5 Quick Tips to Banish Burnout from Your Life
9th October 2019
With occupational burnout being considered a disease by the World Health Organisation (WHO), there is much talk about this topic and how it is affecting workers worldwide (Medium: Listen, understand and act: how to help someone burning out). Tell-tale signs of burnout include exhaustion, insomnia, lack of focus, and decreased productivity. If not managed properly, this can lead to serious mental and health issues as well as affect your relationships with your loved ones. If you’re feeling the pressure (Business Insider:A whopping 92% of working Singaporeans are stressed – and women are prioritising families over themselves, study finds), check out these ways for a burnout fix!
Take care of your basic needs
Due to a hectic and fast-paced lifestyle, it is easy for one to fall into the trap of binge eating as a way of managing negative emotions due to work (Reuters: Work burnout tied to “emotional eating” in women: study). On the other hand, you may be tempted to skip meals if you have too many things to do at work. Emotional eating or not eating enough can lead to major health problems so it is important to kick the habit to the curb before it worsens.
Similarly, a lot of people think that they can compromise on sleep if they have too many tasks to complete throughout the day, but a lack of sleep can have serious repercussions and contribute to even more stress, perpetuating the cycle of burnout. Even the founder of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, talks about the need to have 8 hours of sleep a day to be energized and excited about work (Medium: Jeff Bezos: Why Getting 8 Hours of Sleep Is Good for Amazon Shareholders).
Get that body moving
Although it makes no sense to leave work for exercise, regular physical activity is crucial to your mental and physical health. This helps to reduce stress, improve self-confidence, increases productivity, and also improves memory. The benefits are endless (Greatist: 13 Unexpected Benefits of Exercise).
Knowing that you’re taking care of yourself, and energy gained from moving around instead of being desk-bound all day will reduce the exhaustion you feel that causes burnout (Tech Co: If You Want to Prevent Workplace Burnout, Get Exercising).
Have a healthy support system
Although your colleagues may be the ones who understand your work pressures the most, spending time with people outside of work will help you with your personal fulfillment and happiness. Revolving your entire life around work will leave you emotionally distant from your loved ones and this might strain your relationships (Psychology Today: Why Work Stress Is Bad for Your Relationships).
There is no point in achieving professional success if there is nobody to share that happiness with (The New York Times: Is There Life After Work). Try including regular social activities into your schedule like weekend brunches or group sports to maintain close relationships with the people that matter the most to you.
Set your boundaries (and learn how to say no)
Although this may be a tough conversation to have, it is important to set boundaries especially regarding working hours. There is a need to break the trend of being a workaholic as studies have shown that the number of hours for optimum productivity is 40 hours per week (Lifehack: 10 Reasons You Should Stop Working Long Hours Today)..
Often times, workers will stay late because of the culture of presenteeism (Business Insider: 6 in 10 Singaporeans admit that they don’t leave work on time just to ‘show face’). Learn to prioritise the most urgent tasks and break them down into small, achievable goals. Being more productive without working longer hours will keep you engaged and energetic about your job
Don’t be afraid to take a break
If you are suffering from the symptoms of burnout, don’t be afraid to seek help and take a break to recuperate. Often times, these symptoms are physical and workers will be given medical certificates (MCs) but may not consume them due to work commitments or fear of judgment by their workers and colleagues (Channel News Asia: Coping one day and crying the next: Work-related burnout is real).
Speak to your superiors if there are other options such as flexible working hours or if it is possible to take time off to recover. By doing so, you can ensure better productivity and engagement with your work when you return.
Although there is a lot of talk about achieving work-life balance, the word “balance” itself defines “work” and “life” as separate which is not the case. Aim for work-life harmony (Medium: Work-Life Balance vs. Work-Life Harmony) instead as it implies that both aspects of work and our personal lives go hand-in-hand together. With this, we can ensure that by managing our stress to prevent burnout and finding the right harmony between wok and life, we can achieve better productivity and success at work. Want more career tips like this? Follow us on Instagram and Facebook for more specially-created content just for you