It’s happened to the best of us. You love your job, and you may even love the people you work with, but for some reason or another, you’re just not feeling it. Tasks that would’ve been completed in the blink of an eye are seemingly taking forever to complete. Things that didn’t use to get you down are more or less ruining your day.
It’s called “Burnout” and it happens a lot more often than you think. Burnout affects not only our work lives but our lives off the clock as well. After all, if you’re in a bad mood during the day, it doesn’t magically go away when you make your way home.
So what’s a working professional to do? Well, it may seem counterintuitive but, in a lot of cases, the answer to combat burnout at work is to focus on life outside of the office.
Combat Tactic # 1: The Vacation
The vacation. It seems so simple, but it’s also often overlooked. It’s true, we are in fact taking less vacation than ever before. There’s almost an immediate benefit for taking a couple of days off to explore a new locale. Whether it’s a week on a sandy beach or a walking tour in an exotic city, vacations allow us to our challenges at work in perspective. The key here is to detach yourself from your job responsibilities as much as you feasibly can. In other words, “working vacations” aren’t nearly as effective.
Combat Tactic # 2: The Staycation
When a proper vacation isn’t possible for any reason, the next best thing is to have a staycation. Effective staycations follow the vacation format (focusing the mind off of professional responsibilities) but can be done in a more cost effective manner or on a smaller scale. Sometimes just being in a so-called “third space” (e.g. a location that’s neither home nor the office) can be just enough to recharge the batteries. Visiting a local attraction as if you were a tourist or spending an afternoon in a local library or coffee shop may just what the doctor ordered.
Combat Tactic #3: Meditation
Sometimes burnout comes at the most inopportune times. There may be a time where you aware you need some time off, but it is just not possible given the circumstances. Perhaps you are within two weeks from launching a very important product or you simply do not have the time off accrued. There is a third option that’s dedicated to improving your well-being: Meditation*. Taking a moment to allow yourself to be deep in thought is both a step in improving mindfulness as well helping to prioritize challenges that are on the horizon. Apps such as Breathe, or Headspace are helpful in learning new meditation techniques. Though a simple closing of the eyes, concerted breathing and taking a moment for yourself would suffice.
Combat Tactic #4: Conversation
For most of us, the question “How was your day?” acts as the green light to share the highlights of our workday. If you are going through a rough patch on the job, it may be a good idea to ask someone outside your usual network for their insight. Old acquaintances, mentors, and former employers can be especially helpful in offering a new perspective to your challenges at work. While this may not instantly “cure” signs of burnout, it is possible to come away from a conversation with an overall improved outlook.
Combat Tactic #5: Physical Exertion
Exercise is a tip that can pay instant dividends. If you’re stressed, going for a run or taking a cycling class can boost your mood, according to the ADAA. Above all, getting into a regular workout routine comes with a whole slew of health benefits as well. Whether it’s yoga, a round of golf, or hitting the weights, physical activity could end up being a beneficial burnout buster!