Burnout is real. No matter which profession you choose, your work eventually becomes repetitive, mundane, and monotonous. As a physician, you tend to see patients with the same symptoms and diagnosis, over and over again. If you are a lawyer, you have to attend hearings with the same stories that are no more surprising or unheard of before. As a clerical staff, you have to carry out the same routine tasks every single day to keep the business running. Hence, no matter how grand and wise you become, burnout will chase its way through to you.
Let’s just face the music: your once ideal career path can become pretty dull and exhausting as you progress along the way.
Undoubtedly, burnout is a terrible phenomenon. Such professional exhaustion can make your dream job tedious, tiring, and stressful. Here are five ways you can fight burnout:
Take a Break and Recharge from Burnout
When you feel too low, overwhelmed by the amount and scope of work you perform every day, it might be a good time to take a sabbatical and reassess the direction of your life. You don’t want to drain yourself to the extent of destroying your career. Seek some leisure activities to recharge yourself – go hiking, cook, read poetry, start gardening – basically reconnect with your inner self and focus on something other than your regular daily routine.
Physical exercise is a proven stress reliever and plays a critical role in improving the emotional wellbeing of individuals. It would be best if you made it a top priority and spare time for exercise. Identifying an exercise partner can keep you motivated and committed to following your workout regime and make it more fun. Alternatively, you might want to explore other therapeutic activities such as yoga. Such mindfulness-based activities are exceptionally beneficial in stress management.
Don’t Seek to Control the Uncontrollable
There is an exhaustive list of frustrations in potentially any career you chose. You must systematically and thoughtfully identify the things on this list that fall within your control, and those that are beyond your control. You are advised not to waste your time and energy on the latter, because this will only lead to feelings of helplessness and psychological impotence. Instead, divert your energy towards stimulating activities such as spending time with family and friends. Don’t submerge yourself so much into your work that you socially isolate yourself from other people.
Monitor your Health
Professionals generally don’t like or want to admit when they are facing tough times. Abandon this ideology and stop stigmatizing seeking psychological help. Keep a constant monitor of your health, and don’t ignore any warning signs of burnout. Burnout, if left neglected, can lead to even worse outcomes such as depression, substance abuse, and impaired relationships. Pay attention to yourself if you have started to drink more alcohol or if you are feeling increasingly irritable lately. Increased mood swings, changes in appetite, and sleep disturbance all are warning signs of burnout.
Also, keep a check on your emotional energy levels. We all have bad days when fatigue overcomes our zeal to continue, disrupting our concentration and motivation. Hence, it is essential to monitor your emotional barometer and assess your emotional health regularly. Rate yourself on a scale of 1-10. On days when you feel down and exhausted, seek activities to refuel yourself, perhaps through therapeutic exercises to fight burnout.
Talk to Someone
You know who all constitute your comfort zone – friends, family, colleagues, and ex-colleagues. Resort to them for a heart-to-heart talk. Vent your worries and frustrations to them. I would advise talking to a career coach; these are people with a wealth of knowledge and can steer you to alternative career paths that you might find yourself more inclined towards.
The bottom line is that you can’t take care of others if you don’t take care of yourself. While you might put personal care as the last item on your priority list, it only exacerbates the impact of the multitude of stressors already playing the lead in your profession.