Burnout can have a profound impact on your personal and professional life. When I begin to feel burnout, it shows in the things I love most. Projects and passions take a lot more effort and I find myself spinning my wheels instead of using my time to be fully effective. Burnout can happen to everyone, no matter your job, industry, age, or lifestyle.
Last week we talked about the signs of burnout. Now that we know the indicators and causes of burnout, we’ll look at ways to combat it and begin the journey to recovery.
It’s said that the first step in overcoming a problem, is first to admit that you have a problem. That is certainly the case in burnout. If you try to tough it out and lie to yourself that “everything is fine,” you’ll never be able to move to a healthier step.
Acknowledging that you are facing burnout doesn’t make you a bad leader, an insufficient parent, or a poor student. It says you are human…. just like the rest of us. As a leader, it’s also important to step up and share this vulnerability with others on your team. It will help them support you, models healthy behavior, and is a good indicator for others to check their own level of burnout as well.
Share that vulnerability with yourself and with others so that you can begin the recovery process.
Make it a priority
After the acknowledgment, the next step is putting action behind your discovery.
- Look at your schedule and prioritize your time based on your recovery goal. What’s currently taking up space that is feeding your burnout? Take it in small steps instead of fully blowing up your week. Find small segments of time so you can invest in yourself, decompress and do something relaxing.
- Eat, Sleep and Be Mindful: How are you eating? When I start feeling burnout coming on, I notice that I start eating like garbage; snacking, and grazing all the time. Set a notification on your phone or other reminders to wrap your evening up earlier to get better rest. Finally, use mindfulness apps, websites, or activities that help you focus on breathing and lowering stress.
- Step away from the tech: It’s easy to get entangled in our personal technology, especially if you work from home, do hybrid work, or are currently in school. Step away for tech-free breaks throughout the day or take a tech vacation, either partially by stepping away from some social media apps, games, etc or take a full-on tech vacation where you truly unplug and do something for yourself instead.
Include others to help with recovery
While over time, you can recover from burnout alone, you can move through the phase much more quickly by including others in your journey and by clearing the way for others to have a clear path to get back on track as well.
- Empower and equip others to have hybrid work arrangements. Lean into flexible work and time off. Accommodate fully in and fully-remote workers if possible.
- Beef up (and take advantage of) programs and offerings that encourage people to get out and do something different. Look for volunteering opportunities or other team well-being programs.
- Spend more time together that doesn’t have an agenda. Online meetings are very transactional in nature and people need social connections.
- Poll the team to discover ideas to refine good work-life rhythm.
- Reconnect with close friends and family members that you may have not seen in a while. Do something experiential together.
Prioritize health and happiness for yourself and others that you lead. Doing so will lead to continued joy in their workplace, empowerment to do great things, and a strong sense of purpose.
Make a better tomorrow.