Our top six tips for burnout recovery
Nicola's TOP Six Tips to Recover from Burnout
1. Learn to recognize the symptoms
Burnout has three components: exhaustion, cynicism, and a lack of personal accomplishment. True burnout means that we will experience all three components. With exhaustion, you will likely feel constantly tired and low on energy. Cynicism will leave you feeling disengaged from work, possibly withdrawn and generally glum. Lastly, a lack of personal accomplishment will result in a loss of productivity and reduced goal attainment.
Like mental health, it is essential to compare your or someone’s current behaviour with a baseline behaviour to measure potential deviance. Are you more irritable, pessimistic, or tired than usual? You may have mixed deadlines, have difficulty making decisions, or have frequent sick days. Chronic stress and burnout show up in the body. Symptoms may include aches and pains, headaches, hair loss, high blood pressure, gastrointestinal upset, muscle pain, skin rashes, excessive sleep, or weight gain.
In others, you might notice a sudden change in appearance or behaviour, such as withdrawal or irritability. These signals could be a cry for help.
2. Build recovery into your schedule
If you have less severe burnout, you can schedule periods of rest, relaxation, and downtime throughout the week. These times will help you to rest and recharge. When resting, it is best to refrain from thinking about work. Ideas include creating small time limits to think about work or simply reminding yourself that thinking about work negates the benefit of taking time off.
Vacations, wellness retreats, massage and acupuncture can certainly help recovery but are unlikely to solve the problem in the long run. Continue to read for other ideas.
3. Get accustomed with the concept of energy management
Start by making a list of energy robbers and boosters both at work and at home. Next, consider increasing your energy boosters and reducing your energy robberies. For example, if working from home drains your energy and makes you feel isolated, schedule a workout class in your community, work at a coffee shop for an hour each morning, or schedule a mid-day walk with a neighbour.
Alternatively, if a particular type of work task drains you, try rearranging your work bit by bit. Job crafting involves changing your job to suit you better rather than changing yourself. A career or leadership coach will help you move forward with a position that better suits you.
4. Reach out and ask for help
You will need to ask for help to beat stress and burnout. For example, you could approach your manager for support or learn tips to delegate tasks? Engaging a leadership coach could help you grow in these areas. Similarly, can you enlist your family at home to help with the chores, hire a house cleaner, or purchase meal kits?
5. Reconsider your beliefs around self-care
We are often great at caring for others but less so for ourselves. Many of us believe we don’t deserve self-care and keep putting it off. Yet, when we give ourselves permission for self-care, it results in a cascade of healthy outcomes. So stop feeling guilty and create a list of self-care ideas. Consider ideas that help you feel good and replenished.
Finally, take some time to establish work boundaries, such as finishing at 5 p.m. on weekdays and thoroughly checking out of work on the weekends.
6. Improve your emotional regulation skills
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Burnout results from an inability to manage chronic workplace stress. To help, we can develop our emotional regulation skills. Taking time to calm our minds will help us be less reactive to stressors and more present. We can learn to respond to stressors in healthier ways.
To begin, schedule some time each day to calm your mind. A short meditation or mindfulness activity are great ideas to start.