Do you think you might be experiencing burnout at work? You’re not alone. Whether
you commute or work from home, work burnout is a condition that can affect our
physical and mental health. The Mayo Clinic asks the following questions to help us
identify the symptoms:
• Have you become cynical or critical at work?
• Do you drag yourself to work and have trouble getting started?
• Have you become irritable or impatient with co-workers, customers or clients?
• Do you lack the energy to be consistently productive?
• Do you find it hard to concentrate?
• Do you lack satisfaction from your achievements?
• Do you feel disillusioned about your job?
• Are you using food, drugs or alcohol to feel better or to simply not feel?
• Have your sleep habits changed?
• Are you troubled by unexplained headaches, stomach or bowel problems, or
other physical complaints?
If you can answer “yes” to some or all of those symptoms, here are some ideas that
Take stock of priorities
Look at your life and identify your top priorities – be sure to include family, friends, and
self-care at the top of that list. Then gauge how many hours per day and per week that
you spend attending to each category. If work isn’t allowing you to focus on yourself or
the people close to you, your quality of life will suffer and depression can sneak in. Give
yourself the time you need to have new experiences and develop personally so that you
have the foundation you need to grow in your career.
Schedule time for strategic thinking vs. task management
In order to avoid feeling like you’re a hamster on a wheel of never-ending tasks, be sure
you’re taking the time you need for strategic thinking. The Center for Management &
Organization Effectiveness explains “Strategic thinking is simply an intentional and
rational thought process that focuses on the analysis of critical factors and variables that
will influence the long-term success of a business, a team, or an individual.” Allow
yourself the time and space for new ideas and creative thought to avoid stagnation and
to keep yourself feeling motivated and hopeful in your position.
Use your vacation days to refuel
Take the time you need for your mental health – without feeling guilty. We need this
uninterrupted, scheduled time off to focus on ourselves and who we are outside of our
jobs. Consecutive and planned days away from work reduces our stress, improves our
health, keeps us happier, AND increases our productivity when we return to work. So do
yourself and your career a favor and take your PTO days when you need them.
Take regular breaks
Whenever you feel like neglecting yourself in order to keep working, just remember:
Our work suffers when we haven’t taken care of ourselves. At regular intervals
throughout the day, focus your attention on what your body and brain need to keep
going. Feed yourself, refill your water, take deep breaths, stretch, get some sunlight. Do
what you need to do to take care of yourself daily so that your job doesn’t begin to
negatively affect your health.
Set a regular daily work schedule
For those of us without 9-5 jobs this one can be tough, but in general try to stick to
regular working hours. This will allow you to keep a regular sleep schedule and to have
personal time every day. Notify your direct reports of your schedule each week so that
it’s clear to everyone and to avoid any expectations that you will be available. Then
comes the hard part: sticking to it and maintaining the time boundaries. It helps to
remember that tomorrow will be better because you took care of yourself today.
We hope these tips have helped you! DW Simpson can assist you in navigating the next
steps in your career path. Find us at DWSimpson.com.