Feeling stressed, overwhelmed, or depressed at work? Anxious from simply opening your laptop, or fatigued when responding to an email? When we are feeling burned out, we can write inaccurate narratives about how much control we have over work behaviors. In the new remote environment, many are quickly seeing the effects of burnout, and the impact can be felt long after 5 PM. Maintaining a healthy mental wellbeing is a critical aspect of sustaining our families, workplaces, and communities, and mitigating burnout is necessary to support your mental health.
As I coach, I help Clients to prioritize implementing change where they have control right now. Here are eight ways that may help mitigate the effects of workplace burnout.
- Exercise Mindfulness
Being aware and consciously considering your own thoughts, feelings, and responsibilities can help you to take stock of your mental health. Think about how you are feeling internally at this moment, and what may be causing those feelings. Practicing mindfulness can help you to identify feeling frustrated and overwhelmed before you reach a breaking point—allowing you to cope with workplace challenges with a clear mind. I often have to stop clients from thinking about all tasks thru Q4, so make sure to slow down and take things as they come.
- Prioritize Self Care
When we are facing mental health challenges, it can be easy to push our own needs and wants to the side. However, making time for ourselves is essential to our overall well-being. To avoid burnout, make sure to set aside time during lunch or after work for yourself and your needs, like reading a good book, practicing yoga, or trying a new recipe for lunch.
- Get Quality Sleep
We all know the benefits of a good night’s sleep, but life oftentimes gets in the way of that becoming a reality. When you’re experiencing burnout, fatigue may also be at an all-time high, leading to a need for more sleep, but changes to your sleep habits can be hard. Setting (and adhering to) designated bedtimes and putting devices away early can help you regain some of your energy. Sticking to a bedtime schedule can help you feel more grounded in your routine.
- Cut Back on Meetings
While meetings can be very helpful, meetings where people feel unheard, unnecessary, or unseen can be major sources of burnout and frustration. Focusing on strategies to run more productive and inclusive meetings can help to cut back on unnecessary touch bases, improve team morale, and generate more positive results. Deciding if a meeting is necessary to host or join and creating an agenda can dramatically cut down on negative associations.
- Set Expectations
Especially in new remote environments, it’s easy to end up grinding away well past normal working hours. A major contributor to burnout is the lack of separation between work and home. However, there is a lot you can do to protect your time (and peace) outside of 9 to 5, for example…
- Keep your personal phone and your work phone separate
- Utilize Do Not Disturb mode for specific hours each evening
- Remove your work email from your personal devices.
- Let your team know that you will be offline for specific time periods.
Make sure to communicate these desires to your manager in order to level-set expectations and foster a relationship of honesty and trust. Don’t forget to be realistic—completion can be a great job even when it’s not perfect. Set realistic and feasible expectations about your own performance.
- Get Outside!
It may sound cliché but getting outside is a great way to improve your mental and physical health. Taking a brisk walk or jog each day can help to alleviate built-up stress, provide a (literal) breath of fresh air, and give your body a chance to relax from the hunched-over desk position many of us linger in all day long.
- Identify Stressful Tasks
Resentment is usually a sign we don’t want to do something. Everyone has certain tasks that make them groan, but self-awareness is key in identifying the reason. Why such frustration? What is triggering the emotion behind the task? When we procrastinate the stressful tasks, we make things worse for ourselves. Try tackling the hardest tasks when you are most alert and have the most energy. It’s a great way to increase your likelihood for success and ultimately your confidence in getting the work done.
- Lean on Others
Burnout can be extremely isolating, and it can be easy to fall into depressive patterns and withdraw. Being transparent and sharing your frustrations and experiences is one of the most powerful ways to talk about burnout in the team. Hearing that others may be feeling the same, whether they be friends, family, or teammates, can be very helpful, and lends itself to good conversation around solutions.
At Kinesso, we are dedicated to supporting employee mental health and prioritizing emotional well-being. We strive to create a safe environment that encourages everyone to be open and to ask for help when needed. We recognize how vital it is that we help facilitate burnout conversations and raise awareness of the importance of good mental health. If you find yourself struggling, reaching out to a coach can be a good way to handle your frustrations. Coaches help clients identify strengths and strategies to change work behaviors and reduce burnout.