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Burnout at work what to do

What To Do About Burnout At Work: 4 Ways To Recover

You’re an overachiever. You’re used to pushing yourself, accustomed to long hours and hard work –– along with the career and financial rewards that come with it. Except suddenly everything feels different. You’re snapping at the dog. Your gym just debited your account and you haven’t worked out since the last time you paid. You’re exhausted and stressed, yet you keep taking on more responsibility. Most of all, you dread getting out of bed in the morning. What’s going on?


Well, I hate to tell you this my friend, but you’re burned out. According to the World Health Organization, burnout is the result of “chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.” Symptoms include,”energy depletion or exhaustion; increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job; and reduced professional efficacy.” None of these will improve your performance. Yet in the United States, burnout is a hidden epidemic. Most of its sufferers pretend everything is fine –– even as they work longer hours and feel the worst for it. In the U.S., we log an average of nearly 1,800 hours a year –– more than the stereotypically hardworking Japanese and far more than workers in Western Europe.  


Recently an analyst’s anonymous complaint about his job at Goldman Sachs went viral. Junior staffers regularly log 100-hour work weeks. One later admitted, “My body physically hurts all the time and mentally I’m in a really dark place.” While few of us work such extreme hours, there’s no question that many are logging extra time. Although the COVID-19 pandemic increased unemployment, one study showed that conversely over one out of three people are actually working more! While 75% of people have experienced burnout at one point, some 40% experienced it in 2021 as a direct result of the pandemic. Burnout isn’t technically a medical condition. Yet overwork is killing people. Healthy young people have died at their desks, others who “treated” their stress with drugs and alcohol have suffered fatal overdoses. So, if you’re dealing with burnout at work and wonder what to do, here are some tips. 

Set Boundaries


I’m a huge believer in saying yes. Yes to opportunity, yes to advancement, yes to challenges. Yet if you’re dealing with burnout, I recommend making the word “no” a bigger part of your vocabulary. If you are on a tight deadline, you have a tailor made explanation (not an excuse) for why you can’t help out on a project. Other boundaries include logging off for the night –– don’t respond to emails or texts after seven p.m. 

Reach Out


A support system is vital. One trusted friend who’s a good listener can be a life changer. Talking honestly about your challenges can help you feel better. Just don’t let the gab session turn into a general b-session. Instead, focus on your specific issues. You don’t need to find solutions right away. The key is bringing them to light. 


If you’re dealing with burnout at work and don’t know what to do , you should talk to your supervisor. Employers don’t want to lose talented performers. Chances are you were given so much work because you are good at your job and your boss believes in you. If your performance hasn’t suffered yet, they probably don’t realize there is a problem. Addressing your concerns can even nip burnout in the bud.


You may also need to reach out to a mental health professional. Many of the symptoms for burnout are identical to the ones for depression. So if you’re feeling overwhelmed, exhausted, sad, and have lost interest not just in your job but in your life, making an appointment with a qualified therapist is vital.

Take Care of Your Body


Working long hours while neglecting your sleep, exercise, or diet is a recipe for disaster. Getting adequate rest is vital for your well being. You simply won’t be able to make good choices while you’re exhausted. If you aren’t getting seven hours a night, every night, you may find yourself snapping at coworkers or even friends (let alone your poor neglected pets). Remember not getting enough sleep will make you less motivated and more moody –– while also harming your memory and creativity. Speaking of being creative, take the time for exercise. Doing yoga, lifting weights, even fast-walking your cul de sac will not just improve your body but your mind as well. It’s common for burnt out workers to scarf whatever they can, but a diet of takeaway pizza and sandwiches isn’t doing you any favors. So, add some fresh fruits and veggies to your snack platter and make sure to hydrate.


Be Mindful and Meditate


Focus on the present. Often those dealing with burnout obsess over distant deadlines or how much they need to get done by Friday. Pay attention to the task at hand. Each job is a series of steps. Do them one at a time. I’m a huge believer in meditation.. You may discover this ancient practice is the perfect treatment for modern burnout. Not only does it quiet your mind, meditation might even help you feel better about your job. It can also supercharge your creativity and productivity while reducing anxiety and stress.


Finally, if you are still feeling burnout at work and don’t know what to do, take some time off. Use a few personal days or take an early vacation. This won’t end the problem. Instead, it will give you a chance to quietly assess whether or not you want to go back to your job. If the answer is no, then there are steps you can take. Because no career is worth your life.

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