No matter what industry you work in or how much you love what you do – burnout can still happen.
I hate the idea that people cannot get tired if they love their job, or they can’t look forward to a vacation if they enjoy their work. I fully believe that you can love your career, be good at it, but still need breaks. Additionally, no matter how great your job is, you still have to guard yourself (and your team) against burnout.
Here are my 7 tips for understanding and avoiding burnout as well as staying healthy, happy, and motivated within your industry and with your work.
First, You Need to Understand Burnout:
Burnout is defined as “a state of physical, emotional, or mental exhaustion caused by long term involvement in emotionally demanding situations” which means it can come from any kind of work, because something that is not emotionally demanding to one person, may be to another.
Additionally, burnout can also be defined as fatigue or frustration brought on by a lack of results from an area you are heavily invested in – like, say, a startup that is having difficulty getting off the ground. Or a merger that isn’t going as planned.
Really, burnout at its core is about not having the energy or drive you once did for a cause or career that used to be motivating and rewarding. Let’s see some warning signs:
Know the Warning Signs:
There are many warning signs and not everyone reacts in exactly the same way to impending burnout, but here are some of the common signs you should be looking out for in both yourself and your team:
- Negative or critical work attitude
- Dreading work
- Low energy/interest in work
- Blaming others
- Trouble sleeping
- Headaches, backaches, an uptick in illness
- Feeling unrecognized at work
- Easily irritated by clients and coworkers
- Work losing its meaning
- Emotional withdrawal from others at work
- Considerations of quitting a job you used to love
Stress is a Major Component to Burnout:
Stress and burnout seem synonymous to many, but there are actually many distinctions between the two – though stress can lead to burnout.
One of the largest differences is that stress is short-term. Maybe you have a deadline or a large meeting or presentation, maybe it’s renewal season for a contract or a vote is coming up – these events can cause stress, but this is not burnout.
Burnout is a longer process that doesn’t ebb and flow as workplace stress does. And though stress is uncomfortable, burnout can be career-ending.
A lack of control of your work environment is often a cause of burnout, though not the only one. Often, those in highly stressful or emotionally demanding jobs who feel that they don’t have any control over their work-life or schedule experience burnout, as they do not feel autonomous or appreciated. Additionally, if your values do not align with your work (even if they say they do) then burnout could be a very real threat.
But just like the signs of burnout, the causes can vary from person to person. Here are a few common causes of burnout:
- Monotonous days or low-excitement at work
- Not being recognized for your achievements or improvements
- Having unclear expectations
- Dysfunctional teams, organizations, or bosses
- Overly-heavy workload
- Low support from others
- Unfulfilling job
- Prolonged stress with no end in sight
If you think you may be nearing burnout or are experiencing some of the symptoms – then take a free burnout test and read on to learn about some of the ways you can combat burnout or avoid it if you feel you’re headed that direction.
Work should give us purpose and joy, something to be proud of – not stress and a constant drain on our energy and mood. Make sure you aren’t allowing yourself to fall into apathy about potential burnout, and instead get informed and fight back. Whether you work for a startup or a large corporation – your health comes first.
Avoiding Burnout with Purpose:
Finding purpose in your job, more than just making money is a great way to mitigate burnout potential.
Think of how your job helps others, or how your performance can make the world a better place. Whether that’s by delivering better web design services than other companies or delivering a smile to each and every customer you serve. No matter what your industry or job is, you are making a difference, and recognizing that can be a great help.
Avoiding Burnout Through Stress-Management:
Find the best way that you respond to managing your stress; this could be through self-care, a stress journal, meditation, deep breathing, treats or vacations. Find something that renews you, that you love doing and make time for it.
Working on your own mental state and positive, kind thinking can help lower the potential for burnout, too. Often, we are kind to others, but our internal voice is negative – meaning we degrade or bully ourselves, even if we would never use that tone or those words with others. Make sure you are being kind to yourself and allowing yourself to manage and combat the stressors that affect you.