8 Practical Steps to Reduce the Risk of Burnout: Career Tips

Burnout can be an emotional and physical response to work-related stress. It will often manifest in feelings of disillusionment, apathy, and detachment from one's job or career. A person suffering from a burnout will lose productivity, and that is not good for that person or for his or her company. Unfortunately burnout is not uncommon among professionals who are working under demanding conditions that require long hours away from home with little time for leisure or rest. But burnouts doesn't have to happen! This post contains 8 practical steps on how someone can reduce the risk of burnout at work.

#1 - Take Time Off

Take time off. It's important to take periodic breaks from work, even if it means spending the day away or heading home early. Breaks will help you recharge and avoid burnout that might result from overworking yourself at your desk for too long without a break. Working long hours without break might seem like positive productivity at first, but once you burnout from overworking yourself your level of productivity drops to zero.

#2 - Rest and Recharge

Get enough sleep, eat well, exercise regularly. This should go without saying, but burnout can be a result of neglecting your physical needs. Make sure you're getting enough sleep and eating healthy as well as exercising regularly so that your body is in tip-top shape to better handle the mental demands of work. Do understand, though, that exercising regularly does not necessarily mean you have to hit the gym every other day. Exercising regularly could simply be opting to take the stairs instead of the elevator every day.

#3 - Take Care Mentally

Take care of yourself holistically, not just physically! Making sure you are physically well is a great way to offset burnout, but taking care of yourself mentally and emotionally can also go a long way. In fact, studies have shown that mental tiredness affects a person's productivity more than physical tiredness. Seek out relaxation techniques so that your mind and body will be more equipped for the mental demands at work. For Muslims, perform your solat, du'a and dzikr consistently and you will find yourself mentally and spiritually invincible!

#4 - Take Time For Your Personal Life

Make sure that you are taking time for yourself - your personal life. When burnout is taking over, it's easy to be consumed by work and forget about friends, family or hobbies that don't involve your career. In a lot of ways, your personal life actually plays a big part in impacting your performance at work. Studies have proven that people who lives a happy personal life tends to perform better at work. 

#5 - Relieve The Pressure

Don't put too much pressure on yourself. Burnout is more common when people are feeling like they need to work 24/hours a day, or when they feel like they need to turn in their daily tasks without making any mistakes at all. Give yourself permission to rest, and give yourself permission to make mistakes and imperfections once in a while. Sure, you might get some stick from your boss (the bad ones, usually); but hey, that's part of life! Accept it as part of life's experiences that's just going to make you stronger.

#6 - Learn To Say No

Learn to say no. To yourself, and to others. You might be a people pleaser by nature, but you can't please everyone all the time (and that's not what burnout is about). It's going to be a difficult change at first, but necessary. We all have our limitations as a human being, and by saying yes to everyone is one way to overstep those limitations. Endure the discomfort of saying no, so that you won't have to experience the pain of a burnout.

#7 - Do Something You Enjoy

- Spend your free time doing something you enjoy that isn't work related, or find a way to maintain balance in your life so that burnout doesn't happen. Learn how to strike the right balance between work and non-work activities by prioritizing what's important for you at this stage of the game. If you think those non-work activities as taking up too much of your time (that you become less productive), think again. It could be that those non-work activities are what you need to revitalize your energy so that you can optimize your productivity.

#8 - Plan Your Work

Make a plan or schedule for yourself before you start an assignment or task that is given to you. This way, you can spread out the workload along the time that is allocated for you to complete it. Also, it allows you to visually see how much work you are currently working on and provide that as a feedback to your superiors so that they understand that giving you more work at that point in time would be counter-productive.

So, these are the eight practical tips that you can use to prevent from suffering a burnout.

In conclusion, burnout can happen to anyone. It is a very serious condition that should not be taken lightly due to the detrimental effect it has on your physical and mental health. If you feel as if you are having burnout tendencies or symptoms of burnout, then follow these practical tips. They will help you to ease that burden and prevent you from falling into the state of burnout.

Naim Zulkipli

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