Last week, we started a conversation about mental health and, more specifically, burnout: how prevalent it has become, what some of the symptoms are, and the causes that contribute to it. (If you missed it, be sure to check it out HERE!)
Did you read the article and immediately think, “This is meant for me.”? If so, you’re in the right place today to start working your way back to the opposite of burnout – one where you’re thriving in your career, radiating energy, and excited to see what each new day brings, challenges and all.
The hard truth, though, is that there’s no quick fix or magic potion to make burnout disappear. Just like it can be difficult to identify, it can also be difficult to treat. But there’s good news, too: there are steps you can take today which will set you on a path of healing. Put your mind and body in the position to make the best decisions for your well-being.
Work It Out
Because of the distinct link between your mental, physical, and emotional health, often referred to as the mind-body connection, what you do with your body can have a profound impact on your mental state. So get that body moving!
Many of the physical symptoms of burnout, like fatigue and insomnia, can be alleviated by a consistent exercise routine. Pounding the pavement with a run or brisk walk before work can set an energetic tone for your day. Yoga or pilates in the evening can melt stress away and calm your body, setting you up for a good night’s sleep.
Finding something that your body loves to do and making a commitment to doing it regularly is a gift to yourself. A healthy body can stave off many of the physical manifestations of burnout – along with about a million other added benefits!
I know, I know. I just told you to speed up your body… but now I’m telling you to slow down your mind. Mindfulness has become a bit of a buzzword in the past few years. Mindfulness refers to the practice of observing what your brain is doing without judgment.
People practicing mindfulness often focus on the breath. According to the University of California, Berkeley, mindfulness means maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and the surrounding environment through a gentle, nurturing lens. Through mindfulness, we can slow down our world to reach a better understanding of who we are and what we want.
When you know who you are and what you want, you’re in a great place to push back against burnout – and fulfill your potential.
Talk Is Valuable
In all things, communication is key. Once you have practiced mindfulness within your work environment, you’ll be better able to identify the parts of your job that are wearing you down. With that information in hand, you can talk to the people you work with, like your supervisor or your teammates. Share your observations so that you can brainstorm solutions.
Maybe taking on a new project will re-energize you. Maybe solving a miscommunication will decrease the tension you experience each day. It can feel risky to assert what you want out of work and your expectations of others. This is often the hardest step for people, as you may need a high level of resolve to speak to address the behaviors of others and how it affects you. By speaking openly, you can shape your environment to fit the values that are important to you. As a bonus, you’ll likely be lifting up everyone around you!
Reassess the Situation
If you’ve taken all the advice above and you’re not finding any real relief, take a good long look at your options. Sometimes our workplaces are so inconsistent with our values that the situation is simply unsalvageable.
If you’re not getting what you need to thrive and it doesn’t look like you’ll get it anytime soon, in spite of your best efforts, you have other options. It might be time to update your resume, connect with your network on LinkedIn, and scroll through the job boards. Sticking to a job out of some misplaced allegiance or sense of obligation is bad for the body, the mind, and ultimately the workplace. Your employer would undoubtedly prefer a person whose values fit closer to those of the company. And you deserve better than spending your week in a place that saps your motivation and limits your growth.
Addressing burnout can be as simple as shifting your attitude and making some healthy choices. On the other hand, it may require a change of environment. Whatever you do, do something. Allowing burnout to progress can take years off your life.
Be brave and embrace change. And if you’re not sure where to start, call me.