5 Tips for Business Professionals Battling Burnout
In partnership with Shannon Sparks
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Burnout is a very real thing in our busy hustle and bustle work culture that often pushes people to the brink of what they can handle. Employee and entrepreneur burnout is nothing new, but it has been resurfacing as a major discussion topic in professional circles. Organizational leaders, entrepreneurs, small business leaders, HR professionals and other members of the professional community are starting to seriously take note of how burnout impacts not only the individuals themselves, but the company as a whole. One of the main reasons that burnout has once again become a main discussion topic is how the attitude toward work shifted in the last few years. In the first few months of 2020, COVID-19 spread across the world.
In response to the pandemic, many organizations had to shut their doors. Those who didn’t only managed to stay open by transitioning to a more remote and mobile model for their operations. All of the chaos surrounding work culture and the economy made many individuals reconsider what a healthy work-life balance looked like, and professionals everywhere started paying a lot more attention to their mental and emotional states.
Ultimately, this has made everyone much more aware of the potential burnout that we all face when overworked, overtired and overstressed. The following advice should help anyone— employee, entrepreneur or organizational leader—achieve a healthier work-life balance that helps them avoid burnout.
“Job fatigue is on the rise, and we’ve got the employee burnout statistics to prove it. With workers leaving their chosen professions in droves and companies scrambling for ways to keep their current workforce happy and engaged, it’s crucial to understand where employee stress comes from and how it can affect your team and your bottom line.” —Jennie Overton, author, Limeade
1. The value of work-life balance
Establishing and maintaining a healthy work-life-balance is one of the best and easiest ways to avoid burnout altogether. Individuals and companies have started to recognize the importance and value of a healthy work-life balance for modern professionals. When professionals feel they have a healthy and maintainable work-life balance it allows them to focus on their work more intently when they’re on the job. It also gives employees more energy and actively improves employee engagement as well.
“We shouldn’t live to work because life is so much more than that. By prioritizing a work-life balance you aren’t neglecting your professional obligation, not in the slightest. In fact, you’ll be better at your job if you have a chance to rest and relax regularly.” —Rachel Roff, Founder and CEO, Urban Skin Rx
Understanding the value of a healthy work-life balance is really only half the equation, though. Professionals, entrepreneurs and organizational leaders have to be willing to actively set boundaries with work obligations and take a step back from time to time. Knowledge is power, but actions speak much louder than words.
“I feel blessed everyday because I’m in the arts and I get to be so creative in my career. That being said, my best inspirations have always come to me when I’m off relaxing on a beach or have my nose buried in a good book. It’s those quiet stress-free moments that open the door for the best ideas.” —Melissa Rhodes, CEO, Psychics1on1
2. Take breaks throughout the day
To avoid burnout on a day-to-day level, it’s important to give yourself little breaks throughout the workday. This is essential to a productive workflow that doesn’t leave you drained and completely empty by the end of the workday. Taking mental breaks throughout the workday is also integral to keeping your brain fresh and giving yourself the chance to reset between tasks.
“I find it’s really helpful to take breaks throughout the day. I typically try to line them up with natural pauses in my workflow, but I would go insane if I didn’t have a chance to get up from my desk and stretch my legs every once in a while.” —Susan K. Shaffer, Co-Founder & President, Pneuma Nitric Oxide
When you take a break during the workday you can use the time in a variety of healthy ways that are very productive. From doing a little bit of basic stretching to get your blood flowing, to taking a break for a snack or a full meal that keeps your energy up and your blood sugar balanced. All of this is vital to maintaining a consistent level of productivity throughout your day.
“Everyone needs to take breaks throughout the day. Otherwise you’re just looking to burn yourself out. It’s simply not sustainable to sit down at a desk and work straight through without any pause.” —Temoer Terry, Partner, The Mommy Care Kit
3. Don’t work through the weekend
While it’s often tempting for young professionals and motivated entrepreneurs to work through the weekend, this is actually a really unhealthy habit to develop. If you’re never taking any time off to simply rest, relax and recover, you’re going to reach a breaking point. It will become inevitable. The human body needs a chance to rest, destress and decompress. If you starve your body and your brain from this chance, you’ll end up hitting a wall and burning out much sooner than you would have otherwise.
