Job burnout is a type of stress that arises from issues within the workplace, for example exhausting hours, an unreasonably demanding boss, or a colleague who is frustrating at best. It can also include feeling like work is meaningless or valueless, or that autonomy is lacking. Whatever the cause, you feel drained.
It’s a horrible place to be in, but although you may feel helpless, there are in fact some things you can do to make yourself feel better—at least in the short-term—while you job hunt.
1. Make healthy choices
We all have our vices. When the stress mounts, we may reach for the high-sugar high-fat snacks, drink too much alcohol, start smoking more, or simply forget to hydrate. But good healthy choices will help us feel better and manage our stress. Be intentional with what you eat and drink to help yourself.
If you’re too busy to exercise then that’s all the more reason to find time for it! We humans have evolved to burn off stress through movement (being chased by a saber-tooth tiger was good for that in the past!). But modern workplace stress sees us managing it as we sit still. Get up and move, and build in regular weekly exercise, and you’ll feel so much better. Make sure you move away from your desk during breaks.
3. Prioritise your sleep
Sleep is just as important as diet and exercise. In fact, some medical experts claim it is even more important! Switch off from your screens and your work earlier and protect your sleeptime. Unwind well with a good routine.
4. Strategise your workload
Organising and prioritising your work can prevent you from feeling too overwhelmed. An ordered and tidy workspace helps. Work out your priorities and delegate where you can. This process will allow you to acknowledge where you may need to ask for help.
5. Take time off
You need time off. Using the odd day of leave here or there to top up your rest banks can be invaluable. Also try to recognise when you may need to take a sick day for mental health, as well as physical health. Due to stigma, this can be harder to identify, but sometimes all you need is a down day when there are no demands on your shoulders.
6. Ask for help
If you’re experiencing burnout at work, don’t be too proud to ask for help. Speak to your line manager and try to establish the reasons for the burnout and what can be done about them. Look into whether your organisation has an Employee Assistance Program, or Occupational Health. These can be invaluable sources of support.
7. Make an attitude adjustment
Where is the pressure coming from? Is it within you? If so, can you shift your outlook? Brainstorm what you love and hate about your job and evaluate if your attitude needs changing. If it doesn’t, it may well be time to move on and escape the burnout altogether. Working for another company or in a different role may be the long-term solution you need.
Sadly, lots of our candidates come to us having experienced job burnout. We can help you regain confidence and joy in your work again by finding a position you will love.
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