You had the job of your dreams. The kind of job you’re excited to wake up to and don’t mind pulling all-nighters for. But somewhere along the way, you lost motivation, and every day seemed like a drag. You still loved your job, but something was off. Most employees who are experiencing burnout go through these stages.
If it goes too far, burnout can push you to leave your job. When this happens, it doesn’t mean your chances of having an incredible career are dead. With the right approach, getting a job after burnout can be smooth sailing. However, there are several things you need to keep in mind as you enter the job market again. We’ve rounded up a list of 5 crucial things to remember. Let’s dive right in.
Boundaries Go a Long Way in Preventing Burnout
When you’ve just confirmed acceptance to a new job, you probably think you shouldn’t make a lot of demands lest you lose your job. Sure, your requests should be reasonable and in line with the company’s objectives. Nevertheless, you shouldn’t go in without boundaries.
The reason many employees experience burnout at work is because they don’t have clear boundaries. As a result, their bosses and colleagues don’t know when they’re pushing too much. Sometimes, it happens because you’re crossing your own boundaries.
You’ll find an employee who feels guilty for leaving work at the set time to make it home for dinner with their family. Other employees don’t understand their leaders’ expectations and therefore assume they should be responding to emails even after working hours, among other things. Here’s how to set boundaries at work.
Speak to Your Supervisor
The easiest way to set boundaries at work is to talk to your supervisor and find out what they expect of you. This way, you know what the job demands from the get-go. As a result, you’ll always be able to tell when you’re approaching your limit doing things you’re not expected to.
Consider the following process:
- Request your boss to make a list of what they expect of you in your new position.
- Make a similar list but include what you think they expect of you. In most cases, these two lists will look very different.
- Compare the lists and highlight the items you think you should prioritise.
- Negotiate the agreed-upon priorities to ensure you only bite on what you can chew.
Conduct a Boundary Audit
Making your priorities clear with your boss isn’t enough. Because you can’t have a similar conversation with all your colleagues, it’s advisable to audit your boundaries. Take note of interactions and requests that leave you feeling angry, anxious, or depressed. These feelings are indications that a boundary is being crossed and should be set.
Create a boundary for that situation or communicate to the individual about how you’re feeling about your interactions. This way, the person will be aware when they’re crossing the line.
Set Limits and Stick to Them
Boundaries are great, but they won’t be of much help if you have no follow-through. For instance, if you’ve committed to not checking your emails after work hours and jump to work whenever you get an email from your boss, you’re not helping yourself.
You need to have clear limits. Don’t just say you won’t respond to emails, take active steps. Turn off your email notifications when you get home or leave your work items in another room when you’re spending time with your family.
Learn to Delegate
Another reason most employees experience burnout is because they’re afraid to delegate. Sure, you probably believe you’re the only one who can do the job exceptionally. If you’re a team leader with a lot of experience, you’re probably right. But don’t underestimate your team’s capabilities.
How will you know what they’re capable of if you never allow them to prove themselves? Delegate the tasks that take up too much of your time, and other people can handle them. You’ll find you have more free time for relaxation, and you’ll be leading more effectively.
Develop a Productivity System
You can also prevent burnout by creating a productivity system. Goo through your to-do list and address your tasks in order of priority. For example, you can use labels like:
- Defer it
- Do it
- Drop it
- Delegate it
It’s also crucial to tackle each item on your list at once then move to the next. This way, you’re not juggling too much all at once.
You Shouldn’t Be Ashamed to Seek Professional Help
If your previous burnout experience left you feeling depressed, anxious, and overly stressed, and you don’t have opportunities to talk about it in your new job, it’s advisable to seek professional help. A licensed therapist will help you cope with burnout symptoms and help you go through your job with a different mindset and approach.
Besides, a therapist can help you develop a strategy to set clear boundaries in the workplace or negotiate priorities. Counselling also offers a safe space to speak about your struggles at work and other areas of your life. And the best part is that all your sessions are confidential.
Your boss has no way of finding out what you say in your therapy sessions, even if it’s in an employee support program. Therefore, if you don’t feel comfortable speaking to your boss or colleagues about your experience with burnout, seeking professional help will go a long way in preventing another occurrence in your new job.
Mind, Body, and Soul Nourishment Should Be Your Priority
Most employees who experience burnout have multiple days where they run on empty. You probably know these days all too well. You start the day with a long meeting, head over to your desk, and start working on projects. Before you know it, it’s time to leave, and you’ve barely taken a break or eaten all day.
Days like these accumulate and eventually lead to burnout. To prevent burnout in your new job, mind, body, and soul nourishment is non-negotiable. What does this look like? Let’s find out.
If you’re constantly working and never taking a break, there’s a great chance you’ll get to a place of no motivation and feeling extremely tired even when you’re well-rested. Mind nourishment allows you to restore a sense of peace and relaxation to your mind.
There are several ways you can do this. These include:
- Practicing mindfulness: Mindfulness gives you a sense of peace and allows you to appreciate the little things and moments in your life. You won’t enjoy this if you’re always slaving away on your computer.
- Detox from technology: Set clear boundaries for technology-free times after work and use this time to relax or spend time with your family.
- Meditate: Meditation helps you clear your mind. Make it a habit to do it at least twice a day.
- Journal: Set time for self-reflection. It clears your mind and helps you explore who you are in different seasons of life.
There are numerous negative impacts of sitting all day in front of a computer. It not only increases your risk of heart disease, cancer, and diabetes but also affects your mental health. Standing all day doesn’t do your body any good either. You risk reduced blood supply to your muscles, which can cause an accelerated onset of fatigue and muscle pain, among other things.
