Published on: 23 Sep 2022
When life’s demands overburden you and stress in the workplace piles up, it can leave you emotionally and physically exhausted. What you feel might be more than normal daily life or excessive stress. You might be experiencing what’s known as burnout.
Employee burnout is very common, but this can also happen due to personal responsibilities. If you get to the point of burnout, you may feel completely maxed out, at your limit, or simply just too drained from dealing with your everyday responsibilities. Whether it’s personal or workplace burnout, chronic stress can negatively impact your productivity at work, work-life balance, and overall mental health.
Since this kind of fatigue is common, especially in high-stress jobs, it’s important to learn how to avoid burnout. The following 25 suggestions will help you recharge before you become totally overwhelmed. Keep reading to learn more about how to prevent burnout and live a peaceful, rewarding life.
1. Recognize the Early Signs of Burnout
The sooner you recognize burnout symptoms, the easier it’ll be for you to get your stress levels in check. Early signs of burnout include:
- Physical exhaustion
- Mood swings
- Increased anxiety
- Lack of enthusiasm for activities you normally enjoy
Due to an overlap in symptoms, it can be difficult to distinguish burnout from depression. However, if you’re struggling to determine if it’s burnout or depression you are experiencing, your best bet is to connect with a licensed therapist for help.
“Burnout often starts out with small, easy-to-ignore cues. One of the best things you can do for yourself to prevent burnout is identifying how you function when your emotional “tank” is full. This way, you have a guidepost to measure how things are going over time.”
Talkspace therapist Ashley Ertel, LCSW, BCD, C-DBT
2. Exercise Regularly
Whether you hit the gym, go for a jog, or take a dance class, exercise can improve your physical and mental wellbeing, enhancing your ability to cope with excessive stress. Studies have shown that regular yoga sessions, for example, can significantly lower nurses’ stress levels and signs of burnout.
3. Learn to Manage Your Workload
A big part of preventing burnout is learning to manage your workload more effectively. Prioritize tasks by order of importance, and don’t hesitate to delegate responsibilities when you have too much on your plate.
4. Give Yourself Mental Breaks
Not only can working nonstop leave you feeling frazzled and fried, but it can also actually make you less productive. Studies show that taking short breaks throughout the day can help you feel less fatigued, even when working long hours.
5. Practice Self Care
Many people who experience burnout have neglected their own needs. Don’t be afraid to make yourself a priority. Eat a healthy diet, get plenty of sleep, and set aside time to do things you enjoy every day. Self-care is an important part of our whole mind-body health.
“If you’ve already found yourself dealing with the frustrations of burnout, be sure to give yourself grace — know that you’re doing the best you can and you deserve to take care of yourself. Take breaks where you can and consider reaching out for therapy to address the root cause.”
Talkspace therapist Ashley Ertel, LCSW, BCD, C-DBT
6. Set Clear Boundaries
Learning to set boundaries and ask for help can be incredibly powerful. When you don’t have clear boundaries established, especially when balancing your work and personal lives, it can feel like you’re always on the clock. Weak or nonexistent boundaries with friends, family members, and romantic partners will almost always become a major source of stress.
7. Find Privacy
If you can’t seem to figure out how to stop burnout, it might be because you don’t have any time to yourself. Spend time alone each day so you can focus on important tasks without any distractions. Try doing a short meditation, writing in a journal, or going for a short walk by yourself. A little time can go a long way in giving you mental space and clarity.
8. Refresh Your Skills
An excellent way to prevent employee burnout is to keep learning new things. Any task can be overwhelming if you’re not sure what you’re supposed to be doing. That’s why you should regularly work to refresh your skills and keep them sharp. From classes to workplace training programs, ensure you have the skills you need for your job.
9. Find a Hobby
A hobby can be an excellent way to relax and unwind after a long, stressful day. Whether you work on an art project, learn a new skill, or set aside time for reading, hobbies can help prevent burnout and improve your quality of life.
10. Avoid Negative Self-Talk
Do you tend to see yourself in a negative light? Are you hard on yourself? Do you set unhealthy or unreasonable expectations for yourself? Engaging in negative self-talk can make you believe that you’re not capable of dealing with challenges, which can contribute to feelings of burnout. The next time you catch yourself thinking something negative, try to reframe your thoughts into something more productive. Catch yourself doing something right every day.
