In today’s fast-paced world, heavy workloads and deadline pressures are a fact of life. Who doesn’t feel stretched thin or overwhelmed sometimes? But with the increasing prevalence of having to work from home (go away, coronavirus!), where the line between work-life and home-life is blurring, burnout becomes a real problem. Clinically-speaking, burnout is defined as having 3 distinct components: emotional exhaustion, a feeling of low personal accomplishment, and detachment from others. Sounds horrible? It is. You wouldn’t want to wish this on your nemesis. So, what can you do to prevent burnout from getting the best of you? Continue reading to find out.
Practice mindfulness for a calmer mind
If your schedule is typically packed right down to the seconds, you must have balked at the idea of mindfulness (“Who has time for that?”) But the truth is, the time you spend checking in with yourself is never wasted. Mindfulness not only leads to increased calmness but also helps you observe your mind–which then offers you clarity on why you're struggling so much daily. Do you have too much on your plate? Is the work too challenging? Do you need extra hands on the task?
Without practicing mindfulness, you wouldn’t have known just what (exactly) is bothering you. But taking the time to understand yourself helps you assess your problematic areas, hopefully, take steps to tackle them.
Reach out to friends and loved ones
When you’re so close to hitting zero in your physical, mental, and emotional tank, it can be tempting to withdraw from other people. But the truth is, your friends, family, and loved ones can be powerful allies in your war against burnout. Social contact is often said to be nature’s antidote to stress, after all. Just in case you were wondering: no, the person you reach out to doesn’t have to ‘fix’ all your problems. Instead, you’ll find that there’s a whole lot of comfort to be found in someone who simply takes the time out to listen attentively to you without becoming distracted or judgemental.
That said, if the person you’re talking to is part of the reason why you’ve been feeling burned out (i.e. your partner isn’t helping out with the chores), do speak with them. Don’t be afraid to voice your needs and ask for help!
Take regular breaks (not just on the weekends!)
Do something real quick: think back to the last time you had a break. Like, a real break–not one where you're scrolling through Instagram, then immediately attending to a new email from your boss. If your mind pulls up a '404 Not Found' error, well, you've got a problem. To prevent burnout, what you want to do is to take regular breaks during your workdays. If you need to, schedule it in! An extra 15-minutes spent on "Let me just tidy up this email template” and “Oops, I think I forgot to CC Lisa from the Credit team, let me check real quick” adds up over the day. So, you want to make sure to stick closely to the schedule you set!
Lost as to how you can set up a feasible daily schedule that allows you to practice mindfulness? Don’t worry. It’s not complicated. And all you need are 2 things: ‘The Daily Routine Journal’ and ‘Questions For Myself Journal.’ Check out how others have used these journals to beat burnout and become better versions of themselves here.