Therefore, whether your job requires prolonged sitting or standing, it’s crucial to take care of your body to prevent health complications. There are several things you can do. They include:
- Exercising: We can’t overestimate the importance of exercise. It not only improves your health but also makes you stronger and better physically equipped to handle your job responsibilities.
- Improving your diet: Ensure you eat a balanced diet and avoid junk food, especially on working days, because it impacts your productivity.
- Hydrating: Drink plenty of water throughout the day. If you’re not a fan of drinking water, it may help to set reminders to stay on top of it. Also, consider flavouring your water with lemon juice to make it easier to drink
- Take breaks: Set reminders to take at least 30-minute breaks from work every two hours. It’s also crucial to use your vacation days to relax and take a break from work. Doing so allows your body to heal from the everyday stress of working.
When you’re experiencing burnout, one of the things you’ll notice is a lack of motivation and happiness. You can prevent this by keeping your soul nourished. Nourishing your soul is simple. You need to incorporate activities that make you happy and excited to wake up every day.
Set time for hobbies, fun activities, vacations, and anything else that brings joy to your life. Little things like reading, listening to your favorite music, and going out for some fresh air will also go a long way.
Source: The Muse and The Blissful Mind
Taking Responsibility for Your Previous Burnout is Crucial
It’s easy to blame everyone else for why you experienced your previous burnout. Perhaps the boss shouldn’t have pushed you to work after hours every day. Maybe your colleagues should have seen what was happening to you and stopped delegating so many duties to you. But what about you? What role did you play?
Most employees who experience burnout have trouble setting boundaries and communicating clearly. You’ll find that they’re “yes” people. They can’t ignore that email if it comes in after-hours, and they won’t refuse to take on more work even if what they already have is killing them. As a result, these decisions slowly lead to burnout.
If you’re going to prevent another similar situation, you need to identify what you allowed that lead to the burnout. This way, when you’re in a position where you’re allowing the same things in your new job, you’ll be able to identify red flags and put a stop to it. List all situations you believe got you there and identify decisions or patterns that lead to your burnout, and take responsibility.
Learn to Say No
“Yes. Sure. I’ll do that right away.” How many times have you said this at work and regretted it the minute you said it? If you can’t even put a number on it, you’re probably saying yes too many times, and to things you shouldn’t agree to.
Granted, there are things you can’t say no to at work. Saying yes to more projects and responsibility may be the answer to getting that promotion you’ve been eyeing. However, agreeing to everything isn’t a good plan whether you’re aiming for a promotion or not. People who can’t say no have a higher likelihood of experiencing burnout in the workplace.
You need to learn how to say no to things that put too much than you can handle on your shoulders. But if you’re like most people, you’re probably worried about offending people. The last thing you need is to offend your boss and get fired, right? We get it. However, there are smart ways to say no to things and still maintain respect and avoid consequences. Here’s how to go about it.
Most employees have the hardest time saying no to their boss or supervisor. It’s understandable. This is the person who made it possible for you to have a job, and they can fire you. But this doesn’t mean they should cross your boundaries and put too much on you. There’s a smart way to say no to unreasonable requests without consequences.
For instance, if your boss needs you to pull more hours after work to work on an urgent project, a bad response would sound like, “I can’t do it. You already have me on too many projects, and adding that would be too much.” Such a response comes across as rude and may not sit well with your boss. A better, polite response would sound something like, “I appreciate that you thought of me for this project. Unfortunately, I planned to spend the evening working on (name other projects).
This response works for several reasons. For starts, you’ve thanked him or her for considering you. Therefore, there’s a likelihood you’ll be considered for other top projects. Second, by highlighting other projects you’re working on, you leave room for your supervisor to push them to the back banner if the other project is more important. This way, you’re on the same page in regards to priorities.
Your coworkers may also need your help from time to time. Sometimes, you may find the project interesting and an opportunity to learn something new. In such cases, you should say yes because the opportunity betters your skills. However, if you’re not interested in the project or you had other plans, you’ll have to say no.
Again, you need to choose your response carefully because you need to maintain a good working relationship with your coworkers. Don’t say no and give an excuse of being swamped. If you do so and you’re lying, your coworker will know when you take on another project.
Be honest. If you’re not interested in the project, for instance, you can say, “Thank you so much for considering me for this. It really sounds like a fun project. However, I don’t have much experience in that space, and I don’t think I would be of much help.” This response is polite and doesn’t leave any room for your coworker to be offended.
Saying no to a client can be daunting. Any wrong move can mean you’ve lost potential business. This is a risk you can’t afford to take. However, it doesn’t mean you can’t say no. You just have to do it in a smart way.
For example, if a client is shooting down your ideas and proposing an approach you know won’t work, don’t cut them short. Let them finish what they’re saying and listen attentively even if you don’t agree. When they’re done, explain why the approach isn’t the best (instead of saying no and dismissing it).
A good response sounds something like, “That’s a great idea. We were actually thinking of the same approach but had reservations because it’s the same approach your competitor uses. I have several ideas I’d like to share with you. Would you like to see them?”
Source: The Muse
Go From Burnout to Fired Up
When you’ve experienced burnout at work before, a new job can be nerve-wracking. You can’t help but wonder if you’ll go back to the same position after a while. This doesn’t have to be the case. With the right approach, you can create a perfect balance and prevent burnout. Use the tips in this article, and remember to hold yourself accountable to avoid digging yourself back into the same pit.
Most importantly, take it easy! Your new job holds new opportunities. Take it one day at a time and remember to appreciate even the smallest milestones.
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