Anyone that has held a job for a few years, even six months, may have encountered burnout. Burnout can be physical or mental exhaustion.
The passion that once flamed for the job has burned out and you are left dreading the feeling of going into work. You may have anxiety or are constantly overwhelmed. The constant stress has you in fight or flight and your energy is gone.
Burnout is more than working hard, burnout affects all areas of your life. At work, your productivity goes down, you may feel cynical and resentful at the job and you can’t seem to find the answers that are usually right in front of you.
At home, you may have a short fuse with your family and struggle to wake up and get out the door. At night you may zone out completely and have a hard time focusing on what matters.
Why Do We Burn Out
A typical job schedule in the United States is 40 hours a week. You may work a little less some weeks and a little more other weeks. Some people work a lot more than 40 hours a week, every week.
When you spend this kind of time in one place, it is easy to see that a person can burnout. To be more specific, some of the reasons people burn out are:
- Job repetition
- Low salary
- High volume of workload
- Staying in the same place for too long
- No room for advancement
- Lack of social connection
There are many contributing factors to burnout, and it can vary by person. Burnout for one person may come a lot later than someone else. The breaking point for each person can change. It is important to recognize the causes and the symptoms of burnout so you can make a shift.
What Everyone Is Wrong About Burning Out
Before we dive into how to fix a burnout, I want to bust the myths many have about burning out. Only by understanding burn out more will you be able to fix it from the root.
Myth #1: Because you’re burned out, you are weak or cannot handle stress.
This is not the case, in fact, burning out is the opposite. It is your body’s way of showing you that it is time to slow down so you can handle the stress.
When you burnout, your body and your mental brain can become cluttered. When you recognize this, you can make a shift and reevaluate what you are working toward. Our natural instinct is to blame ourselves. However, no one is made to handle that stress load for long periods of time.
When you look at successful entrepreneurs and see the load in which they carry each day, you have to recognize that they have tools in place to support them and a team to help. No one person, can do it all.
Myth #2: You should keep burnout a secret.
If you keep burnout a secret, you are risking your well being. I am not asking you to stand on top of your desk at work and scream out loud saying that you are tired. What I am saying is to find a partner to communicate with. This can be a co-worker, a friend, or your partner.
The Burnout Fixing Plan
Fixing burnout could be a simple self care routine that you implement each day or it can be jetting off for a week of unplugged vacation time.
There are many strategies that can support you and here are a few of my favorites.
Set a Goal and Stick to It
Take a look at your current goals, do you have too many things to focus on, but lose the focus for the most important things? Maybe what mattered two years ago when you took this job no longer matters now.
Either way, take a look at your goals and assess what you want to keep and what you want to let go.
Activity breeds more activity. When you start to get busy, life gives you more things to do. You have to get clear on what matches your goals and is aligned with your long term plan.
Get More Sleep No Matter What
Late night work may have seemed productive for some; but the reality is it hurts more than it helps. Let go of the late nights and hit the pillow sooner.
When you get more sleep, you can better handle the problems that life throws at you. Instead of reacting, you can create a plan and start shifting.
If you are afraid of not getting enough done, take a look at your priorities and start looking at what is on your plate that does not matter.
Go to bed early and wake up early before everyone else. You can get 8 hours of sleep and work for 90 minutes uninterrupted in the morning.
It may take practice, yet when you show up each day and make this a new habit, it will become easier.
Don’t Skip Breaks
A vacation allows you to temporarily leave the stressor. When you get into an argument with your partner, you may allow yourself to walk away before you resume the argument to make sure you don’t yell.
This applies to work too. If you find yourself on a short fuse, take time off. If your natural instinct is to shut everyone out and become a hermit when times get tough, take a break. Separate yourself from the stressor.
The break will help you regain your focus and you can spend some time shutting off your brain to reset.
Reset Your Body, Reset Your Brain
Right now you may be thinking, I can’t just leave my job this week. I have two major projects due and I have a coffee date planned. That is okay, start small and build up.
Start tonight by setting an alarm on your phone an hour before bed. When the alarm goes off, write down your number one priority for tomorrow, plan out your day, and brush your teeth. Go to bed fifteen minutes earlier and get more sleep.
Taking care of yourself is the best thing you can do for yourself if you are feeling overwhelmed.