Burnout can happen in any career, and if you become too burned out, you may start to lose interest in other areas of your life as well.
When burnout becomes catastrophic, it can feel as though you have no energy, and as though you will never have energy again. This may seem dire, but the good news is that there are steps you can take to ensure that you do not become burned out.
By making time for each of these seven steps on a regular basis, you dramatically reduce your risk of running into burnout.
1. Regularly Reflect on Your Life
Reflecting on your life and what you’ve accomplished and been through can be helpful in all aspects of life, but regular reflection is vitally important for avoiding burnout.
Many people tend to automatically go through the motions of work, and doing this without thinking about how your work fits in with the rest of your life can be a recipe for burnout.
Periodically asking yourself how you feel about your job and the rest of your life can help you to determine whether you are headed for burnout. Asking yourself how you feel about your job can also help you decide whether it’s time for a career change.
If you find your job to be chronically exhausting, it’s wise to pursue a change of career before you reach extreme levels of burnout.
2. Realize That Not Everything Needs to Be Complicated
Frequently, burnout happens when we expend extensive mental energy over a long period of time. Many people who eventually burn out are high achievers and problem-solvers, and they may have a tendency to overcomplicate things.
While it may take some getting used to, developing the ability to sort out what tasks need complex thinking and which ones don’t can help you to conserve valuable mental energy.
And when you are able to do this, you’ll be less likely to burn out from feeling as though your work takes up too much mental energy.
3. Eat Well and Exercise
Some of the classic signs of burnout include chronic low energy and a defeated attitude.
While burnout can certainly happen to those who live a healthy lifestyle, you will be less likely to suffer from it if you take the time to eat nutrient-rich foods and exercise.
Exercising can improve cognitive function and mood, and making sure that you eat a balanced and healthy diet can help you feel energized and better equipped to handle the challenges your job poses.
4. Disconnect from Technology Regularly
Often, in our fast-paced world, many of us get caught in the trap of feeling always “on,” or as though we always need to be connected to technology.
For instance, even outside of work hours, some of us feel compelled to keep up with work e-mail or other commitments. Getting out in nature or otherwise physically removing yourself from your regular routine is a great way to make this disconnect more complete.
Making time to completely disconnect from all technology on a regular basis can help prevent burnout because, by disconnecting for a short period of time, you are essentially giving yourself a regular mini-vacation.
Rather than working hard non-stop at your job and then burning out, taking technology breaks can help to remedy exhaustion before it builds to catastrophic levels.
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5. Cultivate Hobbies and Outside Interests
We often hear about the importance of work-life balance, but for many people, talking about that balance is a lot easier than actually achieving it. Often, many of us try to achieve a balance but run into problems with mentally disconnecting from work.
For example, we may take days off, but then have trouble avoiding stressing about work and other responsibilities.
One way to work on fully achieving work-life balance, both mentally and physically, is to find a hobby you enjoy.
When you have a passion outside of work, it gives you something to mentally invest in that is removed from work. The right hobby can be energizing, and it can help you to fully disconnect from your work.
Additionally, hobbies can help ensure that you build an identity that is not completely tied to work.
6. Pay Attention to Your Body
We’ve all probably heard “listen to your body” at some point or the other. This advice is often applied when training athletically, but it also can apply to avoiding workplace burnout.
For instance, if you start to feel chronically tired, instead of simply pushing through it, it can help to examine what might be contributing.
Exhaustion may mean that you aren’t sleeping enough or that you need to eat more nutritious food. By trying to troubleshoot exhaustion when it first appears, you may be able to help remedy it before it reaches all-consuming levels.
While the above methods can all help you to avoid burnout before it becomes catastrophic, many of them come down to remaining reflective and aware of your mental and physical state, as well as working to achieve balance.
While these processes may feel challenging at first, making them a habit will help you to find satisfaction in both your career and the rest of your life.
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