Burnout: Warning Signs & Ways to Manage It
Updated: Sep 25
How to recognize the signs of burnout and tips on how to manage it in a healthy and mindful manner.
Written by No Expectations Team
No matter how passionate you are about your work, burnout can still overcome you. You get burned out when you feel like you're putting more effort into your work than you're getting in return. It can happen when a job isn't rewarding, but most often, it happens because you're not taking care of yourself.
Signs of Burnout
Little to No Motivation
It's okay if many of these symptoms are familiar to you. Find self-care strategies that can help you fight burnout. If you want to recharge and find balance in your life, you need good ways to remove yourself from your work. Here are a few tips.
Tip #1 Disconnect
Disconnecting is the most important burnout strategy on this list because if you can't find time to disconnect from your work electronically, then you've never left it. Working 24/7 exposes you to constant stressors that prevent you from refocusing and recharging.Try designating specific times to check emails and respond to voicemails if taking the entire evening or weekend off isn't realistic. On weekday evenings, you may check your emails after dinner, while on weekends, you may check your messages while your children are playing at their friends' houses. Short blocks of time relieve stress without compromising your availability.
Work is important, but you also need to disconnect, to unplug at times, in order to be even more concentrated when you do work.
Tip #2 Listen to Your Body
We often think that our headache is the result of dehydration, that a stomachache is the result of something we ate, and that an aching neck is from sleeping on it wrong, but that’s not always the case. Oftentimes, aches and pains are an accumulation of stress and anxiety. Burnout manifests in your body, so learn to pay attention to your body’s signals so that you can nip burnout in the bud. Your body is always talking, but you have to listen.
When we can truly tune into our bodies, we become far healthier. If we listen mindfully enough to our body, we are more likely to eat what our body needs and wants. We are less likely to overeat or eat the wrong type of foods that our bodies will struggle with. We are more likely to go and rest and go to bed when our body needs it. We are more likely to do what our body needs, not what someone else’s body needs.
Tip #3 - Schedule Relaxation
There are countless different ways to relax, from taking a walk to performing yoga asanas, getting a massage, or simply listening to music. To realize the maximum benefits, it's important to remain committed to your scheduled relaxation sessions. Put them on your calendar or write about them in your journal.
It's ok to occasionally binge-watch your new favorite Netflix series with a bowl of popcorn but don't let this become your "go-to" relaxation method.
Tip #4 - Stay Away from Substances
If left unattended, stress can run chaos over your daily life. When your sleep cycles become out of sync, you may be inclined to reach for sleeping pills, a glass of wine, or cannabis edible to help you get your nightly slumber back on track. Or if you're feeling drained from a bad night's sleep, you might drink three or four cups of coffee to get you through the day.
It's best to avoid these substances altogether because they just accelerate the issues. If you must use them, do so in moderation.
Tip #5 - Take Regular Breaks During the Workday
This tip is important and super easy. Take a walk to your mailbox (if you work from home) or through your office's parking lot. Linger a little longer over that glass of water you need to be drinking. Whatever you do, know that the world will not end because you took a few micro-breaks throughout your day.
Tip #6 - Build A Better Routine
Creating and sticking to a daily routine is paramount to managing symptoms of burnout. Sujata offered some great suggestions in her post 5 Mini Routines to Help Build Your Daily Routine and Andrew discussed Practices That Increase Well-Being, both of which give excellent advice.
A Closing Thought
Burnout impacts everyone differently. Understanding and recognizing the warning signs is just as important as managing them. Give yourself the time and space to try the above tips. If you're not seeing results or things are getting worse, then it may be time to speak with a health care professional.