Find Passion for Your Job Again
When Mihret first started with her organization, she loved her job. She went into work every day filled with purpose and passion, and she was excited about the difference she could make in her new role.
Three years later, however, it's hard to recognize her. Now, Mihret dreads going to work. She feels as if her work is meaningless, she's always stressed, and she calls in sick frequently.
These are classic symptoms of burnout. If you've experienced this yourself, you must know how to recover from it, before you experience lasting damage to your sense of well-being and your career.
In this article, we'll look at what burnout is and how you can recover from it.
Is it Burnout?
Burnout is a state of physical and emotional exhaustion. It can occur when you experience long-term stress in your job, or when you have worked in a physically or emotionally draining role for a long time. You can also experience burnout when your efforts at work have failed to produce the results that you expected, and you feel deeply disillusioned as a result.
You might be experiencing burnout if you:
· Feel that every day at work is a bad day.
· Feel exhausted much of the time.
· Feel no joy or interest in your work or even feel depressed by it.
· Feel overwhelmed by your responsibilities.
· Engage in escapist behaviors, such as excessive drinking.
· Have less patience with others than you used to.
· Feel hopeless about your life or work.
· Experience physical symptoms such as chest pain, shortness of breath, sleeplessness, or heart palpitations. (Make sure that you see a physician about these!
Studies show that people who experience burnout early in their career often find it easier to recover than people who go through it later in life. However, you must know how to recover effectively, whatever stage you're at in your career.
Recovering From Burnout
Burnout doesn't go away on its own; instead, it will get worse unless you address the underlying issues causing it. If you ignore burnout, it will only cause you further harm down the line, so you must begin recovery as soon as possible.
Recovery from burnout is a slow journey; not a quick dash to some imaginary finish line. Time and space are needed to recuperate, so don't rush through this process.
The recovery strategies that we've outlined below are all useful in different situations. Some of these strategies will work for you, while others won't, so find a balance of techniques and best practices that feels right to you. If you believe that something isn't working, don't be afraid to try something new.
You first need to identify why you've experienced burnout. In some situations, this will be obvious. Other times, it will take time and introspection to uncover this.
First, look at any resentment that you feel towards your work. Often, feelings of resentment point to something important that is missing.
Here's a good example: Tadiwos manages a team halfway around the world, so his workday often starts at 6 a.m. He doesn't mind this because he likes his team and his job. But he feels resentful when his boss forgets that he works so early and repeatedly asks him to stay late. His work demands that he misses the deserved time with his family.
In this example, burnout didn't occur because Tadiwos disliked his job; in fact, he loved what he did. He experienced burnout because he hated missing out on family time in the evenings.
Take time to think about any negative feelings that you have about your role, and get to the root of the problem. Once you've identified the cause of your burnout, write down at least one way that you can manage or eliminate that source of stress or unhappiness.
Another useful method for identifying underlying causes of burnout is to keep a stress diary. Each day, write down what causes you stress and record why the event stressed you. Stress diaries can be illuminating, so long as you keep up with them for a reasonable period.
Once you discover the root causes of your burnout, look at what you can do to resolve it. The resolution might be to delegate some of your responsibilities to others, add more autonomy to your job, work from home one day a week, or even to change roles.
Get back to the Basics
If you've experienced burnout, your body may need attention. It's necessary to think about the basics of good health and well-being.
Start by getting plenty of exercise. Countless studies have shown that physical workout offers many physical and mental benefits. Regular exercise not only helps reduce stress. It also boosts your mood, improves your overall health, and enhances your quality of life.
Next, make sure that you're getting enough sleep, eating well, and drinking plenty of water throughout the day. These might sound obvious, but busy professionals often ignore their most basic needs. Instead, they take care of others and their responsibilities far more than they take care of themselves. Neglecting self-care can contribute to burnout.
Take a Vacation or Leave of Absence
One excellent way to start your recovery is to take a real vacation. Time away from work gives you the distance you need to relax and de-stress.
Of course, the stress and problems that you're experiencing at work may still be waiting for you when you get back. However, taking time off is essential for getting the rest you need and coming up with long-term solutions to burnout.
Reassess Your Goals
Next, take time to reassess your personal goals. Burnout can occur when your work is out of alignment with your values or when it's not contributing to your long-term goals. You can also experience frustration and burnout if you have no idea what your goals are.
Start by identifying your values and thinking about what gives you meaning in your work. Then use this to craft a personal mission statement. This self-analysis will allow you a deeper understanding of what you find most important. It will also show you which elements, if any, are missing from your life or work.
Next, look at how you can tie your values and mission to your current role, which could mean crafting your job to fit your values or even just changing the way you look at your job.
Burnout can cause you to slip into a cycle of negative thinking. This negative thinking often worsens over time. You can combat this by learning how to think positively.
When you're in recovery from burnout, it can be a challenge to develop the habit of positive thinking. So, it's best to start small. Try thinking of something positive before you get out of bed each morning. Or think back to one great thing that you did at work or home at the end of the day.
Celebrate even small accomplishments. These celebrations can help you rediscover joy and meaning in your work again.
You can also bring more positivity into your life by practicing random acts of kindness at work. A relational part of our human nature is to help others. Being kind to others not only helps spread positivity in the workplace, but it also feels great.