more manageable work environment.
- Approach your manager or supervisor to discuss your situation and explore potential solutions. They may be able to provide additional support, offer guidance, or help with task prioritization.
- Seek advice and mentorship from a leadership coach or professional to enhance your skills, improve time management, and develop strategies for coping with stress.
2. Help at Home:
- Enlist the support of your family members in managing household chores and responsibilities. Distributing tasks among family members can lighten the burden and create a more balanced environment.
- Consider hiring a housecleaner temporarily to alleviate some of the cleaning and maintenance responsibilities.
- Explore meal kit services or pre-prepared meals to reduce the time and effort required for meal preparation.
By reaching out for help both at work and home, you can alleviate some of the pressures contributing to your stress and burnout. Remember that seeking support is a sign of strength and self-care, and it can lead to a healthier and more sustainable balance in your life.
5. Reconsider your beliefs around self-care
People often excel at taking care of others, but often neglect their own self-care in the process, mistakenly believing that they should be able to handle everything. However, it’s important to recognize that self-care is a necessity for everyone, and when we prioritize our own well-being, we become more effective and productive in all aspects of life.
Instead of feeling guilty or irresponsible for practicing self-care, it’s crucial to embrace it and start by creating a list of self-care ideas tailored to your needs. Ask yourself what activities or practices would bring you joy and make you feel good. Consider what you find fun or what would make you feel nurtured and cared for. Some examples might include treating yourself to a massage, indulging in a nutritious meal, taking a relaxing shower or bath, or setting aside time to engage in activities that bring you joy and rejuvenation.
Establishing boundaries around work is also vital for maintaining a healthy work-life balance. Set a specific time to finish work each day, such as 5 p.m. on weekdays, and commit to completely disconnecting from work during the weekends. By creating and enforcing these boundaries, you can reclaim valuable time for rest, relaxation, and personal enjoyment.
Remember, prioritizing self-care is not selfish; it’s an essential practice that benefits both your personal well-being and your overall effectiveness in all areas of life.
6. Improve your emotional regulation skills
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), burnout is a condition that arises from an individual’s inability to effectively manage chronic workplace stress. In order to develop resilience and prevent burnout, it is important to cultivate a calm and mindful mindset that allows you to recognize when you are experiencing stress and respond in a healthier manner.