Should You Work Part-Time to Deal with Burnout Syndrome

When dealing with burnout, a common remedy that people try is reducing their hours. Short of leaving your job altogether to get rid of the stress, you may be considering working part-time. 

Working part-time may help healthcare workers deal with the tiredness that comes with burnout. However, it may not help with the other aspects of burnout, namely cynicism and lack of accomplishment. To get full relief, burnout should be combated in a more targeted fashion. 

If you have more questions about this topic, or you simply want to learn more about whether you should work part-time to deal with burnout, continue reading! 

Does Working Part-Time Help with Burnout?

Working less is often the first thing that people recommend to healthcare workers with symptoms of burnout. While this may seem like a logical suggestion, it does not address all of the aspects of burnout. 

If someone is dealing only with fatigue, they are not dealing with proper burnout. And, while fatigue is an important issue to remedy, it is not to be confused with burnout. 

There are three main symptoms of burnout that need to be addressed for total relief, including: 

  • Extreme fatigue: Employees that suffer from burnout deal with all-encompassing exhaustion. No matter how much the employee sleeps, they still feel like they want to stay in bed and do nothing. They may have very frequent headaches and unexplained pain and may even get sick more often than usual. 
  • Cynicism and negativity: A burnt-out employee may be relentlessly negative, only seeing the bad side of things and doesn’t feel like things will ever get better. Their bedside manner may suffer as they become more and more impersonal.
  • Lack of accomplishment: Someone dealing with burnout generally doesn’t feel accomplished or appreciated. They may also stop caring about their job duties or the well-being of the company for which they work. 

For those who are dealing with full-blown burnout, working part-time will not be enough to make a true, lasting difference. 

Now that you have a basic idea of what burnout really is, it’s easy to understand why working part-time, or reducing your work hours, is not a miracle fix. There are some mental blocks and issues that need to be worked out once you get to the point of true burnout. 

Working Part-Time Could Help

Though working part-time is definitely not enough to deal with burnout, there are ways that it can help. The following sections will explore the benefits of working part-time when burnt out. 

Increase in Energy

If you use the extra time that you gain from working fewer hours to sleep, you may feel an increase in energy. However, if you find yourself still thinking about work when you’re not there, you may not be able to rest enough to feel refreshed. 

Self-reflection Time

Working part-time after working long hours can give you a much-needed break from the hustle and bustle of your job. 

Working part-time gives you more time to yourself, and you can use that time to get back to yourself and reflect on your current situation. With a clearer head, you’ll be able to think about how to address your burnout problem. 

You could take some time to yourself and examine what caused you to get burnt out in the first place. After you’ve done that, you can begin taking steps to recover. 

Time to Reconnect with Loved Ones

Taking on a part-time schedule also gives you more time to reconnect with people you didn’t have time to spend time with before. 

Spending time with people you love will also get you out of your own head. You only reap this benefit if you actually disconnect from your job when you walk out of the door or log off of the computer. 

Working Part-Time Could Make Things Worse

Some don’t realize that working part-time can create more problems than it solves. The following section will explore some of the negatives that come with reducing your hours at work. 

Money Stress

Working fewer hours can put you in a financial bind, which causes you more stress. Additional stress can exacerbate burnout, deepening any mental problems that you are dealing with. The last thing that you want to do is increase your stress while you’re fighting burnout. 

Mental Issues

Working less time could make you feel even less important to the company since you aren’t pulling as much weight as you were before. This could make any feelings of inadequacy more severe and could completely stall your burnout recovery. 

Alternatives to Working Part-Time to Help with Burn Out

Rather than decreasing time at work, you may want to consider more involved burnout reduction strategies. You could benefit from trying any of the following remedies below. 

Connect with a Therapist

You may think that therapists are only able to treat conditions like depression and schizophrenia, but this isn’t true. A trained therapist is also able to help with burnout. They can help you talk through your issues and reshape your attitude during work. They can also offer recommendations for any lifestyle changes that you should make to help with burnout. 

Consider Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a talk-therapy technique that is used by therapists all over the world to give patients the tools to combat burnout. Talk to your therapist about this treatment option, as it may be exactly what you need to get back to work with a whole new attitude. 

Take Some Notes

In-person or remote therapy is not for everyone, so home remedies for burnout may be more desirable. It’s important to look internally and try to figure out what was stressing you out. It could take some time to figure this out, and you may find that what you thought was bothering you was not really a factor. 

Once you have a list of your stressors written down, take action on those that you can remedy immediately by coming up with ways to reduce those stressors. You may be surprised by how good you feel about your work after reducing individual sources of stress. 

Talk to Your Employer About Your Duties

If you can remember what your responsibilities were when you were first hired, use that knowledge and compare it to what your duties are now. If you’re a nurse and you’re taking care of duties that a CNA could do, bring this up to your employer. 

Completing duties that are in line with your education and capabilities will do wonders for your self-esteem and sense of accomplishment. These are important for reducing the severity of burnout.

Put Up Boundaries

Don’t bring work home with you. Once you walk out of the door or log off of the computer, focus only on