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?
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