10 Ways To Deal With Burnout At Work, So You Can Feel Better & More Productive
We spend so much of our lives working, it's no surprise we tend to burn out quickly. When this happens, it's easy to feel unmotivated, bitter, or uninspired, but don't get too discouraged – there are always ways out of an overworked funk. Knowing what to do when you're experiencing burn out can make all the difference between resentfully falling short of your expectations and improving your wellbeing so you can get your tasks done.
You get burned out when you feel mentally, emotionally, physically exhausted and as a result of not taking care of yourself and when you experience prolonged stress," says personal development coach Kute Blackson over email. "Being burned out often impacts your productivity, energy levels, emotional state. You often know when you’re burned out, when you’re feeling exhausted all the time and not fulfilled."
Feeling unmotivated at work is not uncommon. According to a Gallup study, only a third of Americans are engaged at work. Luckily, there are ways to change this. If you feel yourself become disheartened and overly exhausted at your job consider these 10 ways to deal with the burnout at work.
1. Take Short Breaks
Studies show that long breaks from the office reboot your cognitive energy, according to The Atlantic. "Short breaks will help you be more productive and prevent burnout," says wellness coach Marjorie Nass over email. "Schedule a timer on your phone to go off every 30-45 minutes, at which time you'll take a five minute break."
2. Drink More Water
"If you're feeling sluggish, rather than depending on caffeine which will dehydrate you, drink more water," says Nass. Even just mild dehydration can cause fatigue, moodiness, and problems focusing, according to a study from the Journal of Nutrition. "Office environments tend to be overly dry, and by keeping a glass bottle at your desk you can get up and refill it during the breaks."
3. Get Outside More
Sometimes the cure is in just a little bit of sunlight. "Getting fresh air and looking at the sky will help remind you that the world is bigger than what's happening inside your office," says Nass. "Florescent lights can be disruptive to the body's natural circadian rhythms, which help us stay awake during the day and feel sleepy when it's time to go to bed. Take your breaks outdoors whenever possible to expose yourself to natural light."
4. Practice Relaxation Techniques
Whether you prefer deep breathing, yoga, meditation, or other activities that help you relax, it's important to practice self-care and find a way to destress. "We become so busy with work that we sometimes ‘forget’ to take care of ourselves in the process," says Ariane Machin, psychologist and co-founder of the Conscious Coaching Collective over email.
5. Create Boundaries
It's tempting to keep up on your emails well after work hours, but where do you draw the line? Create specific times of the day where you're not allowed to think about work. "Unplug and take time for yourself," says Blackson. "One of the ways is to have a digital detox, which means unplug from all media, create space to be quiet, get in touch with your feelings, needs, and desires."
6. Stop Comparing
It's easy to look at other people's careers and want to do what they're doing, but remember that every job as its own faults. "Instead, try to have gratitude for what we do have (being thankful for our jobs) and focus energy on positive activities and people," says Machin.
Frustrations can often stem from miscommunications or unexpressed issues. "Sometimes when we are in a workplace where relationships feel strained, it can feel challenging to just have basic communication about the tasks that need to be worked on," says Machin. "Try to understand others communication style within your team and figure out the best way to motivate each member. In this way, everyone can appreciate the differences within the team/work culture and feel heard despite these differences."
8. Get To Know Your Coworkers More Deeply
If you care about the people you work with, you're less likely to become negative and cynical about what you're doing because you'll have a support system. "Be sure to make yourself available to leadership so they can get to know you and develop a connection that goes beyond just the scope of your work," says Machin. "Care about your workplace companions and their families. Make time to get to know everyone beyond a superficial level."
9. Do Something Creative
"Sometimes we get burned out because we’re doing the same monotonous things over and over again, but we don’t have to access a different part of ourselves as human beings," says Blackson. "When we are burnt out, we lose touch with joy. Some creative endeavors can bring you this joy — things like painting, drawing, dancing, improv class — whatever makes you feel alive."
10. Prioritize Sleep
Lack of sleep can not only make doing our work harder, but it can also make you more moody when it comes to thinking of your workload. "When we’re tired, it can cause you to think irrationally and become stressed easily," says Blackson.
If nothing seems to work, it might be time for you to take a vacation — or get a new job.
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