How to Deal with Burnout?. PixelsHow to Deal with Burnout?. Pixels

Job burnout is a type of stress linked to work. It includes being worn out physically or emotionally. Job burnout also may involve feeling useless, powerless and empty.

Burnout isn’t a medical diagnosis. Some experts think that other conditions, such as depression, are behind burnout. Burnout can raise the risk of depression. But depression and burnout are different, and they need different treatments.

Certain personality traits may affect the risk of burnout. Other factors, such as past work experiences, also can affect burnout risk. That helps explain why if two people are dealing with the same job issues, one might have job burnout while the other does not. Here are the steps to deal with it.

Addressing burnout takes a team approach

In a Q&A with BetterUp, Dr. Jiménez elaborated on how people — and teams and managers — could make a difference in the burnout epidemic. “The key is awareness,” she said. “First, you develop awareness, and then once you understand what you’re experiencing you can go to the right people to help you solve it.”

Reaching out for help with burnout, however, takes courage. It can be scary to admit that you’re struggling or overwhelmed. Most people don’t because they think it reflects poorly on their performance and fear how they will be perceived.

Addressing burnout takes a team approach. Pixels
Addressing burnout takes a team approach. Pixels

That’s why Jiménez emphasizes that “it is an organizational responsibility to not create those norms.” In a world where it’s easy to conflate productivity with self-worth, leaders need to make sure that they’re not reinforcing potentially dangerous values.

Know when you’re working too much to avoid burnout

A heavy workload is another big risk factor for burnout, says Maslach. “You have way too much to do. You don’t have enough resources to actually do the job well. You don’t have enough time.” As a result, your brain and body are perpetually stressed and after a while are unable to perform as well.

So it’s important to take breaks, says Dr. Gaurava Agarwal, a psychiatrist and well-being coach with Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine and the director of physician well-being.

Know when you're working too much. Pixels
Know when you’re working too much. Pixels

We need to make sure “we are resting and calming our brain down because brains aren’t designed to work this hard, this long, chronically,” he says. “And so taking that five minutes in an hour or one day a week to your ability to recuperate is going to be a big part of dealing with that exhaustion.”

Focusing on your health

You’ve been running on empty for a while, so it’s time to refill your tank. That may mean getting an extra hour of sleep at night, cooking your favorite food instead of grabbing takeout or going out dancing with your friends. Whatever helps you feel like yourself again.

Focusing on your health. Pixels
Focusing on your health. Pixels

Re-evaluating your goals and values

As your health starts to improve, it’s time to use those resources to do some thinking about the situation that led you to burnout. What are you not getting that you need to be happy? Is your mindset helping or hurting you? Are your priorities in sync with your values? What’s most important to you and why?

Re-evaluating your goals and values. Pixels
Re-evaluating your goals and values. Pixels

Explore alternative paths and opportunities

Once you have a sense of what needs are being unmet in your life, it’s time to do something about it. What concrete change(s) could you make to improve your situation? Maybe you need to leave a relationship that’s no longer serving you … or maybe you just need to get a night to yourself once a week. The changes don’t necessarily have to be big to make a meaningful difference in your daily life.

Explore alternative paths and opportunities. Pixels
Explore alternative paths and opportunities. Pixels
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