We’re all fighting to keep the normal rhythm of work intact no matter what your current work situation is, and this has led to some unfortunate habits in the workplace. Now more than ever, it’s essential to keep a healthy work ethic and determine your own momentum so you can be productive and happy while working. Today, we will break down the idea of ‘burnout’ and how you can prevent it amongst your employees and yourself.
There are several definitions and ideas for what constitutes burning out mentally and physically, and while it is true that some burnouts are less severe than others, it’s still a matter that should be taken seriously for your health. Overworking yourself may seem like you’re being more productive at work. However, it can lead to serious consequences for your health if you continue.
Here’s the urban definition of mental burnout: Burnout is a state of emotional, mental, and often physical exhaustion brought on by prolonged or repeated stress. Though problems at work most often cause it, it can also appear in other areas of life, such as parenting, caretaking, or romantic relationships.
It doesn’t matter if you’re an employer or an employee. You need to find out what your mental limits are so you can work within them to be healthy and happy.
Here are some things you can do at work and at home to help you stave off burnout:
Use vacation time and sick days.
At the risk of sounding like a broken record to some of you, use what you have worked for! As an employee and a dedicated worker, you earn time away from the office and your workspace. Vacations are important even if you use those days to sit on your couch and watch Kitchen Nightmares or whatever show you can get sucked into without noticing. It’s very easy to forget that vacation time is something we as workers are entitled to.
Also, if you’re an employer and someone isn’t using their time, tell them! Show them you care about their health and ask them to take a day off every once in a while.
If you’re sick and you know you cannot perform your best at work, you benefit no one by forcing yourself to be there. But, trust us, if you’re sick and you go into work, you’re making the company pay for it far more than if you’d stayed home.
Allow for ‘downtime’ throughout the workday.
This one seems contradictory, we know, but doing this is to your advantage! Taking five minutes here and there when you’re not at your desk helps keep your mental state calm and collected. When you work continuously and do not get up from your desk occasionally, you can experience ‘tunnel vision,’ losing track of your progress, and feel unaccomplished.
As you go through your workday, it’s important to stand up and walk around, even if it’s just to get water or use the restroom. Stepping away from your stressor and allowing your mind to have a moment of quiet can be a great way to solve a problem or end an inspiration block.
This is true for both employees and employers since we all suffer stress and can benefit from taking a step back and reexamine our work after a mental pause. So don’t be afraid to take a small break if you feel you need it. It’s better to take five minutes and recharge rather than waste three hours and not complete anything in your docket.
Only bite off what you can chew.
Again, we may risk sounding redundant, but you really can do this one for yourself and employers, make sure you stress that as well! If you drown yourself in work and cannot get anything done effectively, you can negatively affect yourself and the company, so ask others to take on a task every once in a while so you can do your current jobs well.
We know it can feel overwhelming and impossible to think about saying, “no, I really can’t do that right now,” but you do have a right to ask for someone else to take on a task that a superior assigned you. If you’re an employer, this is important to remember, ask your employees how they’re doing, if they feel overwhelmed, and see what you can do to help them succeed.
Evaluate your workload and see what you can do to alleviate any unnecessary stress.
Create a daily “to-do” list.
No one can accomplish everything they want to do in a single day. It’s just not possible unless you have a team of clones to help you. This can lead to mental strain and unnecessary worry about not finishing everything, which will make you shut down.
So, a simple way to avoid this awful feeling is to establish a clear and attainable schedule of tasks each day and leave some time for a delay or curveball. Life isn’t a clean schedule, stuff happens that we’re not prepared for, and we need to work around it to succeed.
However, being clear with yourself and your superiors about what you have to accomplish each day will help them see if you have space to take on a new project or not. In addition, going through a ‘to-do list and watching the checkmarks add up will significantly help improve your mental state and leave you feeling accomplished.
There are many other ways to avoid mental burnout and help you work better, but these are the top ideas that take the least amount of change in your work routine. Many of these ideas also lend themselves to better time management, which we discussed in a previous article, which is a great way to save you from mental stress.
Breathe, you’re doing fine, and if you take the time to examine ways you can improve your mental health at work and in life, it will pay off! Trust us!