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How to Avoid Workplace Burnout

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Lindsay Barnhart
February 26, 2017

If you’re feeling burned out at work, you’re not alone. Thanks to a myriad of office stressors, many workers feel unsupported and disengaged. But don’t fret—there’s light at the end of this tunnel. Simple changes can have a big impact on your mind and body. In fact, the best way to deal with any stress is to make a plan and take control of your choices. That’s it! Ready to shed that stress and feel better? We thought so! Here are some steps you can take to banish workplace burnout.

  1. Surround yourself with the right people. Burnout can be caused by both circumstances and people in our lives. Certain relationships—professional and personal—just aren’t healthy and can be significant stressors. While you can’t necessarily remove all unfriendly or unhelpful people from your life, the more you can surround yourself with positive, encouraging, and supportive people, the better.
  2. Manage your stress. Our bodies weren’t built to manage high levels of stress, and it can wreak havoc on us. There are all sorts of stress reduction techniques out there, from deep breathing to spending time outdoors to meditation to yoga. The key is to find something that works for you and make it a regular part of dealing with stressful situations in your life.
  3. Learn to say “no.” This one’s tough, especially for high achievers out there. Often we find ourselves in burnout mode when we’ve said “yes” too many times. Yes to our bosses, yes to our colleagues, yes to our friends and family, and on and on. Being helpful and available to people is great, but not when it starts to affect health or well-being. It’s okay to say “no” when you need to.   
  4. Take care of your body. Ironically our go-to food and behaviors when burnout nears are often the worst possible choices: junk food, alcohol, too much tv or video game time, inactivity, etc. Making healthy food and physical activity choices are even harder when we’re under significant stress, but it’s all the more important. Be intentional about what you’re eating and how you’re treating your body, especially during stressful times.
  5. Make more space. Carving out space looks different for everyone, but it can free up your mind and emotions for rest and recovery. You might need to step away from technology, a toxic person, or a draining activity. You might need to just close your door more, take a vacation, back out of a commitment, or schedule some regular alone time.
  6. Give back. Studies have shown time and time again that giving back to others actually boosts our own moods and well-being. Simply put: doing good feels good. Look around for volunteer opportunities or people who might need an extra hand or dose of kindness. You’ll be amazed at how rewarding giving back can be to your own health, even during tough times.