When you have projects, presentations, and deadlines piling on top of each other, it’s easy to get lost in it all. When the stress becomes overwhelming, you put yourself at risk for burnout on the job, a state that will make it even harder for you to handle all of your responsibilities.
Workplace burnout goes beyond being tired or a little bit overworked. When you experience burnout, you face inhibiting problems, such as the inability to concentrate or focus, lasting exhaustion, loss of motivation, or even emotional withdrawal. Although being overstressed typically entails too much, burnout entails not enough; namely, not enough hope, motivation, or energy to complete your work or deal with responsibilities. There is no question, then, that that the effects of burnout can negatively impact your productivity, personal life, and career.
So, what causes burnout? It’s the result of chronic and extreme stress. When too much stress continues for a long period of time, you become unable to deal with it any longer. Typically, the stress stems from responsibilities at work, but often, you can place the stress on yourself. If you are taking on extra jobs or extra work to get ahead in the workplace or climb the corporate ladder, you may find yourself causing your own burnout.
However, if you have a lot of work responsibilities, burnout on the job is not inevitable. Here are four ways to prevent burnout.
1. Eat, Sleep, and Exercise
You have likely heard this advice thousands of times, but for some reason, we tend to ignore it and push it to the back of our minds. It never hurts to get another reminder that your physical health depends on how you treat your body. When you take care of yourself physically, you will better be able to handle stresses emotionally, which will work to prevent burnout.
Make sure you are eating healthy, getting full nights of sleep, and exercising weekly. All of these work to combat stress, lowering your risk of developing burnout. While this tip seems obvious, it is perhaps the most important.
2. Practice Mind-Body Exercises
Mind-Body exercises enable you to relax and focus solely on your body and how you are feeling. When doing these exercises, you focus on the present, rather than the worries and stresses of the past or the future, and on the interconnectedness between your physical body, your mental state, and the surrounding environment.
Exercises include yoga, pilates, meditation, and breathing exercises. The breathing exercises are especially helpful if you don’t have a lot of extra time. You can practice breathing when you get up in the morning or before you go to bed at night to help you both prepare for and rewind from the daily stressors. These exercises are incredibly helpful for people who struggle to manage stress or have too much on their plate.
3. Use Breaks Wisely
If you are prone to stress, chances are that you have heard from everyone that you need to take a break. However, taking a break may not do you any good if you do not know how to spend it. Taking a break does not mean putting down one responsibility for a couple of hours just to work on a different one. Breaks should be a time of no stress that allows your body and mind to recuperate.
When taking breaks, you should focus on relaxation and stay away from technology. Do something you want that has nothing to do with work. This can mean a million of different things, so it’s important to figure out what works for you. You can simply rest, work on those aforementioned breathing exercises, read, write, or stress. Whatever you decide, make it about yourself and your “Me Time.” Do something that relaxes you, motivates you, and inspires you. Take short breaks daily to keep the stress low and longer breaks weekly to re-energize yourself.
4. Learn Your Limits
You will get burned out when you take more work than you can handle. Learn how to say “no” to tasks that will cause you to overextend yourself and lead to burnout. Finding your limits and setting your boundaries will take some trial and error, so be aware of how much work you are doing at all times. When you start to feel yourself getting overly stressed, look at everything that you have going on and try to eliminate some of the stressors. Additionally, try not to take on extra tasks when you are already feeling overwhelmed.
When you experience burnout on the job, you limit yourself severely from being productive and moving towards any of your goals. Take care of your mind and body and prevent burnout so you can keep moving forward.