Even though most of us enjoy our jobs on a regular basis, doing the same job for years with increasing workloads can get exhausting. With offices becoming high stress environments due to competition between co-workers, last-minute deadlines, and longer working hours, it’s easy to get completely burnt out–sometimes without even realizing it.
For those who aren’t aware, burnout is defined as “a state of emotional, mental, and physical distress that occurs when employees become overwhelmed, emotionally drained, or dispassionate about the tasks they are assigned on a day-to-day basis at work.” Burnout results in major stress buildup, causing employees to leave work questioning their interest or purpose, completely drained, and full of self-doubt. In financial terms, employee stress and burnout can cost American businesses up to $300 billion per year!
Thankfully, burnout is one of those things that can be easily combatted, and by incorporating a few good habits into your daily routine, you’ll be poised to effectively tackle stressful or unpleasant work situations without losing your mind. Here are some ways to do so:
Pursue a Hobby
Spending time pursuing a hobby might be the last thing you want to do after a tough day at work. However, dedicating time to a hobby that is significantly different from the type of work you do for your everyday job helps to provide your mind and body with the break it deserves. Also, it allows you to have something fun to look forward to post-work hours, which will keep you motivated through the day. Considering that 73 percent of employees experience the psychological symptoms associated with stress and burnout at work, getting this “hobby fix” is a great idea and will ultimately make you more productive at work, thus leading to higher job satisfaction.
It’s a well known fact that exercise releases endorphins that alleviate stress and contribute to overall happiness and good health. Research has shown that moderate aerobic exercise, like walking or running several times a week, helps boost mood, improves sleep, and sharpens focus. As someone who hated the thought of exercising daily (mostly because I was lazy), I completely understand if the thought of waking up early to work out, or even hitting the gym after work, doesn’t sound too appealing. But if you can get yourself to try three weeks of including just 20 minutes of exercise into your routine, you’ll start to see the the positive effects of this change and wonder why you didn’t make time for exercise sooner. Following a regular fitness plan is also a great way of keeping off unwanted pounds that often result from long hours at a desk job. Plus, it helps keep your mind alert and fresh.
Eat Well, and Often
Have you ever gotten hangry at work? I know I have. Long hours without wholesome food leads to hunger, which then leads to crabbiness and anger. The corporate lifestyle often involves eating at odd times, eating fast food and junk, and even skipping meals due to meetings and deadlines. Remembering to eat small frequent meals is key to avoiding hanger.
The power of food is abundant–and a nutritious meal can do wonders for your physical and mental well-being. Furthermore, eating regularly will keep your energy levels up and leave you feeling satiated through the day. Make sure to drink enough water too–dehydration leads to unnecessary health issues, which cause a lot of stress, and is one of the most common causes of headaches and weakness at work. A good way to avoid dehydration is to keep a large water bottle at your desk and set up reminders to sip water every hour.
Take a Vacation
It’s shocking how many people save up vacation days but never end up taking a holiday. A lot of times, people will combine days off, but then work comes along. Before they know it, their vacation days have lapsed, and they’re back to square one. If this situation sounds familiar, then it’s time for you to take action to correct it. If you are due for a holiday, make sure you take it! In terms of avoiding burnout, a holiday is one of the best ways to rejuvenate yourself and center your mind and body once again.
If you’re worried about the related expenses of a holiday, then consider the return value you will receive. According to Elizabeth Dunn Michael Norton, the co-authors of Happy Money, “people are happier when they spend money for an experience–vacations, restaurants, education, and even home improvement–rather than buying more things (electronics, cars, clothing).” Try to travel to someplace new, and fully immerse yourself in a new culture that takes you away from your daily work routine.
Successful entrepreneurs also emphasize the value of vacations. Entrepreneur Jesse Pujji of Ampush states, “Vacations with loved ones will help entrepreneurs avoid burnout. It’s important to put on an out-of-office message, too, and not respond to emails. Another benefit of taking a vacation is you set a good example for hard-working employees.”
Ask for Help
Due to increasing competition levels within the workplace, an increasing number of stigmas have been associated with asking for help. Most people feel guilt when asking for help to complete tasks assigned to them, giving way to insecurities about their competence. It’s vital to realize that asking for help is completely alright; the worst that can happen is that your request will be denied. This is a far better outcome than struggling with multiple tasks and being completely overwhelmed at work, and then hating your job for the stress it’s causing.
Asking for help also leads to your own professional growth, as you will often learn new things via the knowledge of your coworkers and superiors. Most likely, when there are more minds tackling the problem, you will find a solution quicker and free up time to complete other tasks, reducing frustration levels.
Similarly, when you yourself are asked for help by coworkers, try and do so if it is within your capacity. Helping others will make you feel valued within your work environment. In fact, studies suggest that proactively doing things for others, even small things such as holding a door open, can help you cope with everyday stressors and tough days, eventually boosting your daily well-being.
Keeping these tips in mind will help you completely avoid the burnout phenomenon. Always remember to dedicate time for yourself and your own happiness, so that you can stay productive and flourish within your career.
How do you avoid burnout?
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