By | Sarah Kaminski
A recent survey examining the connection between flexible work arrangements and worker well-being discovered that as many as 42% of the global workforce felt burnt out in December 2022.
And while some solutions, like hybrid work, could help avoid the dreaded feeling of overwhelm, it’s safe to say that preventing burnout and ensuring you have a healthy and successful career depends on more than just embracing remote work once or twice a week.
First and foremost, to avoid burnout, you must understand that sustainability always trumps short-term success. Yes, a big (or small) career win can feel great. But if it leaves you exhausted and prevents you from enjoying the fruits of your labor, it’s nothing more than wasted energy.
So, if you’re looking for tips on how to avoid burnout and ensure the longevity of your career, here are the top three things you need to start doing right away.
Learn How to Recognize the Signs of Burnout
Before you can hack your workday in a way that allows you to achieve peak performance without becoming exhausted, you must first learn how to recognize the signs of burnout.
According to the World Health Organization, the signs of professional burnout include:
- Exhaustion or low energy
- Disengagement from your work
- Low productivity
If you find that any of these factors are a part of your day-to-day reality, it might be time to take a step back and reevaluate your schedule. See whether there are areas of your job where you’re doing more than you can objectively handle. And make sure you create space for rest and recovery, whether by blocking out some time in your schedule for self-care or scheduling your deep work to allow enough time to recover from mentally intensive sessions.
Give Yourself Permission to Set Healthy Boundaries
One of the top mistakes professionals make these days is allowing their careers to take over their lives. Now, this isn’t a difficult trap to fall into — especially if you’re passionate about your work and genuinely enjoy it.
However, if you’re trying to avoid burnout and follow a sustainable career path, try to learn how to set boundaries. No, this doesn’t necessarily have to mean going to extremes. But if you can teach yourself some basics, you’ll be well on your way toward a healthy and successful career.
For example, something as simple as not checking your work email first thing in the morning will help you wake up naturally and without derailing your circadian rhythm. Similarly, give yourself the freedom not to work on vacation. After all, that’s a time you’ve dedicated to rest and recovery, and you should do your best to make the most of it.
Finally, make it your priority to build a life outside of work. Yes, a career can be fulfilling. However, mental and physical well-being requires a healthy body and mind, which is not achievable if you spend most of your waking hours chained to your desk.
Get the Basics of Self-Care Right
Enabling your mind to perform at peak capacity requires impeccable care of yourself. Fortunately, you can go a long way by focusing on the basics of self-care:
- Get your nutrition right to ensure your body and brain are nurtured with plenty of high-quality nutrients. By eating plenty of fresh, high-quality foods like veggies, lean proteins, and healthy fats, you’ll hugely boost your physical well-being and improve the way you feel in your day-to-day life.
- Prioritize sleeping in a healthy environment with a good-quality mattress with no fiberglass. Also, make sure to get at least seven hours per night. Experts suggest that you keep to a super-strict sleep schedule, which will optimize your rest by training your body to fall asleep and wake up at the same time every day.
- Do your best to get plenty of exercise. Ideally, you should be aiming to hit the CDC recommended levels of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity per week and two or three days of strength training per week. It’s also a good idea to incorporate stretching into your daily routine. And try to do a little bit of movement every hour you are awake, whether it’s a pushup, a light stretch, or a short walk.
- Learn how to manage stress levels through meditation, yoga, journaling, or therapy.
- Don’t underestimate the importance of social connection for ensuring the health of your body and mind.
Avoiding burnout isn’t always easy. Especially when you work a high-stakes job, run your own business, or are generally just very invested in your professional path.
Nonetheless, it’s essential that you remember that long-term well-being and success always trump short-term financial or productivity gains. So, if you aim to build a healthy career, think about what you want to accomplish, how long it will take, and what you’re willing to pay for your desired level of success. Chances are, you’ll agree that a slower but sustainable pace is much better than risking burnout and all the negative consequences it can lead to when unmanaged.