Six ways to overcome burnout at work
Breaks, a sense of significance and absorbing non-work activities can help when stressed
Do you feel listless and fatigued but still feel effective on the whole? If so, it’s probably just burnout. Graphic: Getty Images/iStockphoto
Even if you love your job, it’s common to feel burned out from time to time.
Here is some advice on how to recharge.
1 Take breaks during the work day
Step away from your computer and take a walk or go for a run. Or have lunch away from your desk.
2 Put away your digital devices
Actively limit your use of digital devices after hours. Place your smartphone in a drawer when you arrive home so you’re not tempted to pick it up and check your email; or you might devise a rule for yourself about turning it off past 8pm.
3 Do something interesting
Instead of concentrating on limiting or avoiding work in your off hours, focus on an “approach” goal, such as making plans to play tennis with a friend or cook a meal with your spouse. Studies also indicate that doing an activity you find interesting – even if that activity is taxing – is better for you than simply relaxing.
4 Take long weekends every now and then
A break from work need not be a two-week holiday. For stress reduction, regularly take three- day weekends.
While you’re away, though, don’t call the office or check your email.
5 Focus on meaning
If your job responsibilities preclude taking some time off, perhaps connecting your current assignment to a larger personal goal – completing this project will help you score that next promotion, for instance – will can give you some needed energy. But be aware this may provide only temporary relief.
6 Make sure it’s really burnout
If none of these strategies works, you could be dealing with something more serious.
Do you feel listless and fatigued but still feel effective on the whole? If so, it’s probably just burnout.
Is your manager giving you what you need to work at your best? If not, you may need a different position.
Is the very nature of your work sapping your energy?
If so, you may need to rethink your career. – Copyright Harvard Business Review 2015
Previously published in The Irish Times.
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