My co-worker who used to feel passion and excitement for her job is struggling to make it through the day. Something has changed. She is disconnected and flat in her conversations. She has all the signs of burn out and needs help. This could happen to any of us if we aren’t careful.
Here are 10 ways to prevent burn out:
- Balance your workload. High achievers tend to be conscientious and put in long hours in order to keep up with multiple expectations and demands. But you must balance your workload and life. Restrict those hours and take needed breaks.
- Say no to work overload or ask for additional staff, a contract stating reasonable expectations, study leave, vacation time or sabbaticals. Competent people often have difficulty saying NO. Taking on too much can lead to being overworked, less productive and exhausted.
- Insist on keeping your days off and protect those days. Don’t look at work email or texts. Focus on other parts of your life apart from work. Engage in a hobby, interest, exercise or something new you would like to learn like cooking, hiking or a hobby.
- Look for resources to make your work less time consuming. If you can delegate to others or streamline your processes, this will help prevent burn out and stress.
- Be selective in giving out your cell number. Otherwise, people may not respect your boundaries. At one point, my husband had a boss who called him at 11:30 p.m. and he was expected to take the call. This happened several times. When you are available 24/7, it is a road to burn out. You need space.
- Get clarity on expectations. If you have too much to do, it may be time to have a conversation as to workload and expectations. Perhaps task could be given priorities and appropriate time frames. Or you may consider changing jobs.
- Stop micromanaging. Sometimes burn out comes because we don’t trust others to do what they were hired to do. Be better at delegating and sharing the load. You can’t, nor should you, do it all.
- Build a sense of belonging and community. To fully function, feeling part of a community helps. Work to build a sense of belonging at work. Be value-based in all you do. Build a trusted team and have a few “safe” people with whom you can process stressful experiences. But also, surround yourself with those who will encourage you and value you as a person.
- Know your personality type. If you are an introvert, you need time alone to recharge. Extroverts can recharge by being around others. Know what keeps you going and is stress reducing.
- Stay strong in your spiritual life. The more you stay centered spiritually by being in the Word, praying and participating in community with other believers, the more protected you will be from burn out. The life of faith involves a calling. To do the work, we need to stay strong in the Lord and walk out that calling in whatever setting we find ourselves. We are called first to God. Out of that calling, everything else flows.