In case you hadn't heard, burnout is now officially recognized by the World Health Organization. That's right. Burnout is no longer that thing you're just "making up" but a very valid and very real syndrome that millions of people have or are experiencing. You've probably heard it being talked about even if you don't know exactly what might count as burnout or what can cause someone to experience it.
Unlike regular bouts of stress, burnout is a result of an excessive amount of stress over a long period of time caused by your job. If you don't learn to manage this stress, you'll eventually feel drained physically, mentally, and emotionally and you'll become drastically unproductive and uncreative. You won't have any motivation to get things done, you'll feel detached, negative, helpless or trapped, and unfulfilled. Then it won't just be your job performance that suffers but all other areas of your life like social and family life and even your health.
So before you let it get that far, it's important to know how to manage your stress and how you're approaching your job.
It's a myth that you can't burn out if you're doing something you love. Don't get us wrong, working in a job that doesn't interest you or that you don't like is going to increase your chance of hitting that critical point more quickly than if you were passionate about what you do. But even your passion job can drain you when you're overworked.
Whether you're an entrepreneur, working at an established company, or even a stay-at-home parent, taking on more than you can realistically accomplish will drain you. Reduce your responsibilities by learning to turn down tasks or delegate them to someone else. We know it's tempting to want to do it all yourself but having too much to do will only result in you getting overwhelmed and then feeling disappointed and unmotivated when you don't finish everything or finish it poorly. Quality really is better than quantity here.
If you don't like your job, the most effective way to prevent burnout is changing careers to the industry of your interest but we know that's not always a viable option. If you're in this position, try instead to focus on positives. Maybe your job is boring but you provide a service that helps others or maybe you can create strong relationships with your coworkers. You can also get more into hobbies outside of work that you are passionate about and take time off to recharge. If that's still not enough, then you might have weigh out the difficulties of a career change over the damaging effects of burning out on your life overall.
Nurturing strong relationships will also go a long way to avoiding burn out. A good support system is key to help you feel appreciated, acknowledged, and less helpless and we don't just mean outside of work. You'll be on the fast lane to burnout if you feel unappreciated at work, especially if you're working yourself to death and it seems like no one even notices your sacrifice and dedication. Assess your position and speak to your boss/team to figure out what's expected of you and if the bar is being set too high with little reward in return.
Remember, your mental and physical health is the most important thing here. Reaching a breaking point is nothing to be ashamed of. We all have limits. A phone with a dead battery isn't useful to anyone and neither is trying to work when you've burned out. Taking some time off to focus on you and finding healthy ways to recharge from the stress is not only beneficial for you but for your job.