Overcoming Burnout and Achieving Work-Life-Balance
By Marisa Rivera
Burnout is one of the most pressing issues facing the global workforce today. Mostoftheworkingworldisexperiencing burnout — only 24% of workers report they “rarely” or “never” feel burned out at work, according to a recent Gallup study (Gallup 2023). So, what is “burnout”? According to Psychology Today – burnout “is a state of emotional, mental, and physical exhaustion brought on by prolonged or repeated stress”. It can be caused by problems at work or in other areas of our life such as parenting, caretaking, or romantic relationships. The medical association defines it as an “extreme state of exhaustion”. Some of the signs of burnout may include insomnia, feeling physically tired or drained most of the time, changes in eating habits, headaches, and stomachaches, feeling like you constantly have to demonstrate your worth, and becoming a work “addict”, (Freudenberger and North, 12 Stages of Burnout).
Burnout is something that nearly all of us have experienced at some point in our careers or in our lives. Burnout eats away at productivity. I have experienced burnout myself and many of my colleagues and family members too. What I have concluded throughout these experiences is that no- job or relationship should deteriorate your health – physical or mental. We must learn to identify the causes of our stress and look for ways to prevent and treat it so we can develop a healthier lifestyle.
People have different ways of managing burnout, here are a few strategies for overcoming or preventing burnout.
1) Putting YOU first: Self-care, both at the physical and mental level. You can potentially prevent or lower your stress level by getting some exercise, (or practicing your favorite hobby, i.e., playing music, walking on the beach, biking, painting, yoga, meditation, etc.) Take time to stop everything else and practice mindfulness, focus on your breath flow and do something you LOVE doing. All of these will help you disconnect from what is stressing you out.
2) Focusing on more positive sleep habits, (disconnecting all electronics in your bedroom, using essential oils for aroma in your room, going to bed earlier, so you can get the preferred 8 hours of sleep. Sleep restores well-being and helps protect your health.
3) Eating a healthier diet and making sure not to miss any meals or overeat with anxiety. Staying away from alcohol and drugs is also helpful.
4) Identify what the causes of stress and burnout in your life are: Try to delegate, discuss specific concerns with your supervisor to reach compromises or solutions, remind yourself that you can succeed in your current situation, and find positive aspects of your current work situation, seek help from your colleagues or family members and find ways to prioritize your to-do-lists, celebrate the small accomplishments, and focus on the positive. Seek professional help, when none of these strategies work for you.
Achieving a work-life balance is difficult because you need commitment, focus, and determination. Some of the strategies for preventing burnout, such as identifying priorities, seeking out support at work and at home and learning to delegate, when possible, maintaining good sleeping and eating habits, self-care, and setting short-and long-term goals will also serve you to achieve work-life balance. Just remember to set some boundaries between work and home. Leave your work stress at work and your home stress at home. Learn to say “no” more often and enjoy the moments life has to offer. Last, but not least, practice gratitude and be grateful for everything you have. Life is too short. Life is good. Enjoy it!