How to avoid burnout in the workplace
December 2, 2021
With the festive season rapidly approaching, it’s not unusual for our motivation at work to dwindle, leaving the door open to burnout.
I mean, we get it. Picture this: it’s an icy Friday afternoon in the depths of winter. The last place we want to be is at our office desks, bracing ourselves for the cold commute home in the bleak 5pm darkness. Especially when we can already hear the streets abuzz with the chatter of pub-goers.
It’s important to note that ‘burnout’ is far more than feeling stressed every now and then. More long-term, burnout is often a symptom of an unhappy work environment.
Common causes of burnout are an excessive workload, a lack of enjoyment with the work you’re doing or feeling dissatisfied with your organisation and its values.
But how do we overcome the burnout that inevitably, for some, returns like clockwork at the end of every calendar year?
Instead of spending the rest of the month glancing longingly at our watches and yearning for the end of the day, let’s dive into some of the best ways to avoid losing motivation in the workplace during the festive period.
Create time for self-care and establish a work-life balance
Obvious as it may sound, a great way of overcoming burnout is by striking the perfect balance between your career and personal life.
To many of us, our career is a major priority. This means it can be easy to lose sight of the importance of self-care.
Especially now, during the festive period, we should be making time for ourselves. It’s completely fine to soak up the Christmas cheer and not get bogged down in an endless work cycle.
Important as it is to stay on top of your workload, sometimes there’s nothing more beneficial than self-care.
Being a dedicated employee is all well and good. But working 12 hours a day, 6 days a week is simply not conducive to a positive work experience.
As a knock-on effect of COVID-19, establishing a clear work-life balance has proven more complicated. Due to the pandemic, many of us are still working from the comfort of our homes.
In such circumstances, it can be extremely tempting to snuggle up in bed with a cup of coffee in your favourite mug and refuse to make the dreaded pilgrimage to your desk (trust me, we know the struggle).
However, it’s been scientifically proven that working from bed is basically like committing the cardinal sin of productivity. As deceptively dreamy as it may sound, working from bed allows your work to invade a space dedicated to unwinding.
According to an Indeed survey, 52% of participants experienced burnout over the past year, which is a 9% rise on a survey conducted pre-Covid, and 67% of respondents are convinced that this increase is a consequence of the pandemic. If you’re still working from home, it’s crucial to draw a line in the sand between work and down-time.
Focus on planning ahead and prioritising your tasks
Stay on top of your workload and steer clear of burnout at the end of the year is by managing your time and energy effectively.
Whether it be through to-do lists, scheduling tools or prioritisation techniques, focussing on planning ahead can take a heavy weight off your shoulders.
Balance end-of-year planning with holiday celebrations, mapping out your quarterly workload for the New Year and leaving work with a sense of control whilst still making it in time for the Christmas party down your local.
If you’re feeling buried under an avalanche of work, the best way of overcoming this is by planning, establishing clear goals for the remainder of the year (and the New Year), paving the way for mental clarity and a newfound sense of motivation.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
There’s no shame in admitting that you’re struggling with work and asking for support in particularly challenging times.
Whether that means approaching a colleague and asking for a helping hand with a project you’re working on or asking for support from your boss, the payoff will be well worth it in the long run.
If you’re having issues prioritising the tasks allocated to you on a daily basis and are feeling weighed down with responsibility, asking for help will not only benefit your mental health, it will improve your productivity in the long-run by enabling higher quality work efforts.
Consider changing jobs
If all else fails, it could be time to consider finding a new work environment. Your burnout is probably due to more than a simple case of the December blues.
If you find yourself in a hostile work environment that fails to serve your personal and professional needs despite your efforts to improve the situation, you might need to use more drastic measures to get out of your career slump.
Whether your job is leaving you feeling unfulfilled and uninspired, making excessive demands on you, or no longer aligning with your personal values, it could be time to consider a new opportunity.
With the New Year approaching, is there any better time to start afresh and reignite your passion for work?