“Doing a little bit of work on the weekend every now and again never hurt anyone. However, it’s a problem when it’s every single weekend, and it isn’t just a little bit of work.” —Stephanie Venn-Watson, Co-Founder & CEO, Fatty15
Many modern organizations are becoming much more aware of the potential impact of burnout in their employees, and are even setting up systems that deter their team members from working through the weekend. This is just one way in which modern organizations are working to make mental health a higher priority.
“I used to work through the weekend all the time when I was a bit younger, but I quickly learned that lesson the hard way. Now if I’m ever doing work on the weekends it’s a very light load. And I never ask anyone in the business to work over the weekend, either.” —Bradley Hall, CEO, SONU
4. Take a vacation or two each year
In addition to giving yourself a weekend each and every week and making sure that you’re taking breaks throughout the workdays themselves, it’s also important to take breaks throughout the work-year. These breaks should be longer, and can even come in the way of a full on vacation. Taking a week or so off here and there throughout the work-year is a great way to break up the annual workflow and to give your body (and brain) a chance to just rest, relax and destress away from the hustle and bustle of work.
“It’s more about the time off than it is about taking a vacation. You don’t have to go anywhere if you don’t want, just stay at home for a week and sleep, or game, or color or whatever. It’s just important to take that time off for yourself in order to relax.” —Marilyn Zubak, Marketing Lead, Snif
Whether you take a solo trip or decide to have a week-long staycation with your pets, it’s vital to take a bit of time off each and every year so that you can just focus on yourself and your own mental and emotional health. Taking a vacation every 6 months or so is a good way to break up the year and can help you avoid reaching a state of burnout.
“When you take some time to focus on yourself and your own emotional needs, it becomes a lot easier to avoid burnout. We all need a little time to ourselves here and there.” —Lindsay Malu Kido, CEO, Empower Pleasure
5. Accept help when you need it
Finally, when it comes down to it, Rome wasn’t built by a single person. Many small business owners, entrepreneurs, organizational leaders and decision makers have a tendency to want to do everything themselves. After all, if you want something done right, you have to do it yourself, right? Wrong. Learning how to delegate and bring on help when you need it is an extremely important lesson that leaders need to learn. The amount of stress and responsibility an extra pair of hands can take off your shoulders is sometimes life-changing.
“Delegating was one of the hardest things for me to learn as an entrepreneur. No matter how big the business got, I still just wanted to do everything myself. I learned pretty quickly how unsustainable that was.” —Nick Wallace, Co-Founder & Chief Farmer, 99 Counties
By growing your team and delegating some of your responsibilities, you can effectively lighten your own personal workload and open up more free time for yourself. This can help you achieve and maintain a healthier work-life-balance, which in turn will help you avoid burnout.
“Although it can often feel like it, life is rarely a race. Rather than trying to get as much done as humanly possible in a short period of time; it’s much easier to spread out your obligations, and to work at them incrementally. Bring on good help when you need it, and don’t overwork yourself because then you’ll lose your whole capacity to be productive.” —Christy Pyrz, Chief Marketing Officer, Paradigm Peptides
We’ve all been there before; overworked, overtired and overstressed. Burnout is a very common thing for professionals to experience in the modern workforce. Look to the strategies and advice above to help you avoid burnout in your own career path.
“While burnout is driving the current talent crisis, it’s also giving us an opportunity to revision the future of business. Organizational psychologist Anthony Klotz, who coined the term The Great Resignation, says this: ‘One hopefully silver lining of this horrible pandemic would be if the world of work transitioned to a more healthy, sustainable place for employee well-being.’” —Britt Andreatta, Thought Leader
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