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5 Ways to Reduce Burnout in the Workplace

by Olufisayo
Burnout in the Workplace

In our fast-paced world, there’s a chance you may have heard the term before or even experienced it yourself. Burnout typically happens when there’s a reduction in emotional resources and support, which can result from prolonged stress and chronic exhaustion. Symptoms can range from depression, anxiety, insomnia, fatigue, increased use or abuse of substances such as alcohol, emotional numbness, irritability, headaches, stomach pains, digestive issues, feelings of hopelessness, and an inability to concentrate.

Work-related burnout can stem from a number of different things from your job. It could be related to feeling a lack of control with your work, or frustration with not producing expected results despite the amount of energy put in, or even a toxic work environment. The best solution for a worker dealing with job-related burnout would be to take a day off or take a vacation.

However, in order to keep burnout at bay on a regular basis, here are 5 ways to reduce burnout in the workplace.

Burnout in the Workplace

1. Take Breaks with the Pomodoro Technique

Have you ever had a day at work where you felt like you couldn’t concentrate and were getting nowhere? Instead of straining yourself to produce more, take a break. Breathe, meditate, go for a walk around the block, and just give yourself room to take your mind off work. The Pomodoro Technique, which sections your workflow into 25 minute periods, can help with stress alleviation throughout the day. You set a timer to focus on a task for 25 minutes, and after the timer goes off, you take a break to refresh yourself before starting another 25 minute increment. Taking breaks can help you feel less overwhelmed by a large project since it helps you break up the task into smaller chunks.

2. Prioritize What Is Important to You

According to Greg McKeown, author of the book Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, productivity is not getting more things done but getting the right things done. Burnout can point to a boundary issue where you’re saying yes to too many activities that have little or no value and meaning to you. This can leave you feeling frustrated in the long run because you are not engaging with what is important to you.

Prioritizing the activities that are important to you will help you feel more in control of your time, schedule, and your life. One way you can do this is by using the Eisenhower Matrix, a 4-quadrant matrix divided under categories of Urgent, Not Urgent, Important, and Not Important.

In one quadrant, you will have tasks that are both urgent and important, things that are time-sensitive and hold the most value for you.  In the second quadrant, you will have tasks that are urgent but not important. In the third quadrant, you will have tasks that are not urgent but important, and in the fourth quadrant you will have tasks that are not important and not urgent. Categorize your tasks into these quadrants to make good decisions with your time and energy.

3. Categorize Essential and Non-Essential Items

If your schedule is normally packed with different tasks and activities throughout the week, it may be time to reevaluate what is necessary and what is not. Many people have work-related appointments scheduled on the calendar so why not also schedule periods of rest? One way to do this is to evaluate what is truly essential during your week.

First, take every appointment, activity, and task off of your plate, leaving you with a blank week. Then start to add in the truly essential and non-negotiable items into the schedule. Take a look at your week and allow yourself nights off where you have free time for rest. It’s important to make this a practice in order to understand where your time is being used and how you can incorporate rest into your regular schedule.

4. Eat Well, Sleep Well, Exercise

For those who are constantly on-the-go and live a fast-paced lifestyle, it may be easy to slip into habits that are detrimental for your health. Busyness and stress can cause you to compromise your eating and sleeping habits, which can turn into a cycle of exhaustion. When you’re feeling burned out, it is important to press the reset button on basic needs such as taking care of your health.

Take time to slow down, cook and eat a healthy meal, exercise, and sleep a full 8 hours. Getting the basics right will set you up for successful health, which will ultimately bring more energy into every aspect of your life. Try meditation as a way to slow down during a workday. Stretch your muscles with a yoga class or even get a massage after work. These little additions into your day can vastly improve the quality of life and reduce the amount of stress you feel.

5. Have Fun

What’s the greatest antidote to work stress? Having fun, which could be any activity that allows you to relax and enjoy yourself. What activity makes you feel like time flies by without you noticing? If you had all the time in the world, what would you want to do for enjoyment? Whether it’s playing basketball, going fishing, or spending time with loved ones, fun is an essential need in our lives just as much as work is.

Laughter is also one of the greatest reducers of stress. You can watch a funny movie or go see a standup comedy show to laugh off the stress you may feel from work. If you’re more of an outdoorsy person, go for a hike with friends or go camping in the woods. Studies have shown that being in nature for just 3 days can help people feel more relaxed, peaceful, content, and happy. Whatever the activity is, take the time to schedule in fun for yourself so you can recharge.

All in all, stress management is one of the most important aspects of work. Business owners often struggle with burnout and will have to be diligent in drawing boundaries with themselves by delegating tasks such as financing to other parties. Ultimately, the best way to keep burnout at bay is by learning to accept and work with your limitations as well as by taking care of your needs.

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