Let’s Talk About That: How to Recover From Burnout

Oct 28, 2020

By Kristie Kennedy, CPC

Burnout is a work-related mental health issue that’s affecting a growing number of people. In fact, according to our recent study of workers throughout the United States, about 40 percent of employees said they have experienced or been on the verge of burnout this year. 

The symptoms typically start with exhaustion, in addition to a dull feeling of emptiness and fatigue, and can quickly become constant depression or anxiety. But while burnout is both preventable and treatable, it’s often hard to recognize it in time to stop it. That’s why in this week’s episode of Let’s Talk About That, we’re taking a deep dive into symptoms, causes, and creative ways to prevent and treat burnout. 

What are the common signs of burnout?

Burnout is defined as the prolonged response to chronic interpersonal stressors on the job, marked by overwhelming exhaustion, feelings of cynicism and detachment, and a sense of ineffectiveness and lack of accomplishment. While symptoms can vary, the following are some tell-tale signs of burnout you can spot as they’re happening. 

  • Feeling like you never have enough time in the day
  • Feeling empty, mentally fatigued, emotionally numb, exhausted, and/or unable to cope with the usual demands of life 
  • Dreading the start of a new day
  • Emotionally distancing yourself from family, friends, and peers
  • Strongly disliking your job, and no longer feeling satisfied with the work you once enjoyed
  • Becoming cynical about your working conditions and peers 

What causes burnout?

Factors outside of our control are often at the root of burnout, especially in the workplace. These may include:

  • Your workload
  • Unrealistic deadlines
  • Feeling unseen, unrecognized, or unrewarded for the effort you’re contributing at work
  • A lack of clarity in roles and expectations

What can you do to cope with burnout? 

There are many ways to prevent burnout, and many of them focus on various types of self-care. However, while self-care is crucial in a mentally healthy lifestyle, it’s important to note that not all burnout is within your control. It’s important to focus on things you can change, but remember that your burnout may be caused by external factors, and that the best you can do is make sure that you’re treating yourself well. The more responsibilities you have, the more crucial it is to reenergize and recharge so you can operate at optimal levels.

Here are some self-care strategies to help you cope with and recover from burnout:

  • Align your thoughts with who you desire to be and how you desire to behave. Living in tandem with your values can help you override some of the disempowering feelings that can come from burnout.
  • Operate from a place of mindfulness. This practice can help you stop and notice what you may not have noticed before, and experience your life to the fullest.
  • Pay attention to your physical wellness. Practices like stretching your body throughout the day, taking a walk  (research shows that even a 10-minute walk can boost your mood for up to two hours), and resting when you’re feeling rundown can help rejuvenate you.
  • Create something. Assemble crossword puzzles or conduct word searches, or adult coloring books, or arts and crafts. Creating space for non-work related activities can increase internal satisfaction.
  • Talk with a close friend. This can help you forget about your worries and receive support from someone who really gets you.
  • Speak with a mental health professional about your unique emotional challenges and needs. It can be tough to process the difficult emotions you’re experiencing on your own. A trained professional can create a safe space to identify your blind spots and develop an action plan toward a more balanced life.

You don’t have to do all of these things at once, but you can start by identifying key areas you want to start changing and defining your personal values to create a wellness plan that supports your key priorities. Your success sits on the ladder of health and wellness, so it’s important that you consider what your current actions are communicating to yourself and the world about how you value your own wellness. Understanding that message can communicate your boundaries and limitations in your work environment, and help you avoid and treat burnout.

 

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DISCLAIMER: The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kristie Kennedy is a certified professional coach with an evocative style that elevates your self-perception from stuck to unstoppable, invisible to invincible, and timid to tenacious. Her bodacious belief is a testament that you can shift from mediocrity to monumental accomplishments one action step at a time.