8 Ways to Mitigate Burnout
Telling someone who’s feeling burnt out to relax feels like cheap advice. It’s robotic. We’ve all had those on-the-job greetings - “Good morning, how are you?" - but if you actually take the time to really answer the question, most likely the person greeting you has already walked halfway down the hallway. So if you are feeling burnt out, relax, and "Good morning."
Alternatively, telling someone to take a vacation because they are stressed or feeling burnt out can also be the worst advice ever. Most people feeling burnout are so embedded within their calendar and work that, if they took a vacation, they would be over-consumed with stress by the time they get back due to playing catchup when they return. All in the name of relaxing. Mitigating burnout isn’t as simple as telling someone to relax or go on vacation. Avoiding burnout is a transformation of your daily life. And it’s more complicated than snacking at a 180-degree angle on your couch.
Here are 8 Ways to Mitigate Burnout:
The best way to relieve yourself of possible burnout is to accept the things you cannot control. Often times we find ourselves in situations we think we can fix, but some of these situations have many variables and factors. Policy and management is not always changeable, depending on the position you find yourself in. If the wall is crumbling down, grab an umbrella and enjoy the storm. If your place of employment seems like it’s on fire, roast yourself a s'more over the flame and tell a funny ghost story. If you feel stuck or think you are trapped in a work environment or situation that is dooming, remember you only have control over your own life and choices. You should never give up and always try your best. If you are consciously trying your best, then accepting that you can’t control everything is the first way to stop yourself from burning out.
Avoid Unrealistic Expectations
Having goals is the key to growth and education throughout life. You make goals, 5-Year Plans, or have a career path, but don’t let yourself be extremely disappointed if you shoot for the stars and don’t make it out of the atmosphere. You will be successful and you will achieve your goals, but don’t be unrealistic.
Overscheduling can cause burnout and having a hefty to-do list can cause extreme stress if you don’t accomplish everything you set out to do. Overscheduling projects, meetings and other assignments can be overwhelming. Avoid putting too much on your plate if you don’t think your appetite will enable you to finish.
Answer the Why Question
Another reason goals are key to growth is because they give us purpose. If you become unrealistic about your goals causing imminent failure, you may lose sight of your purpose. If you don’t understand why you are doing what you are doing, it’s easy to become foggy. Metaphorically, it’s like wandering around in a forest realizing you are lost.
When you are at work, connect with your purpose for being there. Are you at work to advance your career? Are you at work because you have to support yourself and your family? Building self-efficacy and being proud of what you are accomplishing when you are in the act is the best route to understanding your purpose. Even if you can’t spiritually get on board with what you are doing on-the-job or if you are not passionate about your current career, understanding this will help you reposition your moral compass. This will put you at ease and avoid feeling burnt out.
Avoiding burnout comes with a responsibility to yourself to stay healthy. Even if you are organized, understand your purpose and accept what you can’t control, you still need balance. Burnout occurs when there is a lack of harmony. Don’t drink yourself into depression or avoid exercise. Staying fit, eating healthy, and getting enough sunlight is key to keeping your own machine intact. Preventative maintenance is not only for automobiles and artificial machinery, it goes a long way with the human body as well.
If your physicality is in a healthy state, this will give your mind clarity. Don’t become a robot. Understand what time of day it is, where you are on the yearly calendar, and keep your body swift and in motion. A self-tune up will make you feel better and will decrease the probability of burnout.
Create Your Own Reality
Social media can make it impossible to live within your own reality. It can almost feel like you are living in everybody else’s reality except your own. And the truth is, social media doesn’t tell the entire story, which molds the perception of reality. It’s easy to get lost in your mind when you constantly compare yourself to others. This alone can cause burnout if you are unhappy in your own work environment and social setting. Social stressors can distort expectations, instigating disappointment and negative self-talk. Worrying about how people perceive you will make you one of the downtrodden and will be a distraction from accomplishing your goals.
Be kind to yourself and don’t be hard on yourself. Self-evaluation and seeing yourself in a negative way can be exhausting and eradicates motivation. Treat yourself with respect and keep positivity in your daily diet to avoid burnout.
Exercise Creative Outlets
Creative outlets are important. You should be able to express yourself even if you can’t do it at work. Many people have passions that exist outside of their day-job and career. If you can’t execute this passion project or activity within your own job, then you need to do it either as a side hustle or leisurely outside of work. Doing so will help you feel more in tune with yourself.
Surrounding yourself with positive friends is a good way to avoid burnout. If your career or job is highly stressful, healthy social circles can be a comforting support system to make sure you stay happy. Negative people can bring you down. Depending on your work environment, people can often fall victim to being the ear for disgruntled and depressed colleagues. It’s important for your own life that you surround yourself with people who make you feel good for the right reasons.
If you are not the best at socializing, joining an intramural sporting league is a great way to stay fit and be around other people. Most of the time, people like yourself join these leagues for the same reasons. If sports is not your thing, try alternate interests, like a book club, a theater group or even online gaming. Online gaming has arrived as a new way of socializing through technology.
You never want to go at it alone. If you find yourself depressed or burnt out, being alone and dealing with it all by yourself can be damaging. Having a healthy support system will help negate any kind of burnout in your life.
Involve a Professional
Oftentimes an artist will say that their work was never really done and they just had to stop.
This is the same for many people. They are too close to the project and too involved in the “weeds” to be able to step out and gain perspective. Hiring a coach or reaching out to a mentor can support you by getting another view of your situation. The outside person can see things you aren’t able to and provide you with direction that may not have been visible to you before.
A coach is also able to provide accountability, making sure that you are taking steps to support yourself from all of the patterns and tendencies you may have had that perpetuate and even cause the feeling of burnout. Plus, coaches have the experience of helping many others in the same situation come out the other side … which is why every client we have had, from entry-level to CEO, has appreciated the time they spent with a coach and noticed a significant change in how they approach work. Out with the negativity, in with the positive!
These 8 ways may not always be the exact answer you need to completely avoid burning yourself out, but the effort is on you. This is a stepping stone for you to avoid losing to burnout. Use it to start game-planning execution so you can live the way you deserve.
Jon Hauer is a freelance writer and digital designer originally from Minnesota now based in Del Rey, CA. He received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Communication Studies from the University of St. Thomas and graduated from Pepperdine University in 2015 with a Master’s of Fine Arts Degree in Writing. He has worked in the tourism/hospitality industry for years and writes professionally on a number of topics including travel, business, marketing, tourism, home services, art, sports, entertainment, news, etc.