Have you gone beyond the boundary of tired? Are you coming out of your working space every day feeling physically, emotionally and mentally exhausted? A little tiredness after work can feel like the sign of a job well done. But if you’re feeling wrecked, you’re missing the positive benefits of that experience. You need to start taking care of yourself so that work feels like less of an all-consuming hole in your life. Whether you own a business, you’re an employee, or you’re a freelancer, you need to recognize and take care of when work gets too demanding.
The first step is identifying when you’re not just suffering from temporary exhaustion due to a deadline or some passing pressure. Burnout manifests a lot more powerfully than that. It doesn’t just affect your ability to concentrate and do your job well, it has rippling effects through the rest of your life. If you’re feeling like your motivation to do even the things you love is slipping away or you’re starting to get more cynical and pessimistic about challenges and opportunities, you might be dealing with burnout. If you are, then the rest of the steps here are even more necessary than ever.
Don’t stay stuck in one position all day, every day
The physical and the mental overlap, especially where exhaustion and burnout is concerned. If you’re feeling long term strain and pain, particularly of the musculoskeletal kind, it’s going to play on your mind every day. That physical dissatisfaction can turn into stress and a foul mood that you just can’t shake. So, you need to give yourself the opportunity to move. Have a standing desk as well as a sitting one. Support yourself with ergonomic furniture and mats like this product from Sky Solutions. Most importantly, take the time to get out of your regular space. Run some errands outside of the office and give yourself any excuse to move from time to time. Your body will thank you for it and your mood may improve in response.
Just as you need to know when to keep moving, you need to know when to get still. If you have the opportunity, then take more regular small breaks between tasks at work. Enjoy your lunch break away from the desk and spend a little time to yourself now and then. Use those opportunities to run errands we talked about to have a leisurely walk, so long as you’re dealing with your workload fine. If you try taking breaks in the middle of tasks, it can make it a lot harder to focus on your work. More scheduled breaks can actually help you avoid distractions and ends up making you more productive.
Don’t rush the whole day
If you’re not organizing your work day properly, then it can just feel like you’re rushing from job to the next without any time to catch your breath. The harder you work, the harder it gets on you. So, work smarter, instead. Schedule your tasks and prioritize your to-do list. Recognize that not all tasks need to be done this minute. Eliminating some of those time wasters means you don’t have them playing on your mind when you’re trying to do the work that’s actually important. By allocating specific times to different tasks, you’re also going to feel like you’re not constantly sandwiched between jobs that need to be done this moment. It’s even better if you can identify some of the jobs that might be made a lot easier with the right tools or automation software.
Stop fearing failure
One problem that can contribute to emotional exhaustion at work is putting too much stock in every single aspect of the job. Learn to take responsibility for when you get things wrong, but don’t let it reflect on your efforts as a whole. Sometimes, failures can be serious. Other times, they are just tiny diversions. If you can’t differentiate between the two, then you’ll be feeling constantly pressured to always be perfect as work. No-one can keep up to those standards. You shouldn’t even fear the consequences of those bigger failures. Instead, start considering and working on the solution when you discover it. Taking responsibility and solving your own messes can make you feel positive even after a mistake.
Reflect on what you did well
When your head is in a dark place, you can develop the exact opposite of a confirmation bias. You develop a denial bias against yourself where you don’t see what you do well, only what you fail at. At the end of every work day or week, take a little time to reflect on what you accomplished and what you did well. What got finished? What got good feedback? Keep a little log and you’ll start feeling a lot more positive about the effort you’re putting into your work. That’s just another way to take some of the pressure off your back to constantly ‘make up’ for your perceived faults.
Meditate after work
Regardless of how a day at work went, you should take some proper time to yourself. Put on some relaxing music, dim down the lights, and meditate. Meditation isn’t necessary some mystic method to discover truths about yourself. It’s a breathing and concentration technique that can seriously diminish the effects of stress, anxiety, and a high-pressured environment. That kind of quiet reflection also gives you the space you need to view your problems and your challenges from a different light. As well as finding solutions and promoting more creative thought, it can help you recognize that your problems might not be as serious as you consider them.
You’re not going to be helping anyone by letting yourself get burnt out and feeling like you can just tough it out. That’s an easy way to carry serious aches with you all your life, not to mention emotional health problems. Follow the tips above and start making your job manageable again.