According to Harvard University’s management magazine, Harvard Business Review, 1 in 5 highly-engaged employees was at risk of burnout in 2017. Not much has changed in one year: more and more people report missing work, feeling exhausted or dissatisfied with their life, as well as experiencing early signs of depression due to burning out.
I’m no stranger to burnout: in fact, I’ve experienced so many severe burnouts in the last 10 years of my life, that I had to finally learn my lesson and begin to unwind, unplug, and maintain better work-life balance.
How? Here are 5 burnout recovery strategies that actually work:
1. Schedule Some ‘ME’-time
I’m starting off this list with a simple one: find time to celebrate life and enjoy yourself. Burnouts happen because you focus too much on your work and too little on the rest of your life, which matters just as much.
If you want to stay sane in the long term, I advise you to take care of yourself by finding enough time to slow the pace down and enjoy what the world outside of the office has to offer.
What can you do with your ‘me’ time? Whatever you want to! That’s the beauty of taking some time off: to spend some time alone, no questions asked, no explanations needed.
Do things that help you unwind, such as reading a great book, taking a bath, going out for a walk, or whatever it is that helps you tune out from the crazy pace at work and tune in to a mood for rest and relaxation.
2. Make Time for Your Friends
Though spending time with yourself is essential for overcoming burnout, sometimes there’s no better cure than to socialize with your close friends and like-minded peers. Make it your mission to have regular meetings with people whom you find inspiring.
Your true friends are your best resource of support, love, and fun. So are peers who are going through similar challenges as you are.
When we focus too much on our work, it often happens that we forget about our closest friends and spend too much of our time talking to colleagues about work. While talking about work can be a relief to some of you, it’s not the best way to step back from your burnout.
If you keep spending your time and energy discussing what happens at work, there’s a good chance you’ll not only suffer from burnout but also become obsessed with your work.
Trust me, you don’t want that to happen.
3. Take a Look at the Bigger Picture
When you think about daily tasks, meetings, budgets, promotions, your mind will be constantly preoccupied with solving work-related problems. If you really want to overcome your burnout, you need to step back, pause for a second, and take a good look at the bigger picture.
What is the bigger picture? It’s the vision you have for yourself: the person you want to become, the things you want to accomplish, the people you want to share your happiness with in the long-term. So, how do you step back if you can’t switch off your work-focused brain?
Let’s try a visualization exercise. You’re going to need 5-10 minutes of undisturbed alone time. Read the following paragraph and then close your eyes to do it:
Imagine how your dream life would look like in 5 years. Where do you live? What do you do? Who is beside you? How much money do you make? What do you care the most about? Who are the people that matter the most to you?
You can now open your eyes. The power of this visualization technique is in its ability to help you step back from your own work-centered current mindset and take a look at the bigger picture, envisioning your desired life and your future self that will get you there.
4. Deal with the Cause of Your Burnout
Burning out can happen for a couple of reasons, three of which I’ve found most common amongst my clients: you may feel like you need to constantly prove your worth to your boss; you may have high goals, but not a well-constructed plan on how to achieve them; you may get overwhelmed by all the work you’re doing but don’t have the healthiest boundaries when it comes to saying ‘no’.
No matter what the cause is, the best way to deal with it is to sit with yourself and dig deep for honest answers. Ask yourself the following questions: Has this happened before? Why am I working so hard? Is my work an excuse to avoid intimacy or face unpleasant feelings from my past? Have I seen the same behavior in one of my parents? Am I trying to overcompensate for not feeling good enough?
In one area of life or another, we all have our carrot at the end of the stick that we’re endlessly trying to get to. The key is to identify—and manage—whatever’s pushing you to keep trying to reach it.
If you’re not sure how to get to the core of the problem or you need someone to help you out with the whole process, book a free session and we’ll come up with a plan together.
5. Realize that Work is not Everything
It doesn’t matter whether you like your job or not: burning out is something that happens because you don’t have a healthy work-life balance. If you identify yourself as a highly ambitious person, that’s great! But the not so great part about it is that you have to be very conscious when you approach the next burnout…
Let’s be real: if you love your job, it’s inevitable to suffer from burnout at some point. It’s very easy to get caught up in the moment and invest a lot of time and energy thinking about it.
While it can be beneficial for your business or career, if you don’t set realistic expectations and slow down from time to time, you’ll end up being less productive, more prone to making critical errors, and you’ll probably end up damaging your health through lack of sleep and plenty of stress as you get there.
I want you to think about something for a second: when you’re on your deathbed, will you think about the hours that you spent working? Will all the awards and all that money matter? Or will you think about the love of your life, who left you because you put your job as a number 1 priority? Or your kids, who you haven’t seen in years because now they neglect you the same way you neglected them growing up because you were too busy going up the corporate ladder?
Don’t get me wrong: success, money, a thriving career, are all worthy things to work for! But, please, don’t turn work into the one and only meaning of your existence.
You’re not here, on this earth, just to work. You don’t need to prove anything to anyone. You are enough just as you are. And all the titles and promotions in the world won’t give you the fulfillment you’re looking for.
Don’t base your self-worth on external circumstances. You’re enough as you are. Click To Tweet