Editor Casey Gale wrote about beating burnout three years ago, in response to a Convene survey that showed how many of our readers work long hours and skimp on vacations. We don’t need to tell you what’s changed since then. NPR recently cited a global study that showed that more 60 percent of respondents said they felt burned out often or very often during the pandemic.
Read Casey’s story below, which lists three things you can do right away to deal with burnout. Other resources include this article from Lifehacker, and this conversation, “The Antidote to Burnout,” between business consultant and mindfulness expert Leah Weiss and podcaster Dan Harris of Ten Percent Happier.
Feeling burned out at work? It happens to the best of us. You don’t have to look far for reasons why — according to Convene’s 2018 Salary Survey, nearly one-quarter of respondents spend more than 50 hours per week on the clock. The good news, according to a recent New York Times piece, “Feeling Burned Out? Here are 3 Things That Can Help,” is that there are a few simple things you can do to get out of your funk.
1. Take action. The first way to battle burnout? Get something — anything — done, even if it’s a small task low on your to-do list. Research shows that setting and achieving small goals goes a long way when it comes increasing dopamine levels and even improving people’s engagement and happiness at work, the article’s author Tim Herrera writes, citing a Harvard Business Review story. “Slice up whatever is on your to-do list into the tiniest components possible, then just knock out that first one,” Herrera writes. “Then the second. Then the third. Progress begets progress.”
2. Give yourself a break. If you’re still stuck in a rut at work, it might be time to take a mental health day, according to Herrera. Or even a mental health lunch, if your schedule doesn’t permit for a full day of lounging on the sofa. “This seems obvious, but experts say that taking time for yourself and unplugging when you’re stressed can be a quick trick for relieving burnout,” Herrera writes, “even if that just means a coffee break or a long lunch.”
3. Talk about it. Burnout comes in many forms. You could feel drained, overworked, or just about ready to explode. No matter how it presents itself, it’s important to get those negative feelings out in the open. Herrera mentions burnout researcher Christina Maslach, who told The New York Times that people’s health and wellbeing is improved vastly by simply connecting with others. “That social network, that each of you have each other’s back, that they’re there for you and you’re there for them, that’s like money in the bank,” Maslach told The New York Times.
For more resources see Convene’s June 2018 cover story on the benefits of mindfulness at work.