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 How to avoid burnout at work. Prerequisites and methods of recovery

How to avoid burnout at work. Prerequisites and methods of recovery

Sometimes it seems like the demands on you at work and at home are always getting tougher. In addition, you are hardworking and pursue important goals. Together, these factors suggest that you will experience stress. This is completely normal, but sometimes the stress becomes too much and we are unable to cope with it.

For some people, every few years this leads to a condition we call burnout. This means losing attention and interest in work, experiencing severe fatigue and other severe reactions. The good news is that we can avoid all of this.

In this article, we'll show you how to recognize and manage the events that lead to this condition, and how to avoid burnout. Also, if burnout does occur, we'll share steps you can take to continue your recovery.

Symptoms and prerequisites for burnout

Let's talk about burnout by first thinking about a related condition called stress. It is your body's way of responding to changes or threats through sometimes complex mental and physical reactions. Ideally, the stress response acts as a warning so that you can adjust your behavior or situation as needed, thereby reducing the experience of stress. However, the problem with stress at work is that you just can't quit.

At times, stress can seem constant. Normal reactions include irritability, feeling a little restless, or perhaps sometimes having trouble sleeping. Of course, increased stress can lead to many more difficult experiences. This may include physical, emotional and behavioral responses that affect your ability to focus the amount of energy needed for your work.

If stress reaches a high level and is allowed to persist at that level, some people begin to experience something more serious, which is burnout. Burnout is a complex or painful response to chronic stress. The likelihood of serious mental and physical symptoms increases significantly. This includes anxiety, mood disorders, depression, and even debilitating fatigue. That's why it's so important to talk about burnout prevention.

Your best plan is to work hard on preventing burnout so that you never experience this condition. And for starters, it's important to know the signs of burnout. Be alert for these signs that you may be in a state of burnout.

The first sign is the feeling that every day is unproductive. You feel like you're spinning wheels and getting nowhere. If you've been feeling this for a few weeks, you're most likely experiencing burnout.

The second symptom is constant fatigue. This does not apply to the temporary fatigue that we sometimes feel. People in this state also sometimes develop significant negative attitudes. This may include a strong feeling that they are not appreciated or a feeling that their work does not matter.

The third sign is a violation of cognitive functions. This often means an inability to focus, a loss of creativity at work, or a clear increase in work-related errors.

The fourth sign is dependence on external substances such as drugs and alcohol, or prescription drugs, or even simply overeating. All of this is an attempt to escape reality instead of fighting the root cause. As you might expect, this type of behavior can exacerbate fatigue by creating new physical problems such as headaches, back pain, or other problems.

Causes of burnout

The ultimate symptom of all this is seeing work as a permanent negative force in your life. You may feel like you're always at work, even if you're not. You may feel a great sense of dread trying to force yourself to go to work. At its worst, burnout can cause deep loneliness, insomnia, or even clinical depression.

There are many reasons for burnout. In fact, ironically, although many of us want career success, sometimes it becomes a big problem. For example, perhaps the biggest factor here is the number of hours you work. Also think about what you are doing. As expected, more responsibility, more stress.

In addition, you must consider the net effect of all your key relationships at work. The biggest one by far is the relationship you have with your line manager. If the relationship is generally more negative than positive, stress can build up quickly.

The final job issue to consider is job fit, or the degree to which you are interested in skills that are relevant to what you actually do. A low position creates an increased workload. In the long run, you have to take steps to find the roles that really suit you.

Now consider the non-working side of the equation. Think about the quality of your key relationships. Mostly family and close friends. When this relationship is strained, that complicated feeling it creates will follow you to work and put a burden on how you feel.

The next factor is the strength of your non-work identity. At work, you may be an engineer or a general manager, but this person cannot be your only one. Successful people always have a lot of strong, dysfunctional identities that help them stay balanced. This could be a father, wife, coach or volunteer.

The last factor on the list is physical condition. Diet, exercise, and sleep all play a huge role in terms of potential burnout. That means more fresh foods and less unhealthy fats, some regular exercise to keep your energy levels high, and at least seven to eight hours of sleep each night.

Signs that indicate burnout

Burnout Prevention Tips

Let's start with the area that many experts say is the most important, which is diet and exercise. The easiest part of this topic is sleep, and you need seven to eight hours a night. As for food, eat more fresh, unprocessed foods. Eat more often throughout the day, in small portions, and with healthy snacks. Limit your intake of large amounts of sugar, such as traditional desserts or alcohol. Remember to eat plenty of fiber and finally drink plenty of water.

For physical exercise, choose a combination of aerobics and strength training, but if you are active two to three hours a week, this may be enough for you. Even just walking a few hours a week has serious health benefits.

Now let's give some ideas related to the office. First, you must manage your interactions with others at work to not only keep you productive, but also maintain positive mental health. If there are people with whom you do not communicate well for any reason , if possible, try to exclude any contact or limit the time spent with them. Just switch to email instead of face-to-face meetings.

