Burnout is a real and quite damaging condition. Once you find yourself suffering from burnout, it can be difficult to turn your life around, with some people I speak to taking up to 2 years to feel fully back to who they are. This is why it is necessary to take steps to try and avoid burnout. Prevention being better than cure.
1. Set Boundaries
This can be quite a tough thing to do, for a lot of people but no matter what your profession may be, or where you sit in the company you work for, it’s important to have boundaries. You can’t be available around the clock; this is simply impossible. So, to prevent burnout, it’s critical to establish boundaries of times you will not be available. This means that you won’t be in the office or available by phone or email during these times. If you are in a management position, it might help to post these hours somewhere or adjust your email auto-reply, so people know you will answer as soon as you are available AND respect the boundaries set by others in your team.
Setting boundaries is also important outside of work to stop being dragged into activities that really don’t support you. Yes, it can be hard to do but others will soon respect your decision and you start to control your life rather than letting others control it for you.
2. Have A Work-Life Balance
In truth there is no such thing as a work-life balance…only life. Besides just setting boundaries, you need to have time to do things that aren’t workplace-related. This means you have time for your hobbies, your family, and just doing what you love. This doesn’t have to be complicated, and it could be as simple as taking one afternoon a week to go for a walk in your favorite park. Whatever it may be, it needs to be something you want to do, and you need to put your foot down if work ever tries to interfere with your time. Yep, make time for Me Time!
3. Put Yourself First
Whatever could be going on at your job, if you start not to feel well or feel overwhelmed, you need to put yourself first. This means that, even if your group just started a new project, if you need a mental health day, you take one. You will be no use to your group if you begin to feel burnout and your mental abilities begin to deteriorate.
In the Clifton StrengthsFinder one talent theme is Responsibility and I do find it interesting that those people who have Responsibility in their Top5 tend to be more focused on the responsibility of getting the job done, or helping others, before they look after their own needs which leads to problems later, even burnout.
Using that talent on you first, putting yourself first, is especially important when you start to feel the symptoms of an illness. Although it may be tempting to say it’s just a cold and go to work anyways, this will only make you feel worse and put yourself closer to burnout. Stay home and rest instead. If you are already working from home you can still take a day off. Just stop.
Overall, in this day and age, it may seem difficult to avoid the condition of burnout. But you can—as long as you remember to set boundaries, have a work-life balance, and put yourself first. And if you follow these tips, not only will you avoid the damages of burnout, but you’ll also go through life feeling less stressed as well.
These tips are just for starters. If anything here resonated with you and you’d like to know more just get in touch, by using the link in my bio.
Look out for our Beating Burnout workshop and book, coming soon. Contact me now for details.