We hear a lot about burnout in the news. It can happen to a dedicated worker who becomes deeply disillusioned in their job. What used to bring meaning and satisfaction is now met with cynicism and negativity. The demands of the job far outweigh the benefits. When this happens, the World Health Organization has now labeled this condition as an occupational syndrome called burnout.

Burnout leaves a person feeling empty and hopeless. It affects those around you as well as your performance. Burnout is something you want to avoid. Here are a few strategies to prevent it:

Balance your workload 

High achievers tend to be conscientious and will spend long hours to keep up with multiple expectations and demands. You have to learn to say no and set limits. Constant attention to the schedule and self-compassion is needed. Taking on too much leads to being overworked, decreased productivity, and exhaustion. Ways to help this include:

  • Say no to work overload or ask for additional staff, a contract stating reasonable expectations, study leave, vacations, and sabbaticals.
  • Insist on keeping your days off and protect those days.
  • Look for resources to make the work less energy- and time-consuming.
  • If you can, be selective in giving out your cell phone number.

Make choices and delegate

Avoid the extremes—don’t be a dictator or abdicate control.

  • Make role expectations very clear.
  • Extend trust. If it becomes a problem, allow people to earn it back. Trusted people can help cover the load.
  • Stop micromanaging.
  • Collaborate on the development of policies and share tasks.

Build a sense of belonging and community

When there is a breakdown of community, teams don’t function. You begin to isolate rather than do life together. A colleague of mine uses the phrase, “better together.” He’s right, being “better together” helps prevent burn out.

  • Accept people for who they are and offer grace.
  • Value diversity and opinions of others.
  • Operate with fairness, transparency, and mutual respect. No secret meetings, distribute rewards fairly, look beyond the bottom line when cutting staff and downsizing.
  • Be value-based in all you do.

In sum, it is easier to prevent burnout rather than to dig your way out. See which of these tips you can begin to implement and stay healthy!

The problem of burnout

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