Second, use your vacation days. When you're on vacation, try not to work at all. Your goal is to completely disconnect from work. Try to meditate. It should be quiet concentration in order to develop your awareness and achieve greater mental clarity and peace.

The start of your recovery

If burnout sets in, all is not lost. There are a few things you can do to help resolve this issue on your own. However, do not forget that if you feel that you are unable to cope with the situation alone, then seek the help of a professional.

So what can you do on your own? Try using a form of behavioral audit. You start by thinking about the last year, or maybe two. Think about major decisions, people, projects, or behaviors that unfortunately contributed to your ultimate burnout. Take your time, be very specific and take a few notes.

Focus on failures and mistakes that represent difficult or painful moments. Think about mistakes made, lost clients, damaged relationships, and any other difficult event. Here's the tricky part: Think about each one and ask if the result could have been different. Is there anything you could do differently?

For most situations, the answer will be no or "I'm not sure." For some, you will most likely notice one of your habits or behaviors that will help explain the outcome. At the moment, you are only looking for one or two basic habits or behaviors. Perhaps you spoke where you should have kept your thoughts to yourself. It may have had a negative effect on your work. Maybe you agreed with the other person's bad behavior when you shouldn't have.

After the analysis, you have most likely collected a few notes and you can start making a plan. Here you need to think about three things:

  • The first is education. Find books, online courses , blogs, podcasts, or other resources about the problem you've identified. Regardless of the difficulty, you can find resources to expand your knowledge of the topic, and they are usually inexpensive or free.
  • The second is training. Think first about the in-house training currently available, and then think about courses that you can pay for yourself that are offered somewhere in your area.
  • The third is a coach. One good reason to use a professional coach is to help you address one or two of the key issues that are causing you problems so you can make a plan to fix them.

You may even just find one good friend, mentor or coach in your life. By sticking to your study schedule and improving your thinking and progress, you can talk to them about problems along the way, and that's when recovery really begins.

Now let's look at some practical ideas. Start by thinking about a few vacation days. Stepping away from the place and things that caused the burnout is one of the best ways to let go of unproductive emotions and get a better idea of ​​how you could successfully get back on track. Whether that day off is paid or not, a few extra days off from work can be very necessary and a very rewarding way to recover.

Then, in order for the healing to continue, you will need a support group. This may be your colleague, but your support must include your close friends and family. They need to know what you're going through, so be honest with them. Be open to their thoughts and advice and soak up all the positivity, support, and love you can get.

Continuing with this idea, it is also wise to start practicing daily positive thinking. Whether it's part of a meditation or something you imagine before bed, you need to actively see yourself not only recovering, but thriving. This is a well-known tactic of successful people. Part of achieving success is first taking the time to visualize success clearly.

Then try to rethink your goals. Maybe one of them is no longer reasonable or some goals need to be adjusted. Think about how a shift in this direction is possible. Remember that goals that suit you give ,you the opportunity to focus, and it's worth it.

Finally, consider learning to say no. Very often, one of the main factors contributing to burnout is the desire to always say yes. You just want to be helpful, but often that means that everyone is constantly turning to you for help.

What else can help your recovery is to be brave enough to share your situation with someone else. This method is also called going public. It is a process of being vulnerable and sharing information in order to gain support and potential feedback or insight that can help you.

First, consider sharing your situation with your boss, colleagues, or team. Who exactly you talk to and when is up to you, but it would be wise to keep those who work closely with you or depend on you informed. Talk about burnout, how it led you astray, and let them know that you are taking steps to get healthy, focused, and back on track.

Secondly, in addition to work, you will need at least one good person with whom you can be really honest. It could be a friend, relative, or maybe your spouse. Tell them why you are doing it, be honest, and tell them about how you experienced burnout. Then describe what you are going to do. Tell them about your recovery plan and your goals.

The reason this works as extra motivation for you is that letting someone else know what you're focused on often feels like a new commitment. You said you were going to do something, so now there is some positive pressure to make progress. Then give that person permission to talk to you about your progress at least once a week. The goal is to stay connected so that this person can help you be held accountable for progress.


At the end of this article, I would like to give some final ideas. First, ask your mentor or someone you respect and who knows you well how stressed they think you are. There is always a gap between how you see yourself and how others see you.

Next, one helpful way to understand how to deal with and overcome burnout is to realize that you are probably not alone. Look around you and you will probably find someone in a similar situation. This can develop into a conversation that will help both of you.

Finally, ask yourself who you need to thank. We often forget about all the people who, in small and large ways, help us succeed. They are helping, they are supportive and kind to you. That's why it's smart to give thanks, as that's when you both feel good, and it's a great way to remember the fundamental importance of positivity for anyone trying to recover from burnout.

By applying the tips in this article, you give yourself a real chance for recovery.