Five things you can do to overcome burnout • Troy Media
Like many people, I faced significant challenges and burnout in the past year. It was so bad that I told my team in September that I was going to take a three to six month sabbatical starting in December.
However, by the time January rolled around, and after only a few weeks of vacation, I was ready to go again and felt invigorated. Here are some things you can do if you’re dealing with burnout but can’t afford to take a sabbatical.
Identify what bothers you: Burnout is usually caused by prolonged periods of stress that may or may not be related to your job. Identifying the underlying cause of your burnout and stress can be harder than it looks.
We often want to point out the challenges we face in our work without acknowledging that there may be an elephant in the room that we are not paying enough attention to.
In my case, while I felt stressed about my job, the reality was that I was stressed about factors beyond my control that affected my clients. I was overwhelmed with trying to continue supporting business owners struggling with the effects of Covid lockdowns, as well as my particular struggle with vaccination mandates.
Once I was able to verbalize my challenges and make decisions about how to deal with those issues, my stress level went down. Identifying the underlying issues that are sapping your energy is the first thing you need to do to rejuvenate yourself.
Change orientation: Once you have identified the overriding issues for your internal struggle and resolved them or at least acknowledged that there may be no apparent solution to the challenges they represent, you allow yourself to move on. Giving yourself new things to think about that break your internal mental cycle of self-talk is key to recharging your batteries. This can mean that you may need to take on a new project at work, change your office or workspace, rearrange your work, or take on new clients or new responsibilities.
If changes at work aren’t a viable option, try a new hobby, meet new people, get a new pet. Resetting our brain can allow us to look at our lives from a different perspective.
Look outside of yourself and your work: There is a saying that goes “I cried because I had no shoes until I met a man who had no feet”. Very often we wallow in our self-pity without realizing how much we really have it. Look around at your colleagues, friends and people in your community and start counting your blessings.
One of the best ways to recharge is to focus more on others and less on ourselves. Volunteering or supporting people who need our help, our presence and our energy can give us a new lease of life and distract us from our awareness of our personal problems.
Being present at work: Often, as individuals, we dwell on our failures. I was recently told that one of my presentations didn’t go as well as I had hoped. To be honest, I was humbled and disappointed. I had let something that had happened months before and was now beyond my control affect my entire week. This is not uncommon; as humans, we dwell on our past mistakes, and mistakes and events long past affect how we think and feel today.
Unfortunately, in most cases there is nothing we can do to change them and we have to move on. We can only control what happens to us in the present.
If we are at work, we need to focus on the tasks at hand and do them with the care and attention they deserve. As they say, time doesn’t stand still for anyone, no matter how good we think we are. How many opportunities for joy and fulfillment do we lose every day because we dwell on past failures or are distracted by our envy of others and their social media posts?
Leave work at work: I realized early in my career that no one really cared what happened to me at work, and the best thing I could do was leave my job at work. The same goes for you.
When you walk into your home, you should be able to focus on the things that are important to you at home, the people you love, your hobbies, your pets, your to-do list, your friends and family. . Establishing clear boundaries between work and home can be revitalizing in itself. Turn off your phone or laptop and don’t respond to texts or emails outside of reasonable working hours. You might be surprised when you realize how much energy your thoughts about work were taking up in your free time and how invigorated you feel returning to the office after a truly workless weekend.
My burnout didn’t go away after a weekend; it took months. But after identifying the underlying issues, quitting my job at work, and changing direction, I was able to recharge my batteries and reestablish my passion for making a difference for my clients.
I hope that if you go through a similar struggle, you will also be revitalized and love what you do again.
Dave Fuller, MBA, is an award-winning business coach and partner of Head of Pivot Inc..
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