5 Simple Ways to Fight Burnout


If you're feeling overwhelmed, exhausted, or at your wit's end, you're probably ready to quit your job. However, you have expenses, and walking away from your job because you're physically or mentally tired probably isn't possible. But at the same time, you know that you can't continue with things as they are. (See also: How to Be Happier at Work)

It's either find a solution or lose your mind. Here are five ways to fight burnout and get back into the swing of things.

1. Pinpoint the Cause

Maybe the problem isn't your job in itself, but rather a specific task or project. Think back a little and pinpoint when these feelings developed. For example, if your boss asked for help with a specific project, this project may take more of your time than anticipated, which can make it difficult to keep up with your regular work.

The added workload can trigger early work days and late work nights, which could leave you tired and fed up. And if you're self-employed, the problem may not be a boss, but a client who demands too much of your time and energy.

To fight burnout, you may have to eliminate anything that weighs you down, such as a difficult client. You could delegate assignments at work, if possible. Or talk to your boss and get assistance with your workload. The less you have on your plate, the better you may feel. (See also: How to Delegate in 4 Easy Steps)

2. Separate Work From Home Life

This is hard to do especially when there's more work than hours in the day. But if you're constantly bringing work home, working up until bedtime, and spending your weekends thinking about work, your brain doesn't receive a break.

If you are unable to complete all your work in an eight or nine (or maybe 10) hour day, there's a problem. Not only does a long workday cut into your family time, it cuts into your personal time. Whether the problem is poor time management or too much work, reevaluate your workload and see where you can scale back or maybe delegate.

When you stop working at the end of the day, leave your "office hat" in the office. And while we're talking about balance and relaxation, make sure you schedule real days off from work. No work emails, no work text messages, and no work phone calls — a day devoted entirely to you, your family, and rest. (See also: Easy Ways to Have Energy After Work)

3. Set Realistic Goals

Maybe you have short-term and long-term goals that involve achieving a certain position by a certain age, or earning a certain salary by a specific time. Goals are an excellent motivator. But if you reach too high too fast, burnout is inevitable. (See also: How to Measure Your Goals)

You may feel that accepting every additional assignment at work will help you move up the corporate ladder faster; and if you own a business, you may take every project because you want to reach a certain income level. However, there is only one of you and if you don't pace yourself, you may crash before reaching the finish line.

4. Take Short Breaks During the Day

Understandably, you may have a job that's simply demanding. Therefore, it doesn't matter how much time you take off or how much you scale back on assignments, you're going to be overwhelmed, and you're going to be exhausted. There are, however, ways to fight burnout in this situation.

When you're working throughout the day, schedule short 10-minute breaks every hour or every hour and a half. Close your eyes for a few minutes, leave your computer, grab something drink, or simply sit in your quiet office and clear your mind. Ten minutes may not seem like a lot, but this refresher could be the thing that keeps you sane.

5. Get Plenty of Sleep and Exercise

If you're swamped with work you probably don't have a lot of time to sleep, let alone exercise. But if burnout is taking over your life, you need to make time for both activities. (See also: How to Have a Great Late-Night Workout)

You may have trained your body to survive on four to six hours of sleep, but exhaustion can play a role in burnout. If you're exhausted, your body may not be able to cope with different physical and mental demands. And since regular exercise releases endorphins that can lift your mood, reduce stress, and boost your energy, a fitness routine can provide the push you need to handle a tough day, week, or month.

Do you have more ideas on how to fight burnout? Let me know in the comments below.

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Guest's picture
Jenny Long

These are all great advises. We have to stand back and look at what the problem is. I for one, consider myself working hard. I try to exercise but it takes too much of my time and currently I cannot spare it. What I do is give a five minutes break and do 20 push-ups in my office or use the excuse to get myself a coffee so that I can stretch my legs.

Another thing that works for me is to allow myself dream a bit when I get really tired. I dream the places I will go for my holiday and what type of a house I will buy with the money. A few minutes of dreaming on my chair helps me a lot.