Beating Burnout Before It Burns Your Career
It’s a high-speed, ninety-five in a nine to five kind of life. Burnout feels like a hidden evil in your benefits package, but it’s something everyone’s come to expect and accept as “just part of the job.”
If you’re experiencing burnout, you’ll notice that deadlines stretch out and never seem to end. You may feel apathetic toward aspects of your life that you should feel excited and grateful for. The pounding in your ribcage isn’t chest pains: It’s adrenaline, right? You get your morning coffee, and go, go, GO!
Your passion for your work doesn’t have to fizzle out. Here are ways to beat burnout before it burns up your career:
Set Personal Boundaries to Ensure Work-life Flow
Don’t burn the candle at both ends! Sure, you might get more done if you take work home. In fact, there’s no getting around taking work home. Let go of some of these “facts,” and recognize others. Work-life balance is dead and outdated to many, but the flow of your life and its priorities is still vital. Having a personal life is important to your well-being.
Establish strong boundaries between your personal and professional life. It’ll be a rewarding change, even if it’s taken in small steps:
- Don’t check your work email an hour before bed or an hour after you wake up.
- When you take work home, take manageable tasks and the breaks that should go with them.
- Take your lunch hour at the gym once a week, on a specific day. Don’t change it.
- Tell your boss you don’t accept work calls after eight p.m. unless the building’s literally on fire.
- Use your time to connect with others, no matter if you are at home or work.
- Use your time to check in with yourself, no matter what you’re doing.
Setting personal boundaries is not about building a brick wall between your personal and professional life. So what if work-life balance is dead? Find your flow, and remember to connect with loved ones.
Follow Your Passion
Many still don’t believe that there’s a place for passion in your career, unless you’re giving to charity. Passion is equivalent to getting a hobby to deal with burnout — it’s a nice thing that everyone needs but has no place at work. This is only a fact if you choose to believe it.
If you’re consistently experiencing burnout and feeling depressed, the problem is deeper. Your career makes up a significant part of your time here on Earth. Do you want your tombstone to read “Paid the bills”?
You’re not doing what you want and need to do with your talents. Following your passion is a laughable pipe-dream for some, but realistically your passion may simply be working for a company that has goals in line with your own. Being practical does pay off, but sacrificing who you are is costly, too.
Feed Your Soul and Your Body!
Passion and doing what you love is important, but don’t get a hobby. Get a lifestyle that you desire and deserve, and one that isn’t about all about paying the bills and getting shiny gadgets. Live your life, and seek out experience for fulfillment. Even science says life is better when you live it: Spending your income on experience instead of material items improves your happiness and health. Experience, here, also includes both the practical and passionate aspects of learning that build your career.
Don’t just do what you have to do to survive. Nourish your body so that burnout won’t land you in the hospital due to a chronic illness, with symptoms you’ve always played down. You don’t want your body putting on the “Take a break now!” brakes like that, do you?
The basic routines of properly eating, properly sleeping and spending time with friends and family are important to your health. Listen to your mother and your doctor, and attend to your daily needs to prevent burnout before it happens:
- Establish regular sleep periods to ensure you’re well-rested: Go to bed at your bedtime! Wake up at your wake up time!
- Drink more water, and eat your vegetables.
- Get your check-ups regularly.
- Move that body! Get your yoga on. Walk around the local park.
- Read a book. Read five. Join a book club.
- Take that pottery class! Then take another class.
- Say “No” when you mean it.
- Stop apologizing so much.
Most importantly, check in with yourself. Are your needs being met personally and professionally? Nourish your body and your mind, and don’t view essential daily needs as burdens in your way of doing your best job at work.
Don’t Excuse Burnout Culture
Sure, awkward work-life balance is just the way that professional life works, but at what cost? If occupational burnout becomes an accepted standard within work culture, what does that mean for professionals?
“Burnout” was a term first coined by psychologist Herbert Freudenberger in the 1970s, to explain the chronic stress and high idealized standards of those in the helping professions, such as nurses and doctors. Lately, occupational burnout or “burnout syndrome” has been reported so much among professionals and the media that researchers have been giving “burnout” serious consideration as an illness. Though burnout may have roots in depressive disorders, it’s becoming distinguished in other ways:
- Emotional exhaustion: You feel overloaded, apathetic and drained.
- Physical symptoms experienced: You have issues with stomach pains and digestive issues, primarily.
- Alienation from work activities: You are becoming exceedingly frustrated at your job, and express a cynical attitude. You may notice yourself becoming more isolated at work and even at home. Eventually, this leads to your performance at work suffering. You find it hard to focus or think originally enough to offer creative solutions.
If you’ve noticed some of these signs of burnout, take steps to extinguish burnout before your career and personal well-being suffer. Burnout isn’t part of the job, and you weren’t born to pay bills and die. Find your work-life flow and protect it while nurturing your mind and body.
Guest Author Bio:
Sarah Landrum is a business and career writer with a background in Marketing and Economics. Her blog, Punched Clocks, helps professionals find happiness and success in life and at work. Be sure to subscribe to her newsletter and follow her on social media for more great tips!
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