by Sara Carter
When home life and working obligations crash into one space, an issue COVID-19 has left many workers with, there are bound to be feelings of being overworked and overwhelmed. And when these feelings are not addressed, it can result in burnout, the inability to feel motivated to get things done during working hours.
Many individuals have been experiencing a burnout period throughout the pandemic, so don’t feel like it is something unique to you. In order to recover from this burnout, it’s important to identify how it came to be and ways to avoid it in the future. Burnout is different for everyone, and one size does not fit all when it comes to the recovery process. However, in the following sections we’ll spell out a few ways to get back into work with a renewed sense of purpose.
What is Job Burnout?
Before getting into how to recover from burnout, it is important to recognize signs of it. Burnout affects everyone differently, but there are some common signals for people including:
- Unexplained muscle tension, pain, fatigue or insomnia
- Difficulty maintaining relationships in work and personal life
- Frustration and irritability with people
- Diminished pride in work
- Forgetfulness and problems concentrating
- Losing sight of career goals
There are other signs of burnout, but the ones listed above are the most common. Now that you know what to look for, let’s discuss some ways to stop it in the first place or how to get back into your work groove.
How to Recover from Burnout
Just like how everyone experiences burnout differently, there’s a variety of ways to recover from it. The following tips and tricks are a few ways to go about facilitating a good restoration.
Tip #1: Focus on your body: Okay let’s be honest, living on just coffee is not a good way to keep your engine running. Ditto for always ordering takeout. Your body needs plenty of water, nutritious meals, as well as sleep to keep it functioning. If you can’t turn off the screens or find yourself snacking throughout the day, these habits need to be broken.
Trick: Start meal planning, you’ll be surprised what a difference it makes to have your food ready during the week when you prepare it on the weekends. Plus, when you have food ready in the refrigerator, it’s easier to avoid ordering out all the time.
Tip #2: Talk It Out: Sometimes it can be hard to talk with other people in your life about the problems you are facing, but this is very important to have these conversations when it comes to work stress. Bottling it all up hurts you more in the long run. Find someone to discuss how your day is going or what hurdles have been tripping you up. It doesn’t have to be your supervisor either. It can be a friend or family member, and their outside perspective can help you.
Trick: Schedule into your calendar, a weekly chat with someone. It can be whatever time is best for you, but it’s one way to keep you accountable. Having a meeting on the books will also help with making this a habit.
Tip #3: Meet with Your Manager: If you have experienced burnout, it’s highly likely that your supervisor will notice, and if they haven’t, you need to communicate with them about it. Discussing how the burnout happened or contributing factors will help them understand how to assist you in future. It’s also a chance to talk about any feelings such as lack of control, insufficient rewards, unfairness, or lack of communication. If you want, you can even pull in your HR manager to ensure that your needs are met.
Trick: This meeting is a chance to talk about delegation of tasks that are overwhelming you. No, you’re not asking for someone to take over your job, but to have some plan in place for when the work comes gushing in. Although you may think you can handle everything, you can’t, and your leadership should understand that too.
Tip #4: Take Vacation Time: Although this option can seem like an easy action to execute, think back. When was the last time you actually left work for an extended period of time? The weekend doesn’t count. Taking a week away from your job will help reset your batteries and remove your deadline focused blinders. It’s a time to catch up with family and friends who can help support you on your recharge.
Trick: For a vacation, try to leave your home. Since the majority of people have been working from home, you could be in need of a change of scenery. Going to another person’s house or renting a flat will ensure you leave your work at home, and have a true break.
Tip #5: Think about a Big Change: If you’ve had a meeting with your management, and feel your needs are not being met, then it might be time to make a change. Yes, this can seem drastic, but if you’re no longer happy with your job, and there isn’t the support in place to help you, it’s a sign to move on. In the end, you need to do what is best for you.
Trick: If you do move ahead with a job change, take a break between the two. Don’t quit your old job on a Friday, and start a new one on Monday. Give yourself a break to get your bearings and your feet underneath you.
Burnout can happen to a lot of us and show up in different ways at various points in our career. But the important thing is to have a recovery plan rather than continue fanning the flames. Following any of the tips above will help you have a good journey back to work through conversations and protective steps. Remember, resetting yourself will take time, but facing the problem will help you.