Occupational Burnout – How to Avoid Burnout at Work

Occupational burnout is on the rise, as the World Health Organization now recognizes it in their 11th Revision of the International Classification of Diseases. According to Deloitte’s marketplace survey on burnout, 77% of respondents say they have experienced burnout in their current job.

The signs of burnout at work can often be wide-ranging, whether it’s isolation from social activities, chronic stress, health issues, emotional exhaustion, or a drop in work performance. These burnout symptoms can get worse over time and have a significant impact on your life. Understanding how to deal with burnout is essential for your mental health, productivity, and performance.  

Here are ten strategies to help you manage and overcome occupational burnout:
Take a Vacation
One of the most effective ways to deal with burnout s is to take a vacation. Going on vacation with family or friends is a great way to relax, recharge, and refocus on your physical, mental, and emotional health.  A break from work and life can be the reset button you need.  

End Your Workday
In a 24/7 hyperconnected, global workplace it is difficult to disconnect and unplug from work. The never-ending workday leads to burnout and is counterproductive. Economics professor John Pencavel found in his research that productivity per hour declines sharply when a person works more than 50 hours a week. After 55 hours, productivity drops so much that putting in any more hours would be pointless. And those who work up to 70 hours a week are only getting the same amount of work done as those who put in the 55 hours. Decide when you will stop working each day. Put this on your calendar as a meeting with yourself and commit to not opening your email, computer, or doing any other work-related task after this time.

Give Yourself Free Time
Taking time for yourself is essential to avoid burnout. Schedule free time during your workday. Block time on your calendar for a lunch break. Take 15 minutes to call a friend. Take a 30-minute walk in your neighborhood. A 30-minute break will improve your focus and enable you to be even more productive for the rest of the day.

Change Your Environment
It can be mentally draining to stay in the same environment throughout your workday. Give yourself a mental boost and change your work environment. Take a conference call in your kitchen, complete your presentation on your porch, or grab your laptop and go to your local coffee shop, bookstore, or library.

Make Time for Working Out
Regular exercise can relieve stress, improve memory, help you sleep better, and boost your overall mood. Whether you want to lift weights at the gym, go on a short run, or even play a game of basketball, the good news is that all physical activity can have these positive benefits. Staying active will improve your cognitive ability and enhance your overall well-being.

Refresh Your Mind with a Nap
Naps aren’t just for kids. A 20-minute nap can improve your memory, enhance immune health, boost your mood, and increase alertness. Taking a short nap can help you avoid that second cup of coffee and enable you to stay more productive for the remainder of the day.

Practice Mindfulness
 Finding ways to detach from a hectic work environment can help you recharge and enable you to improve your focus. You can incorporate mindfulness throughout your workday. Take three deep breaths after each meeting ends, spend ten minutes at lunch listening to a guided meditation on app like headspace, do few yoga poses between Zoom calls or simply taking a break from your smartphone.

Stay Ahead of Deadlines
Frantically completing work at the last minute is stressful. If you constantly work overtime to meet deadlines, this extra stress can add up and lead to burnout. Change how you manage your projects to avoid the taxing experience of constantly playing catchup at work. Put all project due dates on your calendar. Break large projects into smaller tasks. Time yourself completing project related tasks so you can accurately plan and allocate your time.

Find a Fun Hobby
Work is an important part of your life. However, if it is the center of your life, it increases your chances of experiencing occupational burnout.  Think back to your childhood and what you adored doing. Did you enjoy reading a book, playing video games, spending time in nature, painting, coloring, drawing, or baking cupcakes? Hobbies can improve your well-being and help you unwind from a stressful day. Time to play and engage in activities you enjoy is vital for your wellbeing.

Create a Schedule
A structure to your day will enable you to get your work done and enjoy your life. Schedule your most difficult tasks in the morning when you are more alert and fresher. Check email and complete administrative tasks in the afternoon.  

You are a human being, not a human doing. What will you do differently today to take back control of your mental, emotional, and physical health so you can avoid occupational burnout?

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