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12 Strategies for Preventing Burnout

Feeling tired, exhausted, and sluggish? Finding it increasingly difficult to complete even the simplest of tasks without feeling stressed out, angry, or frustrated? Somewhere along the way, you crossed an imaginary line between "really tired" and "too exhausted to function;" and you are not quite sure when. Somehow you looked up and your work-life balance is completely out of sync. Boundaries are blurred or burnt to a char. You my friend maybe experiencing burnout.

Burnout is a state of emotional, physical and mental exhaustion usually caused by prolonged stress. It reduces our productivity and saps our energy eventually leaving us feeling like we have nothing more to give. More than just a work thing, the pervasive negative effects of burnout (feeling helpless, cynical, and resentful) often spill over into other areas of our lives including home and social.

Am I on the road to burnout?

Every day is a bad day.

You're exhausted all the time with no medical/physical reason to be.

More and more of your day is spent on mind-numbing, dull tasks (endlessly scrolling through social media, binge watching shows, movies, etc.)

Caring about work or even home life has become a chore and feels more like a waste of energy,

You feel as though nothing you do makes a difference or is even appreciated.

Burnout doesn't sneak up on us all at once. It is a slow and gradual process. The signs and symptoms are subtle initially; however, over time, they begin to worsen. As noted in our article, Extinguish the Burn: Avoid Burnout by Prioritizing Wellness:

"Some signs to be on the lookout for are sleeplessness; frequent illness (i.e. colds, sinus issues, etc.); depression; irritability with family, friends, and coworkers; forgetfulness; lack of interest; feeling trapped; loss of motivation; feeling detached; and increasingly negative outlook. This of course is not an all inclusive list but just a few of the physical, emotional, or behavioral signs and symptoms of burnout. "

Other signs and symptoms can include changes in appetite; procrastination; using food, drugs, or alcohol to cope; skipping work or coming in late and leaving early; and absence of a sense of accomplishment.

When we think of burnout, we often think of the primary cause being from our jobs. Often times this is one of the primary things people list. However, the truth remains, any person who feels overworked and undervalued is at risk from burnout. Picture the hardworking office worker who hasn't had a vacation in years right alongside the stay-at-home mom or the caregiver to aged parents. Any work in which a person feels they have little or no control, lack recognition, have monotonous or unchallenging work, or is chaotic and high pressure can cause burnout.

Burnout is caused by more than just the working conditions; there are also lifestyle and personality factors to consider. Having a lack of close supportive relationships, not getting enough sleep, being a high achieving-Type A personality, having a pessimistic outlook, being overly controlling are some other causes to burnout.

So what can you do? The best medicine is preventative; meaning increasing habits that limit stress. Remember, burnout only occurs on the heavy burden of excessive and prolonged stress. Below are 12 strategies you can try to help prevent burnout.

  1. Build your awareness of the causes and symptoms of burnout and monitor your own job stress or home stress. Act whenever your stress starts to become uncomfortable.

  2. Learn to prioritize. Not everything warrants a do-or-die attitude.

  3. Set realistic goals and expectations for yourself and others.

  4. Break your work down into smaller units and monitor your goals regularly.

  5. Define your purpose or why in life.

  6. Find self-fulfillment outside of your job. Immerse yourself in hobbies or community service activities.

  7. Have a vent session with a trusted friend, colleague, therapist, or coach (I happen to personally know a coach for that!).

  8. Find ways to help others in your network by combining your resources together; they may have new solutions and creative ideas that may help invigorate you.

  9. Take a vacation. Even if it is nothing more than a drive to the next two or three towns over.

  10. Schedule masterminds with other colleagues in other locales.

  11. Remember that your experiences are yours. Don't play the comparison game. You are right where you need to be. Soak in the lessons that contribute to your growth.

  12. Give yourself space and time to bask in your successes instead of ruminating on perceived failures.

A challenge

I preach this often here at EnvisionCo Blog. Make wellness a priority in your life. Identify 1 or maybe 2 of the above strategies and take a few minutes throughout the upcoming week implement them. If you feel you need more guided support on learning more about stress, or a no-nonsense accountability partner, click here to sign up for part one of our four-course bundle on stress management that will assist you with filling your toolbox of wellness strategies.

As always, we appreciate your readership and would love to hear from you. Let us know in the comments below which strategy or strategies you plan to focus on this week. And please remember, as you begin this journey, do not worry about getting it perfect; just get it going. Until next time. Happy reading!

"He who has a why to live can bear with almost any how." ~Frederick Nietzsche

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