Do you want to learn how to prevent burnout? Then you need to read this article to the end as it discusses everything you need to know about burnout and how to avoid it.
When you experience burnout, your productivity level can be significantly affected.
This is why this guide has been written for you so that you can continue being as productive or even more productive than you used to be.
Therefore, make sure you read this article to the end to get all the tips that will be shared in it.
Meaning of Burnout – How to Prevent Burnout
Burnout was coined by Herbert Freudenberger.
This word is used to describe an extremely stressful condition that often results in severe emotional, mental, and physical exhaustion.
Burnout is not the same as regular fatigue.
It is typically more severe and often makes it hard for a person to handle stress and their daily responsibilities.
People who are burnout don’t think they have anything to offer.
They may dread leaving their beds or leaving their homes because they don’t want to be productive.
Sometimes, they may start to feel pessimistic and hopeless about everything.
Unfortunately, burnout does not go by itself.
If you start experiencing it, you will need to get treated for it.
And if it is not treated, it can result in several serious psychological and physical health conditions such as diabetes, depression, and heart disease.
Who Experiences Burnout? – How to Prevent Burnout
Anybody whose stress level is always very high can get burnout.
Sometimes, burnout can be career-induced.
This is because certain professions and career paths are very stressful.
For instance, as a business owner or leader, your stress levels can get very high because of the many responsibilities you have to shoulder at work.
This makes you quite prone to burnout.
Aside from career choices, people with certain characteristics are more prone to burnout.
For example, perfectionists and people who always want to control everything around them have a higher chance of experiencing burnout.
Indications That You Are Experiencing Burnout – How to Prevent Burnout
Knowing the symptoms of burnout will make it easier for you to spot it if you ever start experiencing it.
This way, you can take your preventive measures more seriously to make sure you stop this condition on its track.
Therefore, below are some of the many signs that you might experience when you get burnout.
Exhaustion – How to Prevent Burnout
When you are burnout, you would find yourself feeling both emotionally and physically drained.
You might constantly feel exhausted.
This exhaustion may result in other physical symptoms such as changes in sleeping and eating patterns, stomach aches, and headaches.
You may turn to your imaginations to shut out how demanding things are becoming at work; constantly fantasize about taking a vacation or simply running away.
Or you might even resort to drugs and/or alcohol in a bid to free yourself of your emotional pains.
You may isolate yourself and stop spending time with your friends and family because of how overwhelming everything feels.
You may also stay away from social functions and events that you used to enjoy attending.
Frequent Illnesses – How to Prevent Burnout
Just like prolonged stress, burnout can also lower a person’s immune system.
So, you may become susceptible to certain illnesses such as insomnia and flu.
It can also result in certain mental health conditions like anxiety and depression.
Irritability – How to Prevent Burnout
You may become so cranky and irritable when you are burnout.
You may not know how to control your anger and lose your cool with your employees, friends, and even family members.
Even regular everyday tasks and chores like going for a meeting might begin to look very daunting.
And you may tend to lose your cool when it seems like you can’t handle these tasks.
Specific Indications That You Are Heading Towards Burnout
The following are some specific signs that indicate when you are about to experience burnout.
- Feel like quitting your work or changing your career or role
- Tend to blame other people for your errors
- Feel like your work doesn’t make any meaningful contribution; that you aren’t making a difference
- Start pulling away from your clients, employees, family, and friends
- Often feel empty and/or hopeless
- Do not go to work as often as you used to or as much as you should
- Can’t sleep
- Aren’t interested in your work
- Dread leaving home and going to work
- Have a critical and negative attitude towards work
What Causes Burnout – How to Prevent Burnout
For you to know how to prevent burnout, you need to know what causes it.
This way, you can avoid these things and reduce your chances of experiencing burnout.
People tend to experience burnout because of several reasons.
However, one of the major reasons people experience this condition is when they feel they don’t have enough control over their work.
Not being in control can make a task feel more overwhelming than it should be.
You may feel less in control when you are always behind time; like when you can never finish your projects or tasks before their deadlines.
Another common reason people tend to feel burnout is when their values do not match their behaviors and actions.
You might also get burnout if you do not have clear goals or expectations, have an excessive workload, don’t get enough recognition for things you do, or have a monotonous job.
