Tips for Burnout Recovery
As I suggested in my previous post, burnout is happening in the workplace and it may be getting commingled with quiet quitting. It seems difficult to decipher between the two but let’s review what the official criteria of burnout is.
According to the World Health Organization:
“Burn-out is a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed. It is characterized by three dimensions:
· feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion;
· increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one's job; and
· reduced professional efficacy.
If we look at the criteria, part of the treatment is in addressing the various components of burnout. Below are some tips which seek to help you work on burnout so that you can better determine whether it’s burnout or rather it is time to explore other job/career options.
While rest, relaxation, and replenishment can ease exhaustion, curb cynicism, and enhance efficacy, they don’t fully address the root causes of burnout. The reality is that once at work, you may still face an impossible workload, conflicts, or limited resources. So now you must take a closer look at your mindset and assumptions. What aspects of your situation are truly fixed, and which can you change?
Altering your perspective can buffer the negative impact of even the inflexible aspects. If exhaustion is a key problem, ask yourself which tasks—including critical ones—you could delegate to free up meaningful time and energy for other important work. Are there ways to reshape your job in order to gain more control or to focus on the most fulfilling tasks? Here are some tips to consider.
Track your energy throughout the work day. Notice when you are feeling moments of anger, fatigue or disengagement. Is it during or after face to face meetings? Is it when you have to write reports? Is it when you have to engage with co-workers or your supervisor.
Take some time to do an inventory of your emotions at various parts of the day. It may be the recognition that you need to better manage your mental resources to be more effective. Is time blocking an option? What about day blocking? Can you set yourself to check emails only twice a day instead of every 15 minutes. Where are there opportunities for you to work most productively without distraction?
Ask yourself your why?
Why are you doing all of the tasks? Are there things that you are taking one to be a team player. Are you hoping to get a raise? Is a supervision putting something in your lap because you’re good at it? Or it will make the supervisor look good?
If you are being faced with too many tasks and not enough resources, can you ask yourself why you are doing it? Better yet, get feedback from the person giving you all these tasks. If you are expecting a raise from stepping up, are you sure that your work will be recognized at raise time? Just because you’re good at something, does it mean that you have to do it? Start asking yourself and others questions so that there are clear expectations.
Check in with your work-life balance.
When was the last time you had extended time to rest and recuperate. Weekends do not count. Burnout is not something that can be addressed overnight or even over a couple of days. It requires systematic effort and intention setting to get over burnout and minimize your risk of falling into the trap.
Communicate that burnout is present.
It is one thing for an employer to label you as a quiet quitter. It is quite another to openly communicate that you are burnt out and it’s impacting your work. The reality is that for many, the boss does not care about your burnout. They have a quota to fill or work that needs to be completed.
Communicating this may fall on deaf ears, however you arm yourself with reasons to take your self-care under control and set boundaries. If your employer does not want to work with you to improve your performance, then yes it may require that you engage in a period of quiet quitting. But your boss can’t claim to not know.
It’s often not what you say, but how you say it.
If your employer gives you more than you can handle and you passively aggressively don’t do it, that employer may passively aggressively retaliate or outright punish you. If you communicate, “hey, you know what, this is the work of two people and I only have 4 hours to do this, this is a bit too much, but this is what I can do” everyone is on the same page as to what you’re dealing with and that it’s not going to get done. The employer may still retaliate, but you can document your efforts to communicate that you’re overwhelmed.
Learn to say no. There is nothing wrong with saying no, no matter how many articles label you as a quiet quitter. If you are burnt out you cannot perform at the same level that you can when you are not burnt out.
Give yourself compassion.
Ask yourself what you would tell a friend if he or she came to you and said that you’re not doing well and the boss is asking you to do the work of 3 people. Give yourself the same advice.
See a professional
Do you need insight from an outsider to help you reframe what is happening? Are you feeling powerless? Seeing a professional can empower you to communicate your needs.
Get rest, eat well, exercise.
Veg out if you need to. Outsource tasks if and when possible. Order takeout. Eat foods that nutritionally support you. Go for a walk. Ask for help from your support system.
Stop all of the responsibilities. Do the bare minimum everywhere in your life. Hibernate. We are rapidly approaching the holidays and we are going to ramp ourselves up to have the best holiday ever.
We tell ourselves that we missed out on so much these past few years that we may have to make up for it. Stop that nonsensical narrative. You are burnt out. This is not the time to go all out. Go for quality over quantity. Check out my blog on preparing for the holidays to see if perfectionism is also in the mix with burnout. This will be a recipe for disaster.
Tap into rituals or a spiritual practice.
Studies show that those who incorporate some spiritual practice have less rates of depression and anxiety. Whether it be God, Buddha, Goddess of the Moon or the music of Bruce Springsteen, tap into a higher power to remind you that others have been through difficult times and that you are not alone.
Read, listen to stories of hope and resilience.
Often, we think we are the only ones going through this. By connecting to others who struggle and have gotten through it, you offer yourself some hope that you too can get through this.