4 Tips to Banishing Burnout
Burnout is a very real possibility, and not just for those Type A folks that are predisposed to being ambitious and driven. Burnout happens to all personality types. It’s a sign of unmet needs, which leads to striving, doing life backwards, or letting your Fear Monster run the show. While blaming might make you feel better, in reality, getting your needs met is your responsibility.
Burnout is like being overdrawn at the bank. You can’t be overdrawn for too long, or too frequently, before it negatively impacts you and not just financially. Being overdrawn leads to low credit scores, liens, or bankruptcy, and it negatively impacts your relationships and peace of mind. It’s always easier to prevent a financial disaster than it is to clean it up.
The same thing is true for burnout. Prevention is the better way; after all, burnout often leads to…
- Feeling super stressed
- Critical or negative attitudes (that’s sure to shrink your social circle and make your co-workers avoid you!)
- Fatigue and/or low energy
- Health issues like heart disease, high blood pressure, or type 2 diabetes
- Being prone to headaches, stomachaches, or intestinal issues
- A weakened immune system
- Sadness, anger, anxiety, or irritability
- Alcohol or substance abuse
- Reduced work performance
- Lack of concentration
- Apathy towards work and life
- The absence of peace and joy
Given the choice, I think most of us would want to skip all of the above, right? I know I would.
What exactly is burnout?
Merriam-Webster defines it as “Exhaustion of physical or emotional strength or motivation usually as a result of prolonged stress or frustration.”
Keeping it real and simple, burnout is job induced depression.
Given the choice, I think you would not sign up for that!
The reality is that you do have a choice! And you can proactively avoid burnout, but you will have to do life differently. Depending on how far down the path you are to burnout, the life adjustments may be simple or you may need the support of a coach to help you through the process. Either way, here’s how you can avoid burning out:
1. Maintain Your Boundaries
If you struggle with setting, and maintaining boundaries, than you are more vulnerable to burnout. Do you…
- Overextend yourself?
- Feel obligated to say yes?
- Put off blocking out time to rest, engage with others, and invest in life giving or creative outlets?
- Allow your phone to consume your time, leaving you zapped?
- Work or play too much?
- Forget to periodically take breaks, schedule downtime, and take vacations?
- Attempt to be everything to everyone?
- Avoid making time to reflect and/or process?
If you had a number of “yes’ answers, you might need to strengthen your boundaries. Over time the absence of boundaries leaves you feeling resentful, angry, and like victim.
Thankfully, you are in charge of your boundaries! You can establish boundaries in your life that don’t leave you feeling drained.
2. Face Your Fear Monster
Explore how fear is pushing you to perform, produce, and seek validation. Fear is not on your side! And it is sneaky. You might not even be aware that it is what’s motivating why you do what you do. Have you identified your Fear Monster?
Think about it, if your Fear Monster is “you are a loser”, what will you do? You will work like crazy trying to prove to everyone you are not a loser. If your Fear Monster is “you are selfish” you will be generous to the extreme to show everyone how selfless you are. You see the pattern.
Your Fear Monster might not be the only mindset that needs to be addressed. How you think dictates the actions you take. You might be surprised at the beliefs that are hiding behind your actions. When was the last time you took the time to think about what’s driving you?.
Living in fear sets you up for burnout! However, when you know how deeply loved you are by God and that there is nothing you can do to be more loved, the need to prove yourself fades away. Then you can focus on BEing who God create you to BE. It gives you purpose. It eliminates the need to strive.
3. Develop Healthy Habits
What kind of habits do I have in mind? Well, habits like…
- Getting plenty of sleep
- Eating well and drinking enough water
- Exercising regularly
- Periodically detoxing
- Spending time with the treasured people in your life
- Connecting daily with God
- Practicing consistent self-care
- A healthy rhythm of work and rest
Good boundaries and leaning into who God created you to BE, sets the stage for incorporating healthy habits. However, don’t try to add them all at once! Pick one, master it, and then add another habit. Before you know it, you will be well on your way to new healthy habits that will help to guard you from burnout. And as you begin to practice healthier habits, there will be less space for less helpful behaviors.
4. Take Control!
You are in charge of your life, and that includes your life at work! Here are some terrific ways to do just that:
- Eliminate or delegate tasks that don’t bring you joy.
- Prioritize – you can’t do it ALL!
- Plan, adjust, and revise your plans.
- Time is valuable! Take steps to manage your time well.
- Get a handle on your screen time.
Preventing Burnout in the Workplace
One last thing I want to address on the topic of burnout and it is especially pertinent to those of you in a leadership role. Did you know that there is currently an employee burnout crisis? It’s true! A Gallup study suggests that roughly two-thirds of full –time workers experience burnout on the job. Burnout is even more prevalent among Millennials with about 7 out of 10 experiencing some burnout according to a Gallup study.
Burnout leads to sick days and turnover; and it impacts morale and more. What can you do to minimize the effect of burnout in your organization?
Here are some positive ways you can prevent burnout:
- Set clear expectations AND consistently follow up
- Clarify roles and responsibilities
- Make the health of your team/organization culture a priority
- Utilize the strengths of your people
- Help people understand their contribution to the overall vision of the organization
- Provide rewarding roles
- Communicate, communicate, communicate
- Address excessive work loads
- Provide the necessary support for your people – develop, equip, train, and systematically check in with them
- Acknowledge, recognize, and appreciate the awesome work your people do
- Deal quickly with issues that arise
- Avoid a fear based or political environment
No one wakes up one morning and decides to embark down the path to burnout. You just end up there if you don’t choose to intentionally engage in activities to prevent burnout.
Burnout is a red flag, a warning that it is time to do life differently.
Need some help navigating that process? Working with a coach is fantastic way to help uncover the missing boundaries and the mindsets that are tripping you up. I love helping people create a strategy to do work and life that includes incorporating healthy habits and new ways of thinking that allow them to THRIVE!
And when you have a team of thriving folks…imagine what your organization can do!
What will you do to banish burnout?