“Burn bright, not out.” – Hamza Khan
Burnout is a state of complete mental and physical exhaustion, where you’re unable to continue functioning as normal. Even small tasks may feel overwhelming, leaving you with the feeling that you have no option but to withdraw.
While "burnout" isn't a medical diagnosis, it can seriously affect your physical and mental health. Some research has suggested that depression may be the cause, or at least a contributing factor, of burnout in those suffering from depression.
Because burnout is becoming more prevalent, it essential to recognise the signs of burnout and to manage your stress levels proactively. A healthy work-life balance is key to a happy life. Let’s take a look at five practical ways you can avoid burnout.
Setting boundaries isn’t just a once-off process. It’s a daily affirmation of who you are and what you want. Because burnout is often caused by work and personal life blurring into one, it’s vital to maintain a boundary between the two.
Set clear limits on your working hours for yourself, and don’t bring your work home with you. Also, communicate your boundaries to others, and stay firm under pressure. Your health is your wealth – treasure it.
Self-care isn’t just a spa day. It’s a conscious effort to make time for the things that matter to you, no matter what they are. This can be exercise, hiking, a movie day in bed, making things with your hands, or just doing anything that you like. Self-care is the gift you give yourself, and an effective weapon in the fight against burnout.
Manage your time
Effective time management isn’t about planning your day to the nth degree. It’s about using the pre-defined moments to their maximum, to give you control over the aspects of your life that matter most.
For example, your work hours are your pre-defined times. You know when you have to be at work, and when you have to leave. List your priorities and allocate time for each task.
Plan your breaks as well, and you’ll be able to get through your workday with ease.
Just having someone to talk to can make all the difference in the world. Not everyone is fortunate enough to have a strong support structure automatically in place. Having a support structure of any kind that works for you and can help you when you don’t know where to turn can help you manage stress levels and avoid burnout.
Friends, family, colleagues, and mental health professionals can all give a fresh perspective. Connecting with people who have experienced similar problems can also be invaluable, as they’ll know they pitfalls you’ll have to navigate.
Life isn’t static. By being flexible, and reassessing your needs regularly, you can better maintain a good work-life balance. Balance your short-term and long-term goals with your professional ones, and adjust your lifestyle as needed. If you want to climb Kilimanjaro, you’ll never be able to if you don’t make time to exercise.
If you’re unsure of how to make those changes, turn to your support structure.
Avoiding burnout isn’t a one-time change. It’s a conscious effort to live the life you want, and to balance your wants and needs. Consult the Tempo Emotional Wellbeing Journey for the support you need to burn bright all your life.
Mayo Clinic. 2021. Job burnout: How to spot it and take action. Available here.
Queensland Government. Darling Downs Health. 2021. Signs you might be experiencing a burnout and how to regain balance in your life. Available here.
Mental Health UK. Nd. Burnout. Available here.