Whether you work in an office, are a freelancer or are a stay-at-home parent, the signs of burnout are often the same. Regardless of our career choices, we ignore the symptoms of burnout because change is scary. This is understandable, as no one wants to leave their comfort zone. Fear of changing what we've been successful at can lead to being stuck in a state of denial. However, not acknowledging burnout will only prevent you from taking action and being happier in the long run.
Some signs you may be burned out are:
- It takes you more energy to perform tasks that you once did with ease
- You feel exhausted before you even start to work
- You find yourself thinking negative thoughts
- You are impatient with management, colleagues or family (or all three). You used to get along with these people, but now everything they say seems to grate on your nerves
- You feel like a weight is lifted when you are away from work
If you feel this way, you should check with your doctor to make sure there isn't a physical cause for your exhaustion and lack of energy. If you have a clean bill of health, then you need to admit you are likely burned out. Sure, you can run away on vacation for a few days but that won’t fix your problem. The thing about burnout is that it won't get better on its own. Take steps now to re-ignite your career.
What You Can Do About Burnout
Working through burnout is a process. First, talk to someone about it: a friend, colleague, family member, therapist or career counselor. Get the support you need to help you move forward. Talking to other people who have been in your shoes can help.
You may end up changing jobs or pursuing another line of work, but the cure for burnout doesn’t need to be drastic. Try one of these options to break the burnout cycle:
- Study mindfulness. You don't need to meditate (although you could), but being more mindful of your daily actions can make them more interesting and help you control your negative thoughts and feelings
- Take a college class. Freshen or advance your skills to make yourself available for new projects and promotions
- Offer to do a task at work you have never done before, or create a social opportunity that everyone can join in outside of work
- Sign up to volunteer for a local organization
- Find or create a support group for workplace burnout
- Take a class in something completely unrelated to your work. Try something creative or challenging, in a subject that appeals to you
- Join an organization and attend conferences. Meet up with like-minded people and break up your daily routine
- If you work from home, join a work co-op or other group to change up your schedule, and your work environment
It's About Accepting Change
The hardest thing about admitting and working through burnout is fear that things will change. Don’t fear change, embrace it! By making a change now, you will find a new appreciation for your job, career and maybe even your coworkers!