How To Avoid Burnout

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Cultura RM/Jason Butcher/ Getty Images. Cultura RM/Jason Butcher/ Getty Images

With high job demands and busy schedules, it's important to know how not to burn out. Certain factors may make you more prone to burnout, but there are steps you can take to safeguard your serenity. Find out what you can do to minimize your risk of experiencing burnout at your job and in life.

Difficulty: Easy

Time Required: Ongoing

  • Take Breaks
     
    Giving yourself a break--not only on the job, but especially when you're not working, can be an important key to maintaining work-life balance.  There are many reasons we need vacations, but don't discount the value of a staycation or even just a "mental health day" here and there.  Be sure that you make the most of your weekends, but even taking short meditation breaks during the day or indulging in a favorite hobby during the week can offer breaks from the stress of a job, and this short reprieve from stress can help you to come back feeling more energized and productive.
  • Find Meaning In What You Do
    Those who feel the least stressed about their jobs tend to be those who are able to connect what they do with helping others and making the world a better place.  People feel more empowered when they feel that their work matters.  Look at your job and think of the ways in which you help others and make a difference in the world just by showing up. Then think of this when you're feeling stressed or overwhelmed.  This will help you to maintain a more empowered frame of mind.
  • Connect With Others
    Feeling disconnected from others can deplete us--and leave us cut-off from sources of support that can buffer us from stress and burnout.  The problem is that busy lifestyles that contribute to burnout often leave us too busy to connect with others in a way that revitalizes us.  We may see people throughout the day, but if we only see people who need things from us--clients or bosses, for example, or other parents who are counting on us to do our part in the PTA or carpool--we may not feel supported as much as depleted by this form of social connection.  If you find that most of the people you see are people who need something from you, do what you can to give yourself some time with supportive friends.  Have a game night, go for coffee, play on a team.  Or just call a friend, if you have a few minutes.  Be sure to maintain your relationships, especially when you feel yourself on the verge of burnout--they can help you feel energized again.
  • Reduce Stress Where You Can
    If you experience a lot of stress that you can't minimize in certain areas of your life, like at your job or in managing family obligations, it's important to minimize overall stress by cutting down on stress in areas of your life where this is possible.  This may mean culling clutter, setting boundaries with those who drain you, or cutting out bad habits.  Here is a simple way to spot the unnecessary stressors in your life, and start cutting them out where possible.
  • Take Care Of Your Body
    This is one that many people forget, and many others simply put last on their list: self care.  The problem is that when your body is too tired, too hungry, or frazzled by chronic stress, you can be more reactive to the stress you face, and your reserves can become depleted more easily.  Put your basic physical needs at the top of your list of priorities; this will help you to feel more empowered with everything else you face, and can help keep burnout at bay.  Here are some simple and effective self-care strategies to try.

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