Burnout in the 21st century is the most common reason for changing jobs. It is convenient to say “I am burned out”, there is even a certain trend in it. But so far many people misunderstand this term and confuse it with different states – from ordinary fatigue to depression. That is why self-treatment and different tools do not always help.
Three types of burnout
The first type of burnout is when an event happens for the first time. For example, a child is born, an exam, a deadline or any other first experience is ahead of us. We do not know yet how to work with it. Tension arises: it seems that we are under pressure, and our strength is already running out. But as soon as the situation changes: the child is with his grandmother, the exam is behind us, the deadline is not missed – everything normalizes. We get enough sleep, exercise, and come to our senses. Often in such situations people do not realize that they were on the verge of emotional burnout. This is a relatively easy case.
The second type of burnout is more complicated: it is associated with the monotony of work that does not end. For example, a sales manager makes the same kind of calls, and a product manager searches for hypotheses, sets tasks for designers. This is a routine that can be compared to unloading an endless freight train. One person can unload it 40 hours a week, another 80, and Elon Musk the whole 120. At a certain point, a person thinks, “I like my job, now I’m going to push a little harder, and there will be a leap. But then the boss comes in and says, “Better unload. And this remark puts an additional weight on top. The man continues to unload the train, and the weights pile up. Then inner tension begins to run high, but one still needs to move. I think any working person is familiar with this.
The third type is pseudo-burnout. This is a situation where a person feels burned out, but in fact he has lost motivation and become disillusioned. Twenty-year-old developers at the junior-plus level fall into this category, and they come running to me and say, “Vera, I’m burned out!” The team leader runs after them and wails, “I’m burned out, Vera, he’s going to die! Give him time off and a week’s vacation right away!” “The “burned out” guys write to Facebook and immediately receive a massive dose of empathy and support. That’s it, they’re happy with themselves.
Both office workers and freelancers on a remote basis can face professional burnout. If you feel a loss of energy, indifference to work, including those projects that previously inspired you, feel that your inner resources are depleted, these tips will help you cope with such a condition.
1. Set a work limit
It can be difficult for a freelancer to set a clear workload limit for themselves, as the number of orders determines their earnings. However, if you overload yourself with tasks, it will inevitably lead to a breach of deadlines, a decrease in the quality of the work done and, consequently, a loss of money.
Therefore, it is in your best interest to set a limit on the number of projects you take in work per week or per month.
2. Focus on one task
Be cautious about taking on multiple projects from different clients at the same time. It would be much easier for you to focus all your efforts on one particular client at a time, so you can focus on the specifics of their project, immerse yourself in it as much as possible.
The efficiency of multitasking also falls for office workers. If you do not try to do everything at once, you will be much less tired at the end of the day.
3. Take breaks
Take 5-10 minute breaks, which you should do every hour, to help you feel less tired. During this time it is desirable to distract yourself from your work tasks, for which you should get up from your computer, step away from your desk and take a walk. If possible, open a window or go outdoors to get some fresh air. You can also do breathing exercises, which will normalize the pressure and saturate the blood with oxygen.
4. Shift your attention
If you notice signs of burnout try to add new emotions and feelings to your life.
Active recreation – walking, jogging, biking, etc. will perfectly relieve accumulated fatigue and tension. Try to expand your space, meet new people and get ideas from them, travel and discover new places.
5. Devote time to rest.
Avoid working at unusual hours; don’t do your work on weekends, public holidays, or vacations.
Sometimes it is enough to rest and recuperate, to get rid of stress. Spend your time away from work in a quiet home environment: read something that interests you, watch a movie or just relax and lie in bed.
Move more: go for walks and sign up for your favorite (interesting) sports. Don’t take your phone with you during this time – let those hours be devoted only to you, and you’ll get joy and satisfaction from fresh air and physical activity. I, for example, was saved by buying a dog as a side effect.
6. Treat work rationally
You should treat your job simply as a means of earning a living, not as your main purpose of existence and a sacred obligation to clients or management. There is no need to think about your job duties day and night, and worry about every little detail; this will only add to your negative emotions and stress.
7. Don’t be afraid to change jobs
If you no longer see the value in your job or if you feel symptoms of professional burnout due to a toxic or too stressful office environment, perhaps a new job or, alternatively, a new set of responsibilities in your current workplace is the best way out.
Don’t be afraid to take on more challenging tasks: new challenges will give you a sense of interest and awaken a desire to develop professionally further. Regularly learn and implement new approaches and methods in your field. Add unfamiliar tools to carry out daily routine tasks.
8. Eat right
A healthy diet can help you get ready for work, avoid states when you don’t want to do anything and invigorate your body. Start your morning with a balanced breakfast, which will give you energy for the whole day. Nutritionists advise to include in your diet both simple and complex carbohydrates, alternating them, and also consume the necessary amount of protein and fats.
Do not forget about fruits and vegetables, as without vitamins it is difficult for the body to cope with the strain, and about drinking enough water – at least one and a half liters per day. But strong tea and coffee, on the contrary, should not be abused during the working day, as these drinks give energy only for a short time, after which the person gets tired faster and performs his duties less efficiently.
9. Start keeping a diary
According to psychologists, keeping a diary can help you cope with emotional burnout. We do not mean a public blog on a social network, but a personal diary in which you can describe your experiences, thereby dumping excess weight of emotions.
10. Keep Calm
In challenging times like these, it’s especially important to stay calm, as heightened anxiety weakens the body and negatively affects our productivity.
To keep yourself mentally and healthier, limit your newsfeed viewing time. For example, allot one hour a day after work to read the news. This will allow you to stay in the information field, while not jeopardizing your emotional stability.
Walks in the fresh air, sports, going to the swimming pool and other physical activity that allows you to “unload” the head will help to dispel anxiety. Try to relax by listening to calm music or turning on the sounds of nature – the sound of waves, birdsong, etc.
These simple tips should help to get rid of the professional burnout syndrome, after which you will continue your professional development and can once again enjoy your work. However, if you cannot cope with a professional burnout syndrome on your own, it is better to consult a specialist – a psychologist.