8 experts on how to deal with job burnout

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It might be wise to avoid workplace studies if you don’t like your job. One from Gallop suggests that 44% of all employees sometimes feel like they are dealing with burnout. Of the 75,000
workers surveyed, a full 63% said they are likely to take a sick day due to burnout.

The Mayo Clinic is clear about what burnout even is. They define it this way: “A state of physical or emotional exhaustion that also involves a sense of reduced accomplishment and loss of personal identity.” Fortunately, there is help available. Some of the experts below suggest a change in roles or a career transition, and some offer advice about how to cope day-to-day.

1. Listen to yourself

“We need to make sure we’re not just raising awareness but also educating employers on how to deal with mental health issues in the workplace, and to treat those who speak up with
empathy and respect. When it comes to managing burnout my advice would be threefold: Listen to yourself and don’t ignore the signs. Take the time off and don’t feel ashamed or guilty for
doing so. Find your coping or protection mechanisms and use them regularly.” — Emma Brooks, Mental Health Advocate, That’s Mental

2. Learn to have fun

“Burnout does not occur overnight. It typically develops over months or even years. Understandably, it will take time to develop strategies to beat burnout. If you can enjoy the steps to your destination, that is, a happy work-life, then you’ll better cope with the obstacles along your path.” — Len Robinson, Master Level Certified Life-Coach

3. Reduce your workload

“One of the major factors that contribute to overwhelmed staff members is a lack of focus of vision from management resulting in too many conflicting projects and priorities. For example, if you give someone 20 tasks and say they’re all critical, they’ll be overwhelmed. If instead, you’re more focused and do a better job prioritizing, people are less likely to wind up overwhelmed with their task list.

“Companies need to focus on key priorities and deliver on those outcomes before moving on to the next project. This is obviously easier said than done – by definition, prioritizing certain efforts requires difficult decisions in which (likely important) efforts to de-prioritize. Rather than address being ‘checked-out,’ address what causes it.” Roger Neel, CTO, Mavenlink

4. Monitor your meeting schedule

“Take control of your calendar. It’s not possible for most of us, but we all have pockets of time that we can protect or influence. I start each week by looking at my calendar and deciding which
meetings are absolutely necessary. I try to block open pockets of time and decide how to use that time in advance. Avoiding back-to-back meetings is essential.” — Sara Whitman, Chief People Officer, Hot Paper Lantern

5. Get social

“Work-related burnout takes a toll on physical and mental health and knowing the symptoms (feeling tired, drained, and mentally distant from your job) and identifying their source is a helpful first step in dealing with overwhelming workplace stress. As you work to improve stress management and gain a better sense of balance, know that you don’t have to go through it alone. Seeking help from others can provide the support and resources necessary to combat burnout. Social interaction is a known wellness booster, so sharing your feelings with people close to you, like family, friends, or trained professionals, can be extremely helpful.” — Ashley Hopkins, Director of Wellness Program Success, Wellable

6. Get workplace support

“Burnout doesn’t get better without acknowledgment. When a person experiences burnout, it is a clear sign there are opportunities for systemic change in the workplace environment. Two things must happen at this point. Sadly, many employers prefer to conceal the burnout impact versus providing immediate intervention. This response further exhausts while erases the hard-working employee’s experience in an already troubling situation. If you are working while burnt out and after going through the chains of workplace command and you haven’t experienced supportive change, take medical leave immediately.” — Linsey McNew, Strategic Partner

7. De-prioritize

“A key tip to avoiding workplace burnout is reminding yourself that you shouldn't be afraid to de-prioritize. If you’ve got tasks on your plate that lack the urgency, importance, and visibility of
other projects in your sphere, table them. Allowing yourself to get bogged down by the minutiae of the day-to-day can increase your stress about larger responsibilities, leading to burnout! If you need a manager’s help prioritizing, consider keeping a time log of your day — then, you can show your manager precisely how much of your time on the clock is dedicated to each area of responsibility. This type of insight should help them recognize any problems and help you find solutions to make your day more productive." — Allyson Letteri, VP of Marketing, Handshake

8. Take the time to recover

“Effective burnout recovery is just as important as identifying the stimuli in the first place. When it comes to proper recovery, there are no shortcuts and returning to work prematurely is a common mistake. Depending on the severity, recovering from burnout can take days or weeks, and if you’re unsure you are suitably refreshed, a close friend or colleague may offer a more objective verdict. If at any time you feel like you are overwhelmed or that burnout is beginning to severely affect your mental wellbeing, then you should seek advice from a licensed mental health professional.” — David Brudö, CEO and co-founder, Remente