Avoid burnout before you become crispy. Here are some go-to strategies to help you relax today....
It is kind of obvious once you have hit burnout, the exhaustion, lack of motivation, poor efficacy, and overwhelming doubts of whether you should even be at your job are hard to miss. Maybe it's time to consider a move within your company or career path.
So what is burnout? Burnout is the result of too much stress either from your job, a life situation, or even your personality. In the simplest of terms, burnout is absolute exhaustion, physical, mental, and emotional.
It is a combination of symptoms that cause you to be much less effective at work, less happy at home, and if left unchecked could cause your serious health complications. Burnout can leave you anxious, depressed, unmotivated, and ineffective. The list of symptoms can be vague and sound like just life, but life isn't supposed to feel like burnout.
The first things you will notice looking for burnout are the causes. You will experience poor work-life balance, poor job fit, mismatched values, lack of control, or a dysfunctional work environment that wear on your peace of mind and your sanity. At first, it won't seem like much we have all muscled through hectic times, made it through, and not suffered any consequences.
Then, the symptoms hit. They creep in quietly and gradually as the enjoyment drips from your job and then your life. Perhaps just a general air of negativity and apathy towards your everyday activities. You might just feel stuck or indifferent. But, soon you lose sight of your values and your ability to focus; anxiety, depression, and insomnia set in as your mental faculties deteriorate from the weight of the stress.
Scariest of all, if left unchecked your physical health can begin to take the brunt of the burnout. You may begin noticing weight gain, frequent illnesses, various bouts of pain, high blood pressure, and an increase in the severity of existing conditions.
With burnout being something everybody would live better without, how do we prevent the mental turmoil and physical deterioration?
If you are beginning to experience any of the symptoms of burnout, consider reassessing your interests, skills, and passions and compare against current options. If you have good options, to move within your company or career path, these changes will be the easiest to make and cause the least amount of stress. Identify and manage your stressors as best as you can.
Another thing you can do to lessen the effects of burnout on your health and your life is keep your own attitude in check. Find gratitude and enjoyment in your job and life, it could be your lunch break or the drive home. Just find something you can enjoy and look forward to through your day so it doesn't feel like the deep dark hole. Making a conscious effort to change your attitude may buy you the time to make a change.
Reach out and gather support around you. Friends, family, co-workers, HR, and professional help can all help you through the difficulties associated with burnout and decrease symptoms like depression that make the experience so much worse.
Take time for self-care; it isn't selfish. Getting the time to relax, sleep, and exercise can be vital to curbing burnout before it starts. The required amount of sleep, 7-8 hours a night, can nip exhaustion in the bud and help your concentration. Exercise decreases pain and releases dopamine and serotonin to decrease depression and anxiety.
Nobody wants to go in on Monday morning, but if you are feeling the effects of burnout and especially denying these feelings, you might need to assess your need to be proactive against burnout in your job and in life.
1. Take a Vacation and Fully Unplug
Vacations with loved ones will help entrepreneurs avoid burnout. It's important to put on an out-of-office message, too, and not respond to emails. Another benefit of taking a vacation is you set a good example for hard-working employees.
— Jesse Pujji, Ampush
2. Forget Balance, Find Harmony
I think people who say it’s all about work-life balance are wrong. I value finding passion and harmony in my work by being connected to and caring about my team and my customers and making a big difference in their lives. I would burn out way faster working five hours a day at a job that was hurting my soul than I would working 15 hours a day at a job that's feeding my soul.
—Dan Price, Gravity Payments
3. Know Your Breaking Point
I think most entrepreneurs will tell you it's impossible to unplug—so burnout is almost inevitable. However, it's important to know when you're close to or at a burnout stage. Something as simple as taking a day off, going for a bike ride, or having a fun night out with friends can help to take the edge off.
— Pablo Palatnik, ShadesDaddy.com
4. Fill Your Day With Joy
Our business works to fill our people's day with what they love. When work feels like a job, we redirect those tasks to someone who loves them. Not a great organizer? We have a team member who is. Hate numbers? We've got someone who loves them. We are fueled with so much joy that we have a term around the company called the 'joy hangover.' When work is such a blast, burnout doesn't exist.
— Corey Blake, Round Table Companies
5. Schedule Free Time
Schedule free time on your calendar, just like you would schedule a meeting, and stick to it. It's crucial to take the time you need for yourself, even if it's just 30 minutes a day. You'll get back to work feeling recharged and inspired, and chances are, you'll accomplish a lot more than you would if you worked straight through the day.
—Evrim Oralkan, Travertine Mart
Traveling is the best way to avoid burnout. Take your laptop and spend one to two months working from somewhere else, preferably internationally. With the internet and cloud tools like Dropbox and Skype, there's very little that can't be done from abroad. The change in environment sparks your creativity and allows you to bring new energy into your work.
— Leah Neaderthal, Start Somewhere
Starting a business is a time-consuming endeavor that doesn't end once things start to take off. On the contrary, the more successful you are, the more time you will be asked to contribute toward your enterprise. That’s why it’s important you focus your time and energy on doing something you enjoy and are passionate about.
Naps are not just for children. Instead of having a second cup of coffee, sleep for 20 minutes. It's the best way to refresh the brain.
— Jonathan Swerdin, Fdbk
When I feel so mentally burnt out from juggling multiple projects, there's only one thing that can recharge my brain and my enthusiasm—working out. It's a way to unplug and just focus on the task in front of me, whether I go for a long run or a four-hour bike ride around my city. When I'm done, I have a high so powerful that all of the stress from my day-to-day activities is gone.
— Andrew Vest, Preferling
Personally, I find the best way to avoid burnout is to have an ongoing focus on mindfulness rather than only when on breaks and vacations. Find ways to detach during the week in a way that works for you. Yoga and exercise work for some, while meditation works for others. Be mindful of those moments. Try to take consistent mini-breaks throughout the week to detach and re-center.
— Andrew Thomas, SkyBell Technologies, Inc.
The best way to avoid burnout is to find a hobby you can deeply immerse yourself in for a few hours a week. I play ultimate frisbee, and when I'm on the field, I'm definitely not thinking about my company. Hobbies (such as basketball, ceramics, and climbing) can provide a therapeutic release, and you can come to work recharged and ready to go every day!
— Bhavin Parikh, Magoosh, Inc.
I used to think vacations would recharge me, but I would just come back to piles of work. In the last year, we've built our team to eight people. The quantity doesn't matter—the key is that it's a strong team. I know that whether I'm working or not, great things are being done. Feeling the support from all sides has been critical to my personal happiness.
— Aaron Schwartz, Modify Watches
Even if it's just for 10 minutes, spending the time (especially in the early afternoon) to just breathe has been extraordinarily powerful for me. It keeps me fresh and sharp, and taking self-care seriously sets a great example for the rest of the team.
— Derek Flanzraich, Greatist
All Kinds of Ways to Calm Anxiety and Avoid Burnout Right This Way