Stress Vs Burnout – How to Prevent Burnout
Most people often think burnout is the same as stress, however, this isn’t the case.
While both conditions share certain characteristics, they have several distinctive features.
Stress on one hand is typically short-term.
For instance, you may get stressed when you have too much to do but with little time to complete them all.
This feeling usually lasts for a while but once the projects or tasks are completed, you may stop feeling the stress altogether or your stress level may significantly decrease.
However, burnout on the other hand often spans a relatively long period.
Burnout most likely will make you feel unmotivated and exhausted for a long time with no hope of things getting better.
What Does Burnout Result In – How to Prevent Burnout
Burnout often results in several consequences.
The burnout severity often determines how severe these consequences are.
One of the major consequences of experiencing burnout is that your productivity will drastically decline.
You might also notice a decline in your creativity.
This would make it harder for you to notice opportunities.
Even when you notice new opportunities, you may have zero interest in them.
You may stop going to work the way you used to; you’d often come up with excuses for missing work.
The consequences most times aren’t limited to your work life; they may also spew into your home life.
You may find yourself emotionally distancing yourself from your family and friends.
It may also affect your health and result in certain mental and physical conditions including anxiety, depression, headaches, stomach aches, and so on.
The many consequences of this condition have been discussed to help strengthen your resolve to prevent yourself from experiencing it.
Phases of Burnout – How to Prevent Burnout
Burnout typically occurs in various stages.
You may go through different stages before it gets to the point where completely feel exhausted and hopeless about work and even other areas of your life.
Being able to identify these stages will help you realize when you are heading toward burnout.
This way, you would be able to stop the progression of this condition before it gets to its final stage.
Below are the major phases or stages of this condition:
The first phase of burnout is feeling excessively motivated or driven.
This is typical for people who are just starting something new.
For instance, if you are just starting your business.
Unfortunately, excessive ambition may result in burnout if care is not taken.
Putting Too Much Pressure on Yourself
Because you are excessively driven, you may start pushing yourself more than you should.
You may set unrealistic goals that you have to attain and then make yourself very stressed in a bid to attain these goals.
Neglecting Your Needs – How to Prevent Burnout
Soon, you may start to neglect your needs.
You would give up self-care such as eating well, exercising, and sleeping just to make sure you meet up with your goals.
Blaming Others – How to Prevent Burnout
You will fail to realize that you are getting stressed because of how much you are pushing yourself.
Instead, you may start shifting blames.
“I am doing too much because my employees aren’t competent enough” and “the job is too demanding” are some of the thoughts you may start having.
Whereas, you are the one putting too much pressure on yourself.
You Stop Having Time for Things That Aren’t Work-Related
At this point, work most likely would become your sole focus.
Sadly, you would sacrifice other things that aren’t work-related to focus solely on your work.
Your friends, family, and even your hobbies may become irrelevant to you.
You will start withdrawing from those around you.
Social invitations that should otherwise be enjoyable may start feeling burdensome.
You’d find yourself isolating yourself and burying yourself in work.
Behavioral Changes – How to Prevent Burnout
People who are becoming burnout may start getting more aggressive.
In this phase, you may become so irritable that you start snapping at people around you at the slightest provocation.
You may also start to feel detached from yourself and your life.
Anxiety or Inner Emptiness
At this point, you may develop anxiety or a feeling of emptiness.
Due to this, you may start indulging in some behaviors that you think would help you cope with the anxiety or feeling of emptiness.
You may start overeating or turn to gambling or substance abuse.
Depression and Mental/Physical Collapse – How to Prevent Burnout
Finally, life starts to feel meaningless and you can’t shake off the feeling of hopelessness.
At this point, you may need medical attention and/or mental health care.
Tips on How to Prevent Burnout
Stress is often unavoidable.
But thankfully, this isn’t the case with burnout.
From what you have seen in the section above, burnout comes in phases.
This means that you can prevent it from ever getting to the stage where you need medical attention.
If you follow these tips, you should be able to stop stress from ever getting to the point where you experience burnout.
1. Be Purposeful with Work
When you know that your work has a purpose, then the chances of you getting burnout will be significantly reduced.
