How To Manage Burnout at Work

How To Manage Burnout at Work

Burnout is on the rise, with more than 40% of the global workforce reporting it according to a recent report from Future Forum. Prevention is key when dealing with the stress of work.

But how do you cope when you start experiencing burnout at work? Are there steps you can take to begin recovering once you’re burnt out?

Continue reading to learn seven proven strategies for combatting burnout at work.

7 Ways to Cope with Burnout at Work

1. Develop a mindfulness practice.

One of the first steps to take when you start experiencing job burnout is to focus your awareness on the present moment, which can seem counterintuitive since we have a tendency to want to evade negative feelings.

The following are a few of my favorite mindfulness techniques I’ve picked up over the years.

  • 4-7-8 Breathing Technique: Breathe in for a count of 4, hold for a count of 7, and exhale for a count of 8. Repeat.
  • 5 Senses Grounding Practice: Acknowledge 5 things you see around you, 4 things you feel, 3 things you hear, 2 things you smell, and 1 you can taste (or 1 thing you appreciate).
  • Mindful Walking: Walk slowly and deliberately, with a focus on your senses, your steps, and your breaths.

The key to each of these techniques is to slow down, tune into yourself, and listen to what your body needs in the present moment.

2. Take a break from work.

This next tip for coping with burnout may sound obvious, but many workers forget to use all their PTO, especially when faced with never-ending task lists. However, time disconnected from work is critical to combatting and recovering from burnout.

Note: Some companies allow you to cash out some or all of your unused PTO annually. While this may be tempting, money will rarely resolve your burnout problem. What you really need is time away from work to recharge and truly recover.

3. Engage in meaningful self-care.

Now, what do you do with your PTO when you take it? Self-care looks different for everyone, and it doesn’t have to be extravagant, yet I argue it’s best when used purposely and intentionally.

In fact, some of the most rewarding time off can be simply lounging around the house or planning a staycation. Personally speaking, I fight burnout with day trips to Disneyland and weekend-long Netflix binges.

Depending on the severity of your burnout, you might consider a lengthier sabbatical to allow yourself time to recuperate.

4. Ask your manager for help.

While a break can help you recuperate, you’ll eventually need to return to the office. If your workplace is contributing to your burnout, you’ll want to consider speaking with your manager about how they can support you and your recovery.

It’s important to come to these conversations with potential solutions in hand, as you know your situation best and must advocate for your needs. And if you’re uncomfortable approaching your boss, which is understandable, you may consider speaking first with your human resources liaison.

5. Leverage your company’s EAP.

While on the topic of HR, be sure to check if your company offers an employee assistance program (EAP) as part of your benefits package. Common services available through an EAP to help you manage burnout include:

  • Short-term psychological counseling
  • Coaching programs
  • Referral services

Many employees are uneducated on the wealth of free and low-cost mental health and wellness benefits available to them, so be sure to spend ample time getting up to date on what your company has to offer.

6. Speak with a mental health professional.

Beyond the resources provided by your company’s EAP, you might also consider consulting with a therapist, spiritual guide, or other mental health professional. A trained practitioner can provide you with tools and resources to effectively cope with burnout at work.

Both your EAP and Psychology Today are good places to research and find a mental health professional to support you in navigating and recovering from burnout.

7. Consult a career coach.

Lastly, a certified career coach who specializes in mental health and well-being can be a great resource as you begin recovering from burnout. Importantly, you want to find a coach with expertise in supporting people who are experiencing burnout, since it requires a special skill set and approach.

Final Thoughts on Managing Burnout at Work

Remember that you’re in control when it comes to how you respond. If your current workplace is exacerbating your burnout, consider whether it might be time to look for a new job that is better for your mental health. You’ve got this!

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  • June 4, 2023