Let’s face it, we all struggle with balancing productive, successful work with a happy and healthy lifestyle. Workplace burnout goes beyond ordinary stress. It often can influence our entire outlook on life, which can affect our health, our personal relationships and more.
Many of us are recipients of heavy workloads, long hours, client/employer pressure and keeping up with really tough competitors. This can turn into a ripple effect with fosters resentment inside and outside of the office walls. Hence, that feeling of being ‘trapped’ can completely consume someone. How in the world can we turn this around for ourselves and/or for co-workers who are experiencing this burnout?
Here are couple of points that may help:
1. Take responsibility for the way you feel. If you’re angry, resentful and hopeless then something has to change either at work or within yourself. If work is the problem, then take charge to lead change. Perhaps you need to talk to your boss about hiring someone else to even out the workload? You could propose realigning processes. Maybe your firm is taking on too many clients? Can you find a different position within the company? There could be a number of solutions, but you need to professionally speak up. If change with workplace is not realistic you can either change your attitude or perhaps it is time to move on.
2. Don’t over-commit yourself. If you are taking on more work than you can handle you need to manage up. Your boss is not likely to want poor quality work from an employee. Set some boundaries for yourself, but be very careful about just saying no without being a team player. Propose a solution before just saying no to extra work.
2. Be realistic with yourself. It is easy to blame others for what is wrong around you, but ask yourself if you can be more patient with people. Could you be the culprit of low morale? Try to be forgiving of others and give them the benefit of the doubt. Realize that burnout can be self-inflicted. Are you overworking yourself for more income or gaining recognition? Is your purpose really worth it? Try to figure out what options you have and start setting your priorities straight.
3. Take a step back. Try to evaluate your situation objectively. There could be a huge risk of leaving your job and then stepping into the same situation (or worse) in a new one. Maybe that is just a reflection of the industry you’re in. Perhaps your life outside of work might be influencing your burnout? Are you giving yourself time to relax at all? Is there anything in your life which could be simplified? Can you drop anything to give yourself more balance?
4. Attitude check. Ask yourself “Is it really THAT bad?”. Are you making it worse for yourself by focusing on the negative? Are you feeling sorry for yourself? Focus on the aspects of work which you enjoy. Take a look back at all of your successes and appreciate the people at all levels who helped you achieve those successes. Try to get excited about what you’re working on now and in the future. Renew yourself. Wake up every day and make the decision to be happy, hopeful and positive. Sure there will be blows every now and then, but keep yourself going and look at all of the other opportunities to chase after. You can’t win them all, but you still can win a lot of them!
5. If it is truly time to move on then do it. Write down a list of questions for your interviews which can help to identify red flags. You want to avoid mirroring the aspects of the job you are not enjoying now. Prepare yourself to accept trade-offs. Do a gut-check about what is most important to you — more money or spending more time with loved ones or pursuing personal passions.
6. Take a deep breath. You may not be able to make your change overnight. It may take a while for you to realize what you really want. Be patient with yourself. If you are religious then turn to your place of worship to gain renewal every week. Talk it out with loved ones. Take charge of your burnout instead of the burnout taking charge of you. You can beat it!