Burnout is an insidious thing that creeps into our lives and slowly squeezes the morale and passion out of us. Most of us can identify with those moments of exhaustion when we’ve worked or stressed ourselves to the point that the spark in us goes out and we lose sight of what we’ve worked so hard for or why. The good news is, fizzling out can be avoided with careful and constant intervention.
- Hit the brakes regularly
Taking a break is a simple idea but it's also one that isn’t given enough attention to. Breaks help your mind relax and recharge, preserving your emotional and mental state. Assign yourself fixed breaks after a certain duration of productive work (90 minutes is usually the ideal number) and be diligent in enforcing them.
- Don’t ignore the voice in your head
Pay attention to your subconscious voice as it knows what your body needs. If your thoughts keep leaning towards frustrated and unhappy ones, identify the cause of this stress and take actions to reduce it. Keeping a mood diary is a tested way of helping you channel your inner feelings into words and insights.
- Choose words that empower, not belittle
Words have the power to shape your feelings. Counter negative feelings by changing the direction of our negative thoughts. When you find yourself thinking negatively, end the sentence on a positive note. You might catch yourself thinking “I feel like giving up” initially, but end that thought with “but not today!” Make this an ongoing habit!
- Strengthen the community around you
Burnout tends to occur when we feel disconnected and alone – no man is an island. Surround yourself with a close network of friends/colleagues that mutually encourage one another and strive for productivity together. Having a circle of like-minded people around you will make it easier to enforce break timings and achieve goals.
Even the most seasoned of professionals are prone to feeling frazzled. Consistent self-reminders that we are ultimately humans with limits will help us keep our expectations of ourselves reasonable. It's okay to feel what you're feeling, but be sure to do something about it!