This is a Guest Post from Ryan Del Villar
You’ve been in your job for a while now, consistently coming in for work every day and reaching your work targets. But lately, you’ve been complaining of migraines, irritating co-workers, always making excuses to get out of more work responsibility; you’re even started to look forward to taking longer breaks during the workday, to three-day weekends and long holidays that only come once or twice a year. You barely see your friends anymore, your health is getting worse, and it feels like the whole world is against you.
This exhaustion and diminished interest in work results in stress, anxiety, cynicism, and inefficiency at your job. This is typically called burnout, and it happens to a lot of people all over the world. But how will you know if you have burnout or if you just need some time off? Neither of the two is covered in health or medical insurance, sadly, and both have the same symptoms.
How to Tell if You’re Experiencing Burnout
It’s not all that easy to determine if you’re burnt out or just having a tiring day at work. Some people use the term too loosely and refer to an exhausting rush to catch a deadline over the weekend of work a “burnout” when it is a much more serious case. You might be burnt out—or close to it—if you’re experiencing one or more of the following:
a. You are exhausted most of the time
b. You feel hopeless about your job and job security
c. Work is no longer fun for you
d. You have less patience than normal
e. You take more breaks than usual
f. You lack motivation and experience frequent boredom
g. You get sick more often
h. You have apathy towards the work and your team
i. You’re often irritable or angry
j. You’re depressed
You might even go as far as to deny that you’re experiencing some of these. Since it’s difficult to determine all of these symptoms for yourself, ask a close relative or good friend if any of these are noticeable or have happened to you recently. Chances are, they might say yes. Just be prepared to hear you aren’t your best at the moment.
Search for the Source
Ask yourself why or how you could possibly be burnt out. List down the things that might be getting you down and everything that makes you irritable or angry. Sit down with a friend or confidante to help you look for the source of your stress, if you need to. You might even want to try starting a stress diary where you write down all the sources of your stress. Once you figure out what is causing your burnout, try removing it slowly from your life.
Here’s Some Simple Steps to Deal with Burnout
Below (although not ordered, I provide 10 simple ways to beat burnout.
If your job is the source of your burnout, it might be difficult for you to leave and find a new one, given the current unemployment rate. If this is the case, try asking your boss for a holiday, or even a long vacation. Use up all the paid leaves you have accumulated and take a week off from work to detox your mind. Try changing things around at work, too. Redecorate your cubicle, or ask to be transferred to a new table. Try a different work routine, pack a different sort of lunch or try a new diner. If that isn’t going to help, maybe it’s time to hand in that resignation letter. Staying at a job or with an employer that continuously makes you unhappy won’t help you get better; it might just make things worse for you.
Break out of your daily routine. It might be one of the causes of your burnout, so see if mixing things up a little will improve your outlook. Try jogging first thing in the morning before you’ve had your breakfast, or skip the morning coffee and have tea or orange juice instead. If you’re always on your phone, try cutting down on those calls and turning your phone off for about an hour or two each day so you can focus on your hobbies, or pick one up if you don’t have one you can indulge in.
Change your diet. If you eat too much meat, try adding a bit more fruit and veggies to your meals. Eat healthier and try to control how much food you take. Don’t binge-eat just to make yourself feel better—that’ll only be temporary and won’t make you happy in the long run. Also, spend time with friends whose company you enjoy. Make sure your friends and family know you love them and appreciate their company: this will make you feel better too.
Don’t forget to get plenty of rest. Sleep earlier, or wake up later. Exhaustion is one of the biggest symptoms of burnout. Because of this, you need to get as much rest as you can. Take naps in between activities. If you feel tired, sit back and relax. Read a book—it’s okay if you fall asleep in the middle of reading through that. If you’re having trouble sleeping or getting some shuteye, try breathing exercises. Taking time out from people and technology will also help you rest and relax more.
Most of all, be patient. Don’t expect burnout to go away in an instant. It’ll take time for you to regain your energy, strength, and happiness back. Burnout is difficult to overcome, but if you make short term goals and couple it with a bit of dedication, you’ll be able to overcome it. And don’t forget: a little me-time at the beach—if you love sand and sun and surf—will certainly help too!
Ryan Del Villar is a Content Strategist at MoneyHero, an online comparison portal in Hong Kong. Ryan also writes online reputation management articles for HelmWord where he works as a freelance writer.
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Awesome article brother, I think the best way to beat burnout is to get rid of a specific routine. Once we get addicted to a specific routine we can’t escape easily and we are often trapped. We all need to do something crazy every once in a while in order to grow and become good! 😀
I like that you mention sleep here. The fastest way to improve your procuctivity, mood, state, output and enjoyment of the next day, is to get a full night’s sleep.
Tony Schwartz has some amazing lessons about this in his book, The Power of Full Engagement. Highly recommend anyone who does creative type work
These are all good tips. It is so easy to forget to do these things that should come naturally. At the same time, if you work in a corporate environment that works you to death then it is hard to not get burned out. Nothing like 70 hour work weeks to destroy your enthusiasm for life.