It’s natural for energy levels to fluctuate from day to day and given all the stressors of the past 18 months, it wouldn’t be surprising if you’re experiencing some level of burnout. But know, full-fledged burnout can undermine your career happiness and fulfillment.
Take a look at the different types of burnout and some strategies for overcoming them.
Researchers at a Spanish university recently discovered 3 distinct types of burnout.
What they all have in common is the potential to leave you feeling drained and hopeless if they’re allowed to build up over time.
Of course, having and staying focused on the purpose of your work is the best protection against burnout but sometimes that doesn’t feel possible so applying these strategies can make your workdays less taxing.
Burnout Type 1: Coping with Overload
If you’re someone who pushes themselves too hard or to the point of exhaustion or if you’re prone to complaining about corporate dynamics and/or practices this might be you.
- Set reasonable goals. Be realistic about your capacity and schedule. Calculate what it will take to complete a project before you commit. Learn to say “no” graciously. Anticipate what additional resources you may require and ask for them before you need them.
- Focus on solutions. Even if your conclusions are valid, chronic complaining may darken your mood and drive people away. Create and propose constructive alternatives when faced with challenging situations.
- Review your accomplishments. Make a list of your significant victories and their importance. Relive the times when you had a big win or achieved a major goal.
- Work on your personal life. Excessive hours at the office could be a sign that you’re trying to compensate for shortcomings in other aspects of your life. Consider engaging in meditation, strengthening your relationships, or taking up a hobby.
Burnout Type 2: Coping with Being Worn Out
If you have worthy goals but find it difficult to achieve them, this could be you. Ask yourself if your motivation sinks when you encounter barriers and pushback.
- Plan ahead and manage your own expectations. Take the long view when you’re starting a project. Picture the typical obstacles that you’ll likely meet along the way and be prepared to address them. If you’re not sure what the obstacles might be, ask someone who would know and then determine who you can engage with throughout the project for support and expert advice. And remember to take note of the barriers and pushback you face on each project as these are likely to resurface on other projects.
- Develop relaxation techniques. Obstacles, barriers, pushback, and stress are a part of corporate life – accept this and identify methods that dissolve tension for you. Listen to instrumental music, meditate, pet your dog, sign up for yoga classes – find something that helps you relax and put things in perspective.
- Renew your motivation. Give yourself periodic reminders of why your work and what you do is important. These are easy things to forget to take note of when you’re stressed or burnt out but reminding yourself of your “why” can give you motivation and determination to move forward in a less stressful way.
Burnout Type 3: Coping with Boredom
Maybe you feel like you’re coasting at work. People experiencing this type of burnout also tend to be vulnerable to cynicism and may try to avoid difficult issues.
- Tackle a challenge. Volunteer for a demanding assignment. Pick something that will give you a chance to acquire new knowledge and learn additional skills.
- Look on the bright side. Counter cynicism by reflecting on the positive qualities of the people and events you encounter. Remind yourself of all the wonderful things you have to be grateful for. Journaling all the things you’re grateful for and appreciate about your career can really help.
- Socialize more. You can find stimulation and purpose, even if your job consists of routine tasks. Concentrate on what you can do to help others. Brighten a co-worker’s day by delivering a sincere compliment or ask a co-worker how you can help or support them.
- Communicate directly. Train yourself to address conflicts head on. Use your emotional intelligence to communicate what’s on your mind.
Before you consider handing in your resignation or making a major change, identify your type of burnout and use these strategies to try and overcome it. Taking constructive action vs. wishing things were different will empower you and help make your job less stressful and more satisfying.
And if you’d like help dealing with your type of burnout, reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll get a conversation started.