Experiencing burnout has become more common today because of the busy, overworked and stressful lives we live.
While we often relate burnout to being overworked, it’s more than just being tired.
What is Burnout?
It’s defined as fatigue, frustration, or apathy resulting from prolonged stress, overwork, or intense activity. It’s also described as total exhaustion and not being able to go on.
Burnout occurs because of:
- Lack of rest and recovery.
- Lack of variety in our daily activities.
- Lack of reward for accomplishing things.
- Lack of motivation to keep doing what we have been.
- Lack of attention to our mental, emotional and physical health.
Other things that also lead to burnout include:
- An unstable personal life such as family or relationship issues.
- Doing work we’re not passionate about.
- Being in a work environment that’s stressful or toxic.
Knowing what causes burnout is a good start but there are also specific things we can do to ensure we prevent it from happening in the first place.
One of my biggest challenges has been finding the right balance between working and giving myself enough time to rest and recover. Being a business owner comes with many challenges and sometimes, I get caught up working long hours, including weekends to stay on top of things.
The reality is that strategy does not work over the long term because lack of rest will eventually catch up with us.
Recently during a product launch, I worked over 60 days in a row without having a day off. While the launch was very successful, three weeks after it was over, as I was very rundown, I got sick and needed to have a break from everything for two weeks.
A better strategy would have been to have no-work days built in during the launch so that I would remain mentally and physically fresh, not just during the launch but also after the launch.
5 Ways to Avoid Burnout
- Pay more attention to your personal needs. It’s vital we take care of our mental, emotional and physical health because that’s what makes us function daily. Where we tend to get into trouble is when we make other people’s needs more important instead of acknowledging that our needs are just as important as their needs. By learning to listen to our emotions and understanding our bodies better, we can do things before we get ourselves into trouble.
- Be clear on your daily and weekly priorities. If we’re constantly doing busy work instead focusing on what matters most, we’ll feel like we’re being pulled in many different directions and not making a lot of progress. This leads to feelings of overwhelm, which then can lead to mental fatigue and burnout. If we’re clear on what’s most important, then it’ll be a lot easier to focus and make progress faster.
- Do work you’re passionate about more often. When we’re doing things that bring us joy, it very rarely feels like work. Joy is an indicator whether we’re doing what we are really meant to do in life or not. If we’re not enjoying what we are doing, then it can often feel hard, boring and unimportant. When we’re living our passions, everything seems to flow so much easier.
- Make rest and recovery a priority. While this may appear to be obvious, working professionals don’t always apply this. The more rested we are, the more creative and productive we will be. While it may appear to be counterintuitive, taking more rest breaks each day will actually increase our efficiency and effectiveness.
- Do less but better. Doing more and more work is not an intelligent long-term strategy. It’s advisable to take on less things but do them a lot better. For example, instead of trying to achieve ten goals this year, it may be better to focus on two or three goals initially and do the best we can. When we achieve those goals, we can always set new goals.
The better we get at preventing ourselves from experiencing burnout, the more relaxed and happier we’ll be. While there’ll be occasions which will require us to be resilient and persistent, most times, we can plan ahead so that we keep ourselves mentally fresh, emotionally healthy and physically strong.
Question: What is another way we can avoid burnout?
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