Preventing Burnout: Why should I make preventing burnout a priority?
I've never worked with a client who enjoyed being miserable in their career. Preventing burnout can protect you from letting everyday workplace stress compound until it seeps into other aspects of your life such as your physical and emotional well-being.
How can I prevent burnout?
According to the ICD 11, burnout is a syndrome characterized by feelings of energy depletion, increased mental distance from one's job, and reduced professional efficacy. Recognizing red flags, setting healthy boundaries, developing strong coping skills, and establishing ongoing self-care routines are four ways to prevent burnout and thrive in your career.
Recognize red flags
Similar to having relationships with people in your life, you have relationships with your jobs. Think back on every occupation you've ever held. What feelings come up around certain positions and companies? Maybe you remember unlimited PTO at a cool start-up, or the revenue-driven pressure that kept you away from home for weeks on end at another firm. In the same way that you learn from people, learn what you're willing to tolerate in the workplace. Recognizing when you’re in a toxic work environment can help keep you from internalizing everything that's wrong with your workplace and preserve your confidence.
Set healthy boundaries
Wellness is about being honest with yourself and openly sharing your needs with others. Overextending yourself at work is often not sustainable, and can absolutely lead to feelings of burnout. Think about why you continue to spread yourself so thin… are you a people-pleaser, a perfectionist, a procrastinator? Your motivation for making these stressful decisions is the answer to changing for the better. A perfectionist has to give themselves permission to make mistakes. Someone who is a people-pleaser needs to learn how to say ‘no’. I’ve found that saying ‘no’ with a gentle smile and offering an alternative solution can soften feelings of rejection and help people feel less defensive while setting healthy boundaries for yourself.
Develop strong coping skills
Perhaps you work in a high-stress field that has no room for setting healthy boundaries. Realistically, not everyone has the freedom to decline a task or avoid working on projects outside of their job description. What do you do then? You might be tempted to end your evenings with a happy hour or a glass of wine or three. Since alcohol carries incredibly dangerous long-term health risk when consumed on a daily basis, I highly recommend not drinking to unwind because you'd be surprised at how fast your body can become dependent on the depressant. Instead, invest time in an activity that releases stress-relieving endorphins... sex, Krav Maga, a nighttime jog with your pup- your body and mind will thank you.
Establish ongoing self-care routines
Be proactive! If your career carries stress, carve out time several times each week to strengthen your overall wellness. Take your lunch break, even if it's just to get your daily dose of vitamin D for the day. Leave work at work. If work is stressing you out, then you go home to vent to your pet for the rest of the evening, you're working overtime for free. Check in with a therapist to process work stress and alleviate symptoms of burnout before they impact you. Schedule facials, reflexology, acupuncture, whatever you need to feel rejuvenated each week. Financial wellness can impact self-care routines, so consider what salons are offering specials during the week. Maybe a body scrub from your favorite apothecary is within budget and just as stress-relieving.
Hopefully today's post gives you some tips on how to start the year off in a way that promotes healthy decisions and sustainable success!
Sending positive vibes, Veronica
Veronica Chin Hing is a psychotherapist and sex therapist in NYC. Honoring the intersectionality of cultural identity, gender diversity, and sexuality, she supports clients navigating the complex challenges that arise when holding intricate identities that exist outside the status quo. She helps clients feel accepted unconditionally, and empowered to attain personal transcendence.
How did today’s blog post make you feel? If there’s a topic you’re curious about, let me know in the comments below, and we can try to explore it in a future blog post. Have a personal question you want me to share in an anonymous blog post? Send me an email, and I’ll post some feedback that way others sharing your challenge can receive support, too!