Workplace burnout is real. When people bring up burnout, you think of an overworked person that keeps getting more and more work put on their desk until one day, when the hours and hours they put in don’t matter, they just simply cannot do their job anymore and feel reluctant to want to work. While these are some characteristics of burnout, the reality is that burnout can happen slowly over time to even the highest performers.
The characteristics behind burnout typically start with feeling stressed. Over time when that stress continues or even builds, that person can find themselves smack dab in the middle of burnout without knowing where it came from, what it is or how to proceed. Take a step back and determine if you have burnout. We will walk you through five steps to destress before you reach burnout:
Daily stress is when a person needs to focus on many tasks and feels a bit overwhelmed. Typically this person will put their head down and begin working harder and faster to get caught up and alleviate the feeling of stress. When this person finds themselves never getting caught up, no matter how hard they work, they begin to hit a breaking point. When this happens, you will notice there comes a bit of feelings of being withdrawn and aloofness. They will feel a lack of interest in what they are doing and it will even spill over into not sleeping well at night and general changes in their behavior. If that person is talkative, you will find they stop talking as much or stop going out to lunch. They generally want to be alone. If you are noticing these characteristics, burnout is a true issue and it is imperative to seek out professional help since symptoms may continue until the point of depression.
Four Steps to Help with Preventing Burnout
Talking with Your Boss
The ability to work in a safe environment where you can discuss increased levels of stress is the best to help prevent burnout. An open and receptive manager may not know they are overloading you, especially if you are a high performer and try to hide how much you are struggling. Having this conversation will allow them to manage you better and potentially hire a new employee at the right time. There is no need for you to do the job of two people.
Take a Walk
Regular exercise and even taking a quick walk around your office can help restart your mind and manage your emotions. Exercise can also create a sense of well-being and motivation, especially when you team up and walk with your coworkers.
Manage Your Time
Creating to-do lists and managing the prioritization of your tasks can help you feel like you have more control over the work you do and how you do it. Talk with your boss to develop ways for you to further learn to manage your time so you don’t feel so overloaded all the time. Finding other things such as setting long term personal goals, will also help you create the steps needed to get to where you need without feeling like you are working without purpose.
Make sure you are understanding what your job expectations are. Typically high performers will take on a larger amount of work than regular employees, which can lead to burnout when that added work continues or gets added onto. As an employee, talk with your manager to see if you can reduce your workload or transition some smaller tasks off you, to continue providing the value they see in you.
Many of these steps have to do with discussing your workload and expectations with your boss or manager. Having an open door policy with your direct boss can help you reduce stress in knowing that you can have an open conversation when you need it.