Professionals who experience burnout from work are often experiencing other difficulties in life that are compounding. While burnout can feel like a never-ending set of negative emotions, you can learn how to recover from burnout and feel better. If you do things right, burnout recovery may not even take very long!
Burnout can come with physical and mental symptoms. Meanwhile, you can suffer from burnout even if you are satisfied with your job and career. Therefore, learning how to recover from burnout is essential if you want to continue being productive and satisfied in your life and career.
Does Exhaustion Cause All Burnouts?
Christina Maslach and Herbert Freudenberger coined the term “burnout” in the 70s. As psychologists, they independently understudied the impact of burnout on health workers and social service workers. They targeted their respondents based on chronic stress experienced, as well as the volume of interaction they had with others daily.
They discovered that burnout is not necessarily about exhaustion. There could be a detachment that comes in the form of displaying cynical behaviors towards clients or colleagues.
Also, it could come in the form of a sense of hopelessness or self-defeat with work.
Maslach subsequently came up with the Maslach Burnout Inventory, or MBI. This model is an inventory of 22 things that measure the three dimensions of burnout: depersonalization, emotional exhaustion, and personal accomplishment. This model eventually turned out to be a measuring tool, or a blueprint, in the industry.
Furthermore, a group of Danish scientists developed a newer model known as the Copenhagen Burnout Inventory, or CBI. This model analyzed burnout on three different dimensions: personal, work-related, and client-related.
All the aforementioned burnout models are quite complex, so instead of looking at them, you can consider these symptoms to see if you’re experiencing burnout. From there, you can begin to learn how to recover from burnout in a way that is unique to you.
Symptoms of Burnout From Work
Symptoms of burnout vary widely depending on the type of work you do, the environment you work in, the the kind of personality you have. If you notice any of these things, it may be a sign that you’re experiencing burnout:
- You’ve lost interest in your present job or project but cannot terminate it.
- You’re always exhausted.
- You need to motivate yourself to carry out the smallest tasks.
- You feel you are compensated less compared to the value you bring into the job or project.
- You have withdrawn from interacting with others.
- You become short-tempered while communicating with clients and colleagues.
- You have turned to bad habits like drugs, alcohol, high sugar intake, sedentary lifestyle, or overeating.
- You question life and career choices generally.
- You are experiencing physical symptoms like headaches, heart palpitations, or stomachaches.
The good news is that you can come out of it and learn how to recover from burnout once you become aware of the signs.
5 Strategies to Recover From Burnout Quickly
The following strategies may help you bounce back from burnout.
1. Focus On Your Projects
The famous American Psychologist Abraham Maslow, in 1943, reiterated that anyone could achieve happiness as long as they can expressed themselves and maximized their potential.
This is what he termed “self-actualization.” He warned:
“The story of the human race is that of men and women selling themselves short.”
Successful leaders of companies understand the significance of self-actualization. That’s why they allow their employees to work on personal or social projects. They also enable their workers to come up with and own social projects, which they implement as corporate social responsibilities.
If you’re working a 9-5 job, ensure you dedicate some hours in the morning or evening to personal projects, such as creating a blog or an app that solves problems for others.
That way, you can express your values while striving to attain your professional goals. This will help you feel a sense of control over how you are spending your time. Set boundaries between your personal and professional life to improve this.
2. Practice Mindfulness
Meditation is a time-tested strategy to deal with burnout. According to research from Denmark, consistent meditation is connected to the development of more gray matter in your brain stem. This can improve memory, self-control, decision-making, and more.
You can rewire your mind and brain to be more focused and productive by practicing meditation daily. Start small. Take a 10-minute break during work or early in the morning to practice mindfulness.
3. Detoxify Through Exercise
Toxins are poisons locked up in your system. One of the best things to do when you are learning how to recover from burnout is to detoxify through exercise. Exercise can increase your heart rate, which pumps blood faster and detoxifies your system.
Have you noticed that you naturally feel better after a prolonged exercise that raises your blood pressure?
Anxiety is one of the major symptoms you will experience when you’re burned out from work, and exercise is a great way to quickly relieve that anxiety.
Joshua Broman, in a 2004 study, revealed that students who practiced exercise became less sensitive to anxiety. Several additional studies have buttressed this benefit.
Incorporate regular exercise into your routine by swimming before work, taking a long walk in the afternoon, or spending some time at the gym in the evening.
4. Practice Journaling
Writing can heal. Writing about your emotions and experiences on a daily basis helps you process them, which can expedite the healing process.
One prominent literature review supported the idea that writing about your experiences can generate long term improvements in your mood and health.
How do you experience this healing when you are burned out from work life?
Keep a professional journal!
For instance, you can take a thirty-minute break during your weekends or quiet moments to assess your performance, progress, and the challenges you have faced in the past few days.
Itemize your achievements — the projects as well as the challenges that are holding you back. You can also list some uncertainties or questions about your present work. That way, you can discover patterns in your professional life and reflect on the next action to take.
Journaling can enable you to discover solutions to potential issues before they surface. This technique is highly practical for those who love expressing themselves. However, if you don’t enjoy writing, you can use the bullet point format or memo feature on your phone to record answers to those questions.
5. Estimate the Tasks
Do you often feel like a superhuman when it comes to working, and then barely complete half of what you have planned to do?
If this is a common problem for you, try to learn how to accurately estimate how much time a task will take and how many tasks you can do in a day. When in doubt, overestimate the time.
It takes practice to become perfect in estimating tasks. Nevertheless, a surefire strategy that you can use to ensure you are working on the most important tasks is called the Eisenhower Decision Matrix, shown below.
You can recover from burnout by revamping your work strategy using this model. Find out what task deserves most of your attention and in what order by establishing priorities.
5 Job Burnout Triggers
Once you have learned how to recover from burnout, it’s important to be able to recognize burnout triggers so that you can avoid more burnout in the future. Burnout recovery is best when you don’t have to use it!
There are many things that may trigger burnout. Here are the most common culprits.
You can be more productive when you are working on a workload that aligns with your capacity. You will face more opportunities to rest and recover. It will also be an avenue for you to develop yourself and grow.
That’s not the case when you are overloaded with work or are facing unrealistic deadlines set by your boss. You will lose the chance of regaining your balance.
2. Absence of Autonomy
The feeling that you don’t have access to vital resources and a say in various decisions that affect your professional life can impact your health.
For instance, do you receive calls from your boss all night? Does your company saddle you with responsibilities beyond your capacity? Do you have what it takes to influence your work environment?
Who do you collaborate with? How trusting and supportive are those work relationships? In some instances, you can’t choose your work environment or colleagues, but you can optimize the relationship.
Your environment can upgrade your engagement or downgrade it.
If the intrinsic and extrinsic rewards on the job don’t align with your level of effort, you may begin to feel a lack of motivation to exert any effort at all.
For instance, you may need a face-time with your employer, positive feedback, or an increase in your compensation.
Find out which reward makes you feel appreciated, and seek avenues to receive more of it.
5. Values Mismatch
If you are working in an organization that doesn’t share your same values, you will continue to see a decline in your level of motivation. Motivations and values are inbuilt in people and organizations. For instance, if you strongly believe in making an impact first, before money, you will experience burnout on the job in an organization that prioritizes money over impact.
Burnout from work is not only about getting exhausted. It is a multidimensional issue that demands a multifaceted solution.
Don’t forget, you need to diagnose the problem first and make the best effort to change. If, despite all, you still fail, then you might need to reassess your work and decide if you’re where you need to be.
More Tips on How to Recover From Burnout
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