12 Tactics to Beat Burnout
That nagging feeling of dread that creeps up on you every day. The sense that your work is growing increasingly unmanageable and unimportant. The loss of control that seems to inevitably follow the angst, stress, and discomfort. That’s what we call burnout.
Burnout is a phenomenon that occurs from pushing too hard, for too long, and in the wrong direction. It can be correlated to hustle culture and the desire to sacrifice our personal health for the grind.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with working hard, it’s a necessary part of existing. And if you are pursuing your passion, it should be even easier.
But, burnout is overworking yourself and doing too much of a good thing. Burnout can cause physical and mental ailments such as stress, anxiety, and general discomfort.
Since burnout is something we want to avoid, let’s get a better understanding of what causes it, and therefore, how to fight against it.
What causes burnout
Some common causes of burnout include:
- Prolonged stress
- Lack of personal time/space
- Feeling like your work is not meaningful
- Apathetic feelings towards life in general
- Unhealthy eating, sleep, and exercise routines
- Lack of balance and harmony
There are a myriad of issues that can lead to burnout. We must be self-aware in order to understand when we’re experiencing normal friction, and when we’re actually experiencing burnout.
How to avoid burnout
- Make work manageable: You don’t have to do everything in one day. The goal is to make meaningful progress towards our objectives each day. Use SMART goals to establish what you want to accomplish, then work your way backward to see what is required on a daily basis (e.g. Write a book in six months → write 1000 words each day; Lose 20 pounds in 4 months → Exercise for 20 minutes a day).
- Take a breather: Your body is asking for a break, so do it. Take a mini-vacation, relax, unplug from your stressors. Even just taking a single day to reevaluate your priorities and where your time is going is incredibly helpful for avoiding and recovering from burnout.
- Find harmony: Be connected to your job. If your job itself is the key issue, you may need to find a new one. If it’s the type of work you’re doing, look into what specifically is causing the most stress and work from there. Sometimes, a radical shift is required, other times, a small tweak does the trick.
- Know the breaking point: No one is a pure spartan when it comes to working. You cannot crank out 18-hour days, seven days a week forever, and expect to have no adverse effects. Know your limits and don’t try to consistently push past them. Struggling to be a better person is great, going so far to where your work is no longer productive and is hampering your mental health, is not.
- Find joy in the small things: Life isn’t just about big moments and events. The small actions we do on a daily basis are what make up our lives. Take some time to stop and smell the roses as they say. Even taking just five minutes to practice mediation and mindfulness can be exponentially helpful over time.
- Prioritize free time: Breaks don’t just happen; you need to build rest into your schedule. Set hard and fast guidelines; no work after x hour, x amount of hours of sleep per night, etc.
- Change your environment: Giving your workplace a little makeover can be greatly beneficial in shaking things up.
- Pursue your passion: Work with purpose. If you don’t know your passion, start experimenting. If you’re currently pursuing your passion, find out what the problem is. Self-reflection is key here.
- Frame your stress: Understand that stress is an emotion + chemicals in the brain like anything else. You are not a slave to your feelings and they cannot control you unless you let them.
- Rest: Make sure you’re getting enough sleep each night. Design your bedroom to be more conducive to sleep by investing in a better mattress, blackout curtains, a noise fan, and anything that will improve the quality of your sleep.
- Exercise: Run, lift, do yoga. Whatever you do, get active. Stress and burnout will leave you either pent up or exhausted, nothing that a healthy dose of endorphins can’t help.
- Stay mindful: Stay aware and keep track of your progress. Life is a constant balancing act and you must take stock of your current state compared to your desired state. Don’t be afraid to look your life in the mirror with unflinching candidness.
Burnout is a very real thing we struggle with today. No matter how hardcore you think you are, it can and will affect you. The best thing to do is live your life with self-reflection and mindfulness, and to implement a few of the above tactics and strategies into your life.
Originally published at https://howdiditbegin.com on April 12, 2021.