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What to Do When You're Feeling the Effects of Burnout

How to Cope with Burnout

It's quite common for people to experience burnout when they spend long periods of time engaged in monotonous or uninspiring tasks. Here are some tips you can use to prevent and cope with burnout to enhance your productivity and protect your well-being.

What Is Burnout?

Burnout refers to the feeling of physical and emotional exhaustion that arises from stress. It's most often associated with the workplace, especially in demanding or uninteresting jobs. It can also develop when we spend too much time involved in a pastime. Since burnout can often sneak up on us, it's important to watch for telltale signs so you can take steps to keep it at bay.

Signs of Burnout

Many people dismiss burnout symptoms as the natural result of modern work life. In reality, there's nothing normal or natural about burnout symptoms. To preserve your mental well-being and enhance your productivity, you need to recognize potential signs of burnout and take steps to improve your situation. If you suspect you may be suffering from burnout, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Have I become critical or cynical at work?
  • Do I dread work or have difficulty starting the day?
  • Have I become impatient or irritable with customers, co-workers or clients?
  • Do I lack the energy or motivation to stay productive?
  • Am I having trouble concentrating?
  • Do I get little satisfaction from work achievements?
  • Have I begun to feel disillusioned about my job?
  • Do I use alcohol, drugs or food to cope with my feelings?
  • Am I sleeping too much or experiencing insomnia or frequent waking?
  • Have I experienced stomachaches, headaches or bowel issues?

If you answered yes to some of these questions, you are likely experiencing some level of burnout. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to improve your situation.

Coping with Burnout

Assess your options. If you're experiencing burnout at work, consider discussing concerns with your employer or supervisor. You may be able to work together to reach solutions or make compromises. Try to set realistic goals and look for ways to lighten your load or streamline the way you receive and handle tasks.

Try to relax. Explore activities that can help with stress, including meditation, yoga or Tai chi.

Exercise. Regular exercise can help you cope with stress while giving your mind a much-needed break from work.

Prioritize sleep. While inadequate sleep can fuel stress and burnout, improved sleep can refresh your well-being, sharpen your focus and protect your health.

Be mindful. Mindfulness refers to being intensely aware of what you're feeling and sensing at every moment, without judgment or interpretation. In a work setting, mindfulness involves facing situations with patience and openness without making judgments.

Reach out. Whether you reach out to friends, co-workers or loved ones, support and collaboration can help you cope with symptoms of burnout. If possible, take advantage of any available employee assistance program. You should also consider giving therapy a try, especially if your burnout is leading to depression, insomnia, stress or problems at work. If you feel that your burnout is resulting from a dead-end job or lack of direction, consider meeting with a life coach who can help you find your path and overcome major, difficult transitions in your life journey.

The caring therapists at Foundations Counseling can help you and your family overcome life's greatest challenges. Contact us today!