WHEN you burn out at work, you feel diminished. Research shows that burnout occurs when the job demands that people face outstrip the resources they have to meet them. So how do you reverse the tide?
Rebounding from burnout and preventing its recurrence requires three things: replenishing lost resources, avoiding further resource depletion and finding or creating resource-rich conditions.
Try these five steps to combat burnout:
1. Prioritise taking care of yourself: Start by getting a medical assessment. Prioritise good sleep habits, nutrition, exercise, connection with people you enjoy and practices that promote calmness and well-being.
2. Analyse your current situation: Perhaps you already understand what’s burning you out. If not, track how you spend your time for a week. For each block of time, record what you’re doing, whom you’re with, how you feel and how valuable the activity is.
3. Reduce exposure to job stressors: Your condition may warrant a reduction in your workload or hours, or taking time off. Using your time log as a guide, jettison low-value/high-frustration activities to the extent possible. If you find that there are certain relationships that are especially draining, limit your exposure to those people.
4. Increase job resources: Prioritise spending time on the activities that are highest in value and most energising to you. Look for ways to interact more with people you find stimulating. Talk to your boss about what resources you need to perform at your peak. Brainstorm with colleagues about ways to modify work processes to make everyone more resourceful.
5. Take the opportunity to reassess: For many people, burnout is the lever that motivates them to pause, take stock and build a more satisfying career.