How to Avoid Burnout
Craving the weekend on a Monday morning is a sign that something isn't quite right. Whilst Mondays aren't exactly the easiest day of the week, they shouldn't be met with dread, having us feeling fatigued before we've even logged on. Working out why we get burnout, and how we can prevent it, are essential to our mental wellbeing both inside and out of the workplace.
Burnout is exactly what it sounds like - having no mental or physical energy left to burn because of over-exhaustion that can happen both at work as well as in our personal lives. Bad relationships, stressful circumstances, and too many plates spinning at once can leave us feeling like there is nothing left to give. If you're worried you might be approaching burnout stage, or already be there, look out for these symptoms:
Exhaustion, and dreaming of escape; feeling completely drained emotionally as well as physically can leave people suffering from burnout fantasising about running away, or turn to more serious habits such as drugs or alcohol.
Isolation; the constant exhaustion may lead to withdrawal from social situations and prevent sufferers from confiding in their loved ones.
Frequent illness; such as colds, but also mental health conditions including depression and anxiety.
Irritability; over-reacting to minor stresses and inconveniences, as well as lashing out at those closest to them.
If you're experiencing burnout you may often feel like you have nothing left to give, and even getting out of bed can be exhausting. It's not something that can go away on its own, and takes a healthy dose of self-care to overcome. Luckily, there are simple habits we can incorporate into the day to day, as well as more philosophical approaches to life that take a little more work in the longer term to help alleviate burnout.
Exercise; you don't need us telling you why exercise is one of the best things we can do for our physical and mental wellbeing, but it can often become an afterthought after a busy day at work. Take a look at how we squeeze it in around the 9-5.
Eat a Balanced Diet; looking after our bodies can be as simple as a healthy diet. Draw up a meal plan for the week and create a shopping list full of veggies. Set aside time to have lunch every single day, and try to keep your snacks as wholesome as possible.
Prioritise Sleep; 'I'll sleep when I'm dead' becomes a whole lot more ominous when not sleeping well for prolonged periods of time can cause early death. Not to be dramatic, but this point is one of the most important - take a look at our tips for a bedtime routine that will help you feel more rested day in, day out.
Ask For Help; of course your nearest and dearest will want to help you, so if you can't quite figure out what it is you need to feel better, maybe they can offer a helping hand.
Find Purpose; burnout can occur from feeling as though our careers or lives don't have a meaningful impact. Look at ways to find pleasure in your work, rather than clock-watching 'til you can leave. A job that you're excited to wake up for is a job that is far less likely to cause you to burnout. If you can't find joy in your 9-5, perhaps it's time to move on.
Organise Your Priorities; figure out which tasks need doing, and which tasks can wait. By organising your time you'll gain a sense of calm as you realise that not quite everything needs to be done right away. We've discussed the best ways to prioritise productivity if you need a hand figuring out where to begin.
Practice Stress Management; learning what is worth stressing over (very little) and what isn't (almost everything) is key to developing a healthier attitude to both your workload in the 9-5, or any personal hurdles you need to tackle. Compartmentalising stress is the best way to get ahead of burnout.
Take Control; this can be as simple as becoming BFFs with a to-do list and a calendar. Having a sense of control over your future will allow you to take one step at a time in the knowledge that you're on the right path. Allowing your workload to control you is never going to end well, so showing yourself that you're the agent of your own destiny is a great way to go to bed with a peaceful mind.
If you're still feeling overwhelmed after trying a number of different ways to avoid burning out, it might be worth seeking professional help. Speak to your manager about what the company can do for you, or loved ones for any recommendations they might have.