If you haven’t been working with a purpose, then you should try looking deeper.
Figure out the impact your business has on people; how do you make people feel better through your work?
If you feel like you can be more impactful with your work, then sit down and brainstorm.
Try to figure out what you can do to make your work more meaningful.
Ensure you sit in your thoughts until you come up with good ideas.
2. Know When You Need a Break – How to Prevent Burnout
A lot of business owners never know when they need to just take a break.
To most of them, the thought of unplugging and resting from the stress of their responsibilities is even laughable.
This is why business owners are susceptible to burnout.
But, if you are to prevent burnout, you need to realize when to take a break.
You need to know when you are close to getting burnout and need to unplug and rest.
You don’t necessarily need to go on a vacation when you take a break.
Taking a break can simply be taking the day off to ride around town or go hiking.
It can also mean spending some time with friends or family or even engaging in an activity you love.
3. Have A Free Time on Your Schedule
This is somewhat similar to taking a break.
However, the difference here is the break is on your daily schedule.
You should give yourself a free time during your day and make sure you do not forgo it for anything.
Your free time can be just as short as a few minutes but it would help you feel better.
After your break, you’d find yourself feeling inspired and recharged; ready to work.
You most likely would accomplish more if you take a few minutes to relax than if you had worked throughout the day without resting.
4. Be Passionate About What You Do – How to Prevent Burnout
The thing about running a business is that it is very time-consuming.
And the bigger your business gets, the more time-consuming it gets.
Therefore, you need to be sure that your business is in line with your passion.
When you are doing what you have passion for, the chances of you becoming burnout will be significantly reduced.
5. Exercise – How to Prevent Burnout
Exercise is not just good for your physical health, but it is also good for your mental health.
If you do not have enough time to exercise, do not worry.
You do not have to spend all your day working out to enjoy the benefits that come with exercising.
Try simple exercises like short walks, early morning jogging, or mini-workout routines.
6. Maintain A Balanced Diet
Ensure that you eat healthy meals at all times.
Eat foods that are rich in nutrients, especially nutrients like omega-3s.
These nutrients are natural antidepressants and can help calm your nerves during the day to prevent burnout.
Foods like fish, walnuts, and flaxseed oil contain omega-3s and can significantly boost your mood.
7. Get A Hobby
If you feel like you are heading toward experiencing burnout, then it may be time to get a hobby.
Getting a hobby is among the best ways of preventing burnout.
This is because a new hobby is something fresh that you can spend a lot of time trying to learn and practice.
Instead of pouring all your time into work, you’d spend some of your time on your new hobby.
Just ensure it is something you enjoy.
8. Try Meditation – How to Prevent Burnout
Meditation can go a long way in reducing your stress level and ensuring you stay calm and collected during the day.
The good thing about meditation is that you can do it anytime and anywhere and you do not need special equipment for it.
So, when everything starts to get overwhelming, you can take a break and try out some breathing exercises.
This would help calm your nerves and make you feel sharp and fresh.
9. Go on A Vacation – How to Prevent Burnout
If you are getting too stressed out, then you may need to go on a vacation.
You can choose to go on a solo trip or go with your friends or family.
Regardless of which you decide on, know that this is a time to unplug completely from work and have some you time.
Do not take business calls or respond to business emails.
If you have employees that tend to overwork themselves, then this can also make them see the importance of taking a break.
10. Always Get Enough Sleep – How to Prevent Burnout
The human body needs to rest for it to function properly.
A poor sleeping habit can significantly affect your overall well-being.
When you fail to sleep properly, you will feel tired to work and this would make even the littlest of tasks appear daunting.
To make sure you get enough sleep make sure you do not take caffeine before going to bed.
Also, make sure you do not have your smartphone and other devices close to you when you are trying to sleep.
Finally, ensure you have a relaxing bedtime routine
Conclusion on How to Prevent Burnout
Continuous stress often results in burnout.
When you get burnout, you may find yourself being exhausted all the time and isolating yourself from people.
You might also feel anxious and hopeless.
All of these feelings will most likely cause your productivity level to significantly decline.
Luckily, you can avoid getting burnout.
All you need to do is take advantage of all the tips we have shared in this article.