All of us have felt stressed or burned out at least once in our lives. Even people who love their jobs feel that they often can’t find work-life balance. Stress is something that can be overcome, however, and it’s even an integral part of life that puts us in gear and helps us thrive. Keep in mind, however, that there is a big difference between job burnout and stress.
People who experience burnout feel that they have reached the end of the line – experiencing emotional and physical exhaustion. Overcoming burnout can sometimes seem impossible, but there are several methods to deal with it.
Find a purpose in your life
A person who works hard and stays long after hours does not necessarily suffer from burnout. At the same time, people who work short hours and don’t apply themselves to tasks can get tired quickly, feeling that they are “riding on reserve.” The reason people burn out easily has little to do with the demands of the job and much more to do with perceptions of what the job entails. Overcoming burnout is often about finding your own purpose and meaning in your work. Fortunately, most jobs have meaning and are useful. A garbage truck driver does just as much meaningful work as the CEO of a corporation. Finding meaning does not necessarily mean quitting your job and looking for another. Rather, focus on changing your perspective and considering factors that will make you like what you do.
Balance your work with other needs
Some people, however, reach a point where it is difficult to say that their job makes sense, but for many reasons, mainly financial, they cannot change it. Nevertheless, even “meaningless” work can be meaningful if you direct it toward an important goal. For example, let’s say that Johnny feels burned out at his office job. What drives him instead is volunteering at a local food bank to help those in need. Instead of risking burnout, Janek can look at his boring office job as part of his volunteerism. For example, he can set aside some of the savings he earns to buy supplies for his food bank. Thus, the “meaningless” office work becomes much more important because it helps make the world – and Johnny’s life – better. Even if you have a meaningful hobby and don’t make money from it, you can use your work to develop it, and thus it becomes meaningful to you.
Relax a bit – it’s easier than you think
People who feel burned out are often lonely. They look at their co-workers as if they have no problem with stress at work. Meanwhile, colleagues may think the same about others! Burnout is not a sign of weakness, and many people try to hide their depression by being ashamed of it in front of others. Keeping these emotions inside is not helpful, and generally can only make things worse. A person who talks to others about their problems may quickly find that others are not feeling well either. Overcoming feelings of loneliness and talking are important steps toward combating burnout. You can also seek help from a professional – a psychologist who specializes in helping employees – or just friends.
The idea of preventing this from happening is work-life balance – which is a concept of time management, which aims to find and maintain the necessary balance. Try not to work too much and devote more time to your family and friends.
Burnout happens to most dedicated employees and ignoring the problem will not make it go away. Burnout must be confronted and fought. The first step to overcoming it is acknowledging that it exists. And once you do, the path to happy life is in front of you.