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How to Avoid Burnout at Work


Burnout at work can affect anyone at different times during their work life. It is a feeling of being overwhelmed and deflated, created directly from being overworked. Note that it is not the same as stress. Stress can have both positive and negative impacts depending on personality. However, being burnt out can create a loss of productivity and make a person feel low. Often, it is caused by working too hard for long periods. In this guide, there are 10 tips for ways in which you can reduce work burnout for you/your business employees.

Table of Contents
How to identify burnout at work
10 tips on tackling burnout at work
The benefits of putting the tips in place

How to identify burnout at work

Male worker suffering from burnout

How do you know if you are a victim of work burnout? The tips listed will help a manager or employee to prevent burnout at work. However, the first step will be to know how to identify it. Here are ways to determine if you have become a victim of burnout at work. There are key mental, physical and emotional triggers to look out for, some of which include: 

– Lack of focus or ability to knuckle down with daily tasks.

– Being drained and tired most of the time.

– Feeling alone and isolated, especially whilst working. 

– Becoming easily irritated. 

– Anger towards people outside of work-like family and friends. 

– Losing touch with/withdrawing from friends and colleagues.

– Short-term memory issues.

– Having aches and pains, almost flu-like. 

– Ailments like insomnia and headaches

Causes of these triggers could be that you don’t feel in control of your workload, you have a poor work-life balance and/or poor work culture, which could mean that other members of your team or workforce are also suffering from burnout, causing everyone to feel deflated and negative. 

Man pushing over boxes with work and stress written on

It may not always be possible to avoid burnout, and its effects can create a wave of unproductive workers. Nevertheless, it is easier to prevent than treat, so ensuring your work environment is ready to tackle burnout will be the most effective way in reducing it in the workforce. 

10 tips on tackling burnout at work

More and more attention is being paid to well-being in the workplace, which is not only good for the employees but also for employers. So, if burnout at work has been identified, it is important to have ways in which to tackle it. 

The 10 tips on tackling work burnout can be related to any form of worker, whether from home, in an office, or on shift work. The same tips can be applied and adapted to suit different working environments and the people within them.

1 Organize your daily tasks

Believe it or not, writing a list is good for your mind. They are easy to put in place and allow you to visualize your tasks. On top of that, it feels good once you have ticked them off/completed them.

List ready to be written onto

At work, it is a good idea to create a list of things you need to achieve in the morning and then a second list of things in the afternoon. Make the sentences small, so they are easy to digest. Then, ideally at the start of each month, have a third list of things to achieve per week. This will ensure that larger important tasks are tackled. Having everything broken down into lists makes tasks much more manageable. 

2 Take short breaks 

Your body can take short amounts of stress at one time. However, being stressed for long periods can take its toll on your health. So, taking breaks during your day is important. 

Whether it is to get up, have a coffee, or take a breather outside, spending a short amount of time away from your desk or work will allow you to function more productively. Always be mindful not to get carried away and limit the time out to 5-10 min. 

Two people in blue taking time out from work

So, remove the guilt from taking a break and make sure you get away from your work schedule from time to time, no matter how busy you might be, as it will increase positive output to your workload in the long run. 

3 Eat healthily during work hours

It is common knowledge that healthy eating is good for the body, but it is sometimes hard to get into the routine of doing it. Eating healthily at work will make you feel fresher and prevent you from feeling sluggish toward the latter part of the day, maintaining your momentum. 

Breakfast pots stacked with fruit inside

If you don’t have time for breakfast before work, prepare a few breakfasts in advance on your day off that you can store in the fridge. Ones to consider include overnight oats or flapjack/cereal bars. Try to prepare your lunches too, and stick with pulses, grains, and protein. Avoiding carbs will help in preventing a sugar crash after lunch. 

4 Have downtime 

Downtime isn’t to be confused with taking a break. Having downtime means that once you are away from work/away from your home office, you leave your work behind. Make sure that, whatever your work entails, you don’t take any additional work with you when your day is over. 

A group of people working together on laptops

If there are times when you are required to work extra or complete a task, ensure it doesn’t take place more than once or twice per week. Or you could schedule into your week a day where you work over to cover those unruly tasks. 

5 Take time to exercise

Exercise is known to increase our happy hormones, and taking time in the day to exercise is positive for your mood. When exercising, you increase the oxygen to your brain, which can improve your memory and ability to manage anxiety and stress. All in all, exercising will have a direct, positive impact on your work performance. 

A man running in a coat on the road

Exercising doesn’t necessarily mean hitting the gym. It can be as simple as running, fast walking, or biking. Nowadays, with fast access to the internet, you can follow short 20-30 minute workout sessions from your living room. 

6 Plan vacations

Take the time at the start of the year to plan out some vacations. They can include two weeks away, a weekend, or day trips. Having these plans in place and knowing that you will have moments away from work help to distress, which in turn will increase productivity. 

A woman relaxing on vacation by the sea

It doesn’t mean that you have to tick off every vacation available, but having a few set out throughout the year gives the mind focus and something positive to look forward to. Plus, once you are on vacation, your mind will unwind and all your work stresses will feel a little lighter. 

7 Meet with friends/family 

Although you may have friends/colleagues at work that you get on with, taking time to meet outside of work with family/friends will have a positive effect on your well-being. 

A group of friends meeting for a picnic

If possible, try meeting with friends or family at least once a month, preferably once a week. People outside of work can give perspective to aspects of work-life, listen to your problems, lend you a helping hand, and ease some of the burdens. 

8 Learn to say “no” in the workplace 

Saying “no” in the workplace, whether it be to your boss or colleague, can be super scary. But taking that step can really help, as talking about your workload and re-sorting may be the best option for you to manage your job properly. 

Two colleagues negotiating tasks with a notepad

When your workload is overwhelming, learn to say “no.” Talk to your team, take time to reassess, and reschedule. Finding ways to re-organize work and extend or change deadlines can be a way to make workloads easier to deal with, and will ensure that you produce consistent, good-quality work. 

9 Create positive sleeping habits in the working week

Lack of sleep will hugely affect your focus and ability to retain information, especially at work. Sleeping between 6 to 9 hours per night is advisable, but getting good-quality sleep is also important. 

A person sleeping in soft white duvet

Create a good routine: Don’t eat too heavily before/close to bedtime; make your sleeping area as dark as possible—if on shift work and day sleeping, use blackout curtains; include exercise into your day (see tip 5), and a trip outside in the fresh air no matter the weather. When it comes to phones and computers, avoid them for at least 30 to 120 minutes before sleep.

10 Make changes

Dice with embossed lettering saying change

If all the above doesn’t work, don’t panic and look at other things that can be changed. It might just be that you need a new role altogether. Consider jobs that are outside your field of expertise, apply for dream jobs, and see what happens

The benefits of putting the tips in place

Many tips may seem obvious, but sometimes putting them in place can be overwhelming. So, having 10 tips broken down can make them easier to apply to your day-to-day working life. Each tip is important when considering well-being at work, and if burnout at work is something you think might be creeping up on you, then be sure to try to tackle each of the 10 tips in one way or another. 

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