Burnout is a real problem in modern workplaces. Everyone is overworked, stressed out, and trying to juggle life responsibilities alongside job requirements. Is it any wonder so many employees are suffering from symptoms of burnout?
Burnout is characterized by reduced professional efficiency, exhaustion, distraction or distance, and negative feelings about the job or workplace. Burnout has many sources, with stress and overwork being two of the biggest contributors.
So how can employee burnout be managed — or prevented?
Stress is defined in the dictionary as “a state of mental or emotional strain or tension,” and the causes of stress are nearly limitless. When people worry about basic needs, such as food or housing, it takes up a lot of mental focus.
Perhaps financial stress is contributing to your feelings of burnout. Consider if refinancing mortgage is an option; you could reduce your monthly mortgage payments with refinancing and put those extra savings towards bills or savings or a vacation fund. Are there ways to cut spending or increase your savings on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis?
Maybe you need to ask for a raise at work or look for a better-paying job; perhaps there are solutions you can suggest to your manager to make your existing workplace less stressful.
Human brains are not meant to be working 24/7. Everyone needs a break, yet the pressures of work can sometimes make it feel like there is no time to rest. Maybe that project is due tomorrow, or you have a big meeting coming up, or you are filling in for another coworker while also juggling your workload.
Even if it’s as short as 15 minutes, taking a break and doing some relaxed breathing exercises can help reduce stress and give you a second wind. If possible, go outside for some fresh air.
Workplaces are required to give employees scheduled breaks. Don’t skip your breaks to power through — it only adds to your stress and makes your brain work harder for poorer results. Take your break. It will help you from burning out in the short term.
Limit Blue Light
The blue light emitted by phones, computer screens, and other electronic devices actually keeps you awake. Blue light waves mimic sunlight, which signals your body’s circadian rhythm that it’s time to wake up or stay awake.
Experts recommend unplugging and avoiding screens about an hour before bedtime to let your body naturally wind down and prepare for a good night’s sleep. Rest is vital to your well-being, and a good night’s sleep can help detox your brain and refresh your whole body for the next day.
Humans need sleep to live, so while it may be tempting to skip sleep to get more work done, in the long and short run, you’re actually limiting yourself and your potential if you don’t get enough sleep.
Sure, you might need that coffee or energy drink in the morning to wake up, but keep in mind that caffeine tends to dehydrate your body. Make sure you drink extra water if you’re sipping on those caffeinated beverages.
Keeping your body hydrated is good for you in general, and it can help with stress and burnout. You need water to function; if you get headaches often, dehydration is a leading cause in many cases. And it’s hard to focus when your temples are pounding, and your skull feels like eggshells.
Consider also adding electrolytes to your water intake if you perform manual or physical labor — if you sweat, you deplete your body’s reserves and need to replenish them for optimal performance. Athletes know this, and you don’t have to run a marathon to take advantage of this knowledge.
Burnout is a health crisis, and while there is no one good preventive technique, taking care of your body and mind can help reduce the ill effects so you can live a productive life.