11. Practice Mindfulness
Mindfulness, a style of thinking that asks you to focus on what’s happening in the present, is frequently recommended to people interested in learning how to avoid burnout. It can help you stay objective and calm even when dealing with high stress levels.
12. Try Meditation
Meditation for stress is an effective way to cope with both short- and long-term stress. Taking just a few minutes to meditate can help you relax and clear your mind of negative thoughts.
13. Improve Your Sleep Hygiene
Have you ever woken up feeling tired, even after a full night of sleep? Healthy sleep habits and avoiding distractions in the evenings can help you improve your sleep hygiene so you can sleep more deeply and get ample rest at night. Go to bed at the same time every night, follow the same (healthy) routine, and avoid screen time before crawling into bed at night.
14. Start Journaling
Journaling for your mental health can help you express your creativity and put you in touch with your own feelings, which can help you figure out how to prevent burnout. Some journaling techniques, like gratitude journaling, can even help you look at your life more positively.
15. Recite Positive Affirmations
At the start of each day, look in the mirror and say something positive. Repeating positive affirmations can reduce stress and boost confidence levels. According to research, it can even help you think more creatively and solve problems more effectively.
16. Let Yourself Laugh
People often say that laughter is the best medicine, and that old adage may be truer than you realize. Research has shown that laughing and smiling can instantly reduce stress and improve your mood.
17. Relax with Breathing Exercises
Part of learning how to stop burnout is finding ways to manage everyday stress. Breathing exercises are a simple and effective way to calm down when you start to feel overwhelmed.
18. Remind Yourself to Relax
When you lead a busy life, it’s easy to get so caught up in what you’re doing that you completely forget to relax. Find ways to remind yourself to take the occasional break. You can set a timer, use a reminder app, or even make relaxation time a part of your daily schedule.
19. Set Aside Time to Connect with Others
Social support significantly reduces the effects of burnout. It’s crucial to make time for family and friends, even when your schedule is busy. A quick phone call or a coffee date can make a big difference.
20. Reframe Negative Situations
There’s no way to completely remove stress from your life, but if you’re interested in figuring out how to avoid burnout, you can learn to change your perspective. When you have a negative experience, try to look at the event positively. Even bad situations can be learning experiences. Adopting an everything-happens-for-a-reason mindset can do wonders for your psyche and ability to recover from life’s occasional setbacks.
21. Start Meal Planning
It can be hard to find time to cook when you’re busy, which leads many people to reach for unhealthy foods. If you start meal planning, you’ll have healthy food at your fingertips to keep your body and mind fueled throughout the week.
22. Get Outside
When you’re starting to feel frazzled, take a break and step outside. You can breathe fresh air, get vitamin D from the sun, and maybe even work in some exercise. When you head back indoors, you’ll be able to approach tasks differently.
23. Ask for Help When You Need It
One person can only do so much. If your current schedule is overwhelming, you should never hesitate to reach out to others for help. A little support can go a long way.
24. Start Therapy
If you’ve already started to see burnout symptoms in your own life, you may want to consider therapy. A therapist can help you cultivate a more positive mindset, identify areas causing harm in your life, manage your stress, and set boundaries, all of which can help prevent burnout.
Seeking Help with Therapy
Everyone experiences stress and emotional exhaustion, but for some, it can become overwhelming and eventually lead to job burnout. When you’re emotionally and physically drained, you may feel trapped in your situation and develop a negative outlook. You need coping and stress management skills to learn how to recover from burnout in your work and personal life.
Seeking professional treatment through Talkspace can offer you the best chance to find a way to manage your feelings and learn how to avoid burnout in the future. Talkspace is an online, affordable, accessible, and effective online therapy platform designed to make getting help easy and convenient. Learn more about Talkspace today.
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6. Ruisoto P, Ramírez M, García P, Paladines-Costa B, Vaca S, Clemente-Suárez V. Social Support Mediates the Effect of Burnout on Health in Health Care Professionals. Front Psychol. 2021;11. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2020.623587. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7838123/. Accessed August 21, 2022.
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