Burnout is a serious psychological syndrome where the mind and body experience prolonged exposure to chronic stressors at work, and you’re prone to respond with cynicism, irritability, low morale and detachment.
Don’t be the victim of cognitive weariness and emotional exhaustion. You know when you’re about to reach your limit, but you ignore it rather than listening to yourself. Here are 11 ways to refuel yourself when you’re approaching burn out:
1. Stop Working Like Crazy
Put down the tools. Turn off the computer. Cap the pen.
Many people are hesitant to take their vacation days or even a personal sanity day because they’re afraid of what their boss will think. Workers are nervous that their boss will assume they’re entitled and lazy, but they need to remember that burn out is real.
Does your boss handle conversations better in person, by phone or through email? Honesty is the best policy for how close you are to burning out. Lay out all the rational reasons in your mind to make sure they don’t sound like excuses. Back up your claims with evidence and outline why you’ll perform even better once refreshed. Be specific with your request, such as taking one day or one week off — don’t cheat yourself or overstate your needs.
Do the opposite of work during your time off, and don’t check your email or take calls. Take an unpaid break if you must.
2. Find Your Release
What’s your release? Everyone has one. Is it martial arts, cross fit, dancing, painting or gardening? Do you listen to or play music?
Did you leave your release behind in childhood? Get it back.
Go find your release and renew yourself. You may discover a new passion and more about yourself in the process.
3. Take a Break From Coffee and Alcohol
Many people develop unhealthy coping mechanisms for getting through the day. They puff on cigarette after cigarette, and suddenly the pack is empty. They pray for an espresso IV drip but make do with refilling the coffee pot countless times, typically being the one who drains the pot the most. When they have to work late or skip dinner, they rely on a nightcap, night after night, to fall asleep.
Unhealthy coping mechanisms don’t start out unhealthy, but they add up over time. While theanine, an amino acid also found in tea, , over-caffeinating can lead to increased heart rate and negate benefits. Moderation is best.
Take a break from coffee, alcohol and other unhealthy substances. Coffee can be replaced with an herbal replacement that tastes nearly the same, such as chicory and dandelion root. Start small by not allowing yourself cigarettes or coffee after noon, for example.
4. Fast From Social Media
Some professionals must remain on social media all day as a part of their job, and they later deal with their personal social media streams. That’s a long time to be on the internet, faced with the woes of the world.
Particular social media behaviors can lead to depression. Of 11 current studies, . Among those findings, those who posted negative statuses, felt triggered by others’ statuses, got obsessed over online identity and had exes as friends on their social media were more likely to feel depression induced by social media.
If that sounds like you, take a social media fast stat. Take a day, weekend or week. Then, try a month.
5. Refresh Your Goals
Refresh your goals to renew yourself — it’s . Set small and large goals for yourself since having clear-cut strategies for success in mind increases the likelihood that you’ll accomplish what you set about doing. Don’t be afraid of challenging yourself more this year and setting higher goals.
6. Confide in Someone
While it’s normal to rant, don’t let that negativity live in your body. Don’t continue to nurse it. Dig deeper and confide when you talk to someone about the stress in your life.
Express your intention as to what you want to get out of the talk. Do you want validation, empathy or advice?
7. Do It Differently
Sometimes, all you need is a change of perspective or course. Often, you can do that for yourself in your personal life. However, when it comes to your professional life, you may need to ask permission to take on different responsibilities or try a different strategy that leaves you feeling less likely to burn out.
Approach your boss logically and with evidence. Your boss won’t fire you: It to replace you on average. Ask to move to another account or discuss in detail an alternative approach you have in mind. Maybe it involves you working as a team with someone instead of on your own. Do it differently to see and feel the experience differently.
Life is too short for boring — play more. Go swing on the swing sets, hum under your breath and skip to your next meeting. Make mind-numbing tasks more interesting by inserting imagination and play into new challenges, such as adding “turkey truth” successfully into a line of copywriting. Time will be more kind to you, too.
9. Work Smarter
You should know your best times of the day by now and how you best tackle tasks and communicate with others. So, gather evidence and create strategies to support your best self, and make work smarter. For example, work in time periods instead of time limits, and tackle the most challenging tasks first or when you have the most energy at a certain part of the day.
10. Say “No”
Forget boundaries. Forget excuses. Sometimes, you have to be bold, and often, you need only to rely on a single word. That word is “no.”
Add a kind smile if you feel a twinge of guilt that you need to deal with but take the initiative to protect your wellness. Say “no,” and exit the scene stage left.
11. Say “Yes”
On the flip side, say “yes” more often to activities and in areas of life you typically avoid or claim you have no time for. Nurture your relationships with your family, friends and partner: Get social. Nourish your relationship with yourself: Treat yourself to cheesecake or a dance lesson.
Live Better Without Burn Out
Listen to your mind and body when you feel triggered and stressed. Notice those triggers and eliminate them. Limit access to social media and say “no” more often.
Don’t overwork yourself only to burn out, especially as it may increase your risk factors for diseases and health concerns. You were meant to do more than pay bills and die — go live your life.
About the Author
Sarah Landrum is the founder of , a career and happiness blog. As a freelance writer, Sarah enjoys writing about a variety of topics from career and business to healthy living. Catch her on Twitter for more great advice.
Photo Credit: Pixabay