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How to avoid burnout

Lastly, after so many situations where you are forced to put yourself behind another person or to try to understand better how someone is motivated and what they want, it can start to get tiring. The repetitive nature of answering the same questions without reprieve can start to feel frustrating and boring. That’s called burnout. If you end up burning out, you lose all of your enthusiasm for the things in your life that used to make you happy. You also start to get snippier at your coworkers and colleagues, grow angrier or shorter with customers, and in general, lose your professional decorum.

Luckily, there are a few things that you can do to circumvent burnout and all the things that bring it:

  • Care about yourself. This might sound like second nature to most, but when you are a person that naturally cares about others as your first instinct, it can be hard to put yourself first. So, in instances where you feel like you are trending towards burnout, see if there are some opportunities for you to put yourself first outside of work. Perhaps, for example, treat yourself to a manicure or pedicure, or to a sports game of a team you really like.
  • Exercise. When you exercise it releases endorphins in your brain which promote a sense of well-being and positivity. This is a great way to work against personal problems like depression or sadness, but also excellent for burnout. When you release endorphins you put your body in a positive state of being which is a great counteract to the negativity of burnout.
  • Positive thinking. Just like exercise, if you try to put a positive spin on what’s happening in your life, it can greatly improve how you actually do perceive it. So, for example, if you try to see things as opportunities instead of difficult challenges, it may make them seem less overwhelming and help you to push through and overcome the feelings of burnout.
  • Hobbies. Hobbies outside of work are a great way to let off some steam from a stressful workday. Instead of coming home and thinking about work, hobbies allow you to devote brain power and energy to something else. They also give you a reason to leave work, if you’re the type of person who needs one. Instead of saying “I want to go home”, you can say “I need to leave so I can make it in time for my bowling league”. While it shouldn’t be the case that you need to give an excuse to leave your job, having a hobby makes it a bit easier.
  • Humor. Having a sense of humor about things can help make them a little bit easier. It’s known that laughter reduces stress and boosts the immune system, but it also makes things easier to get through. For example, if you have a friend that you can laugh about a crumby situation with, it’s better than going through the situation alone. If you can try to find anything to laugh about, it can help lead you away from burnout.
  • Seek support. It’s always okay and good to ask for help. If there are people that you know care about you, reach out to them and ask for their help. Or, even if you don’t ask for their help, know that you can at least vent or tell them about how you’re feeling. Knowing that you have a way to release some pressure with someone that won’t judge or automatically try to give advice can be immensely helpful.
  • Be open in 1:1s. If your boss asks you if you are feeling burnt out, you should tell them. There is no way for them to know what is going on inside of your head unless you tell them, and they are the best person to help with your problem. After all, the person who manages you has control over the queue, what you’re assigned to do there, and a whole other slew of things. If you tell them how you are feeling, they can make positive changes to shift aspects of the team so that both you, and any other future people feeling burnout can be relieved.
  • Take control over your time. It’s okay to say no. As people pleasers, support people often find it difficult to say no or to set boundaries. But, it’s alright to do that. You don’t have to stay late or say yes to an extra shift. Take control over your time and get a little bit more of your free time back (and a little bit less of your work time) in order to alleviate burnout
  • Take vacation. With the rise of “unlimited” vacation, people seem to actually be taking less and less. That being said, plan and take your vacations and, when you do take them, turn everything work-related off. There’s no point in unplugging if the plug is kinda still in the socket. Unplug fully and give yourself the space to refresh and come back to work with a fresh set of eyes.
  • Avoid multitasking. Multitasking does nothing but make you unhappy. It doesn’t make you smarter, or faster, or more productive at your job. All it does is make you sad or frustrated. So, try to focus down on the task at hand, rather than constantly thinking and worrying about the other stuff you have to do. It will help you get the work done sooner, and keep you happier and farther away from burnout in the meantime.
  • Praise yourself. A lot of people feel weird about this. They don’t feel comfortable talking about the things that they are good at. Everyone is totally good with talking about what they would like to work on or could be better at, but no one can “toot their own horn”. Well, start tooting, because there are things that you are excellent at and as you recognize them in yourself, you may start to notice that some of your burnout goes away.
  • Find gratitude. This is merely shifting your perspective. Similar to positive thinking, if you can find gratitude for a situation instead of anger, it can help to make it a bit more tolerable. Try to see where you can find gratitude: for example, in the fact that you have a job, even if it is tiring; or that you have great coworkers whom you love working with or a great boss that appreciates you. These things will help keep you grounded even in moments of deep frustration.