It’s almost too easy to stretch yourself thin at work.
Competition for a coveted position, taking on too many responsibilities, or the basic grind that comes with being a working woman. All these things can create work-related stress that ends in a massive, unintentional burnout.
This is becoming more and more common as expectations rise for people to be able to multitask or juggle multiple hats at once.
But you can avoid burnout itself, even if you have a daily mile-long to-do list!
When the pressure is rising, don’t ignore the signs. Give the nod to acknowledging your body and mind’s need for a de-stresser. Then try one of these seven ways to take a detour away from burnout.
1. Make Time to Do Nothing
It can sound paradoxical, but if you have too much to do, you may need to stop and rest.
Studies show that when we are overwhelmed, even easy tasks can be difficult and take longer. Taking a break helps your prefrontal cortex (PFC), or the part of your brain that controls thought, slow down for a bit.
The PFC’s job is to try to keep you focused and logical continually. It is always in battle with your impulses, giving you the willpower to say no to those social media scrolls when you should be working. When it’s overwhelmed, it’s hard to fight distractions.
Stop for a few minutes and close your eyes, breathe deeply, and relax. Do something mindless. Avoid any physical activity that requires the use of your PFC.
When you go back to your to-do list, it will be much easier to knock out those tasks, focused, and on track again.
2. Stop Trying to Balance It All
You’ve probably heard the well-meaning advice that you need to find a balance between your work and personal lives.
The fact is that there is no 50/50 split for most of us. Instead, figure out what you need to do to ensure the time you’ve spent wherever you are is spent well.
Stay engaged in the activity you’re doing; do it quickly and thoroughly. Try to plan ahead, so there is less wasted time between tasks.
Come up with ways to combine work, such as scheduling dry cleaning pick-up the same day as your grocery run. If they’re in opposite directions, consider switching one or the other so that both stops are along the same route.
You won’t be able to balance your workload. The best you can do is keep it from becoming too far out of balance by planning carefully.
3. Recognize the Signs of Impending Burnout
Everyone’s breaking point is different. But some warning signs are common across the board.
Check yourself regularly for these indicators that burnout may be on your horizon if you don’t re-adjust a few things soon:
- Sleep becomes difficult or less restful.
- Your energy levels are depleting.
- Your attitude has become extra cynical, negative, or critical.
- You’re easily irritated by small things that wouldn’t normally bother you.
- You don’t want to go to work or do your job, or you call in frequently.
- You feel like something is missing or feel empty inside.
- You wonder if anything you’re doing is making a difference or is appreciated.
- You are often sick with mild malaise, such as headaches or back pain.
- You catch yourself avoiding talking to others, pulling away from dealing with your feelings.
If one or more of these applies to you, it’s time for some maintenance work on your emotions.
4. Schedule Some Fun in Your Week
It’s part of human nature to need something to look forward to soon. It gets us through those tasks of drudgery we would rather avoid.
Set consistent time away each week to have lunch with a friend, go to a movie, or do something else that you enjoy.
When you do this, it may seem like you’re “wasting time,” but you’re actually improving your energy. You’re giving yourself a recharge, in essence.
By the time you return to work, you’ll be able to concentrate better and approach your job with a more positive perspective.
5. Get Some Exercise
It’s hard to squeeze regular exercise into the workweek, but it’s one of the best ways to prevent burnout. Exercise helps every aspect of your body, from your mind to your muscles.
Regular exercise gives you benefits such as:
- Reducing stress hormones
- Increasing feel-good endorphins
- Improving your self-esteem, which seeps into daily life
- Preventing cognitive decline over time
- Improving endurance
- Increasing the quality of sleep
Like scheduling fun into your week, taking time to exercise increases your productivity. It gives you the stamina to get through daily work without burning out.
6. Take a Vacation
Yes, your job is essential. Your family is important, too. But so is your mental health.
Contrary to what it seems like when everyone is turning to you for the littlest things, they can survive without you. The world will not stop turning if you take a few days away from the hustle and bustle.
Pull out the dusty bucket list you have or make a new one. Shut the phone off, unplug completely, and you’ll return to work ready to conquer worlds.
7. Find a Hobby
One of the top complaints from women who juggle families and work is that their personal interests take a backseat. This leads to resentment at home and in the office.
Making time for your favorite hobbies or finding new ones prevents this resentment from fostering.
Your hobby doesn’t have to be something you do alone. Many people find that by including their family members with the activities they enjoy, they have better harmony and balance.
If you are feeling out of touch with your personal life because of work, find a hobby that you and your family can do together.
Simple activities like art classes, hiking, or biking around the neighborhood are things almost anyone can take part in.
Today’s world is unique. We face demands, and societal expectations, unlike any other eras, have seen. Wearing different hats is a necessity for many of us, but that doesn’t mean impending burnout has to occur.
Your life is full of an abundance of blessings when you have so many hats to juggle. The trick is to manage the pressure of all your responsibilities successfully, so you can get to the pleasure of them!
By learning how to avoid burnout, you can mix your to-dos with want-to-dos and enjoy your day’s busy rhythm.
About the Author
Caitlin Sinclair is the Business Manager at Elements 616. With over five years of property management experience, she begins and ends each day loving what she does. She finds joy in helping current and future residents and makes Elements 616 a place everyone loves to call home.