7 Ways to Recover from Burnout

Burnout. Most of us have been there at some point in our careers, and many of us will get there again. Burnout, although it can happen because you love what you do so much that it’s hard to stop, makes you question why you do what you do.

Burnout happens when you are working too much, start feeling like you never have enough time, begin to get consumed by the stress, and slowly lose some of the passion you have for your work. It’s not enjoyable, but it can be one of the most effective wake-up calls that something in your life has to change.

If you’re dealing with burnout and aren’t sure how to get yourself back on track, here are a few ways to recover.

Take a Long Vacation

This is one recovery tactic that I think can backfire if you don’t take measures to ensure your vacation is completely work-free. But, if you’re able to get away for a week or two and truly clear your mind, a vacation can be an excellent way to refresh. With any vacation, you’ll want to take some pre-vacation steps before you leave to keep things running while you’re away and help you get back into the groove when you return home.

Reevaluate Your Priorities

Sometimes all it takes to recover from burnout is taking a step back and looking at the big picture. What are the most important things in your life? Where has most of your time been going? If the answers to these two questions don’t jive, you know where you need to focus your attention and start to make adjustments.

Identify the Sources of Stress

Whenever I feel burnout coming close, I can almost always point to one or two things that are causing me the most stress. It could be a client, a project, a responsibility, whatever. Those one or two things can cause a trickle down effect that makes everything in my life seem off-kilter. Being aware of these stress triggers can help you take measures to put them in check.

Address and Eliminate

Once you know what your biggest stressors are, take them one-by-one and look at them objectively. Is the desired end result worth the stress it’s causing you right now? Is there a defined end that you can work toward? Could the situation be improved if you address it with any other people involved? Could you reduce the stress just by changing the way you react to it? Address the stress head-on when possible, then make the decision to keep going or to get rid of it entirely.

Force Yourself into a Slowdown

Those who experience burnout once are likely to experience it again unless permanent changes are made. For most of us, this means saying no, taking on less, giving ourselves more time, and taking breaks. These slowdown measures have to be made a habit in your day-to-day life in order to prevent future burnout.

Change It Up

If your burnout is caused by too much of one thing, consider taking a break. If it’s one type of work, for example, look to take on a new type of project so you can change pace. If it’s one client, take a brief hiatus or work on finding some new clients to offset your focus on the stressful one.

Get Help, Fast

Burnout isn’t a solitary problem, the impact reaches your family members, friends, clients and colleagues, especially if you start to lag on deadlines and responsibilities. So it makes sense that rebounding from burnout is also a group activity. It won’t be a secret to those around you that you’re burning out, so ask for their support as you take control of the situation.

Luckily, burnout for most of us is short-term and manageable, but it can be damaging if you can’t recover and get yourself back on track. The best thing you can do if you face burnout is heed the warning it’s providing and make the necessary long-term changes to recover and prevent it from happening again.

Have you faced burnout? How have you gotten yourself back on track?

Image credit: protego

Free book: Jump Start HTML5 Basics

Grab a free copy of one our latest ebooks! Packed with hints and tips on HTML5's most powerful new features.

  • http://www.quarterpie.com xfriday

    All this sounds great and sure identifying the reasons for stress helps and we need face these few reasons first to eliminate stress.

    I wish holiday was also an option for me… but looks like its not going to be holiday time for another few months.

  • cruxwireweb

    Vacation? What’s that?

    • Bergie

      Hear hear…

  • http://www.quasarcr.com/ Ramiro S

    For me it was as simple as get more sleep.

  • Wyndella

    Well said Alyssa but I’d like to add sombre comment. The effects of burnout, if not dealt with, are cumulative and lead to much more serious problems like clinical depression. I write from experience.

    I encourage all you people out there: don’t ignore burnout.

  • Silver Firefly

    I get burnout every so often and have experienced it something like once a year. In my case, when I burnout I don’t touch anything to do with web design for a few months before going back to it feeling refreshed. Luckily I currently don’t do paid work so this isn’t a problem at the moment.

  • Multimedia Girl

    I’d love to force myself to slow down but when your current department has lost a few team members, has not rehired in months, you are suddenly responsible for the same workload and you may be out work for more than a few months if you just quit that’s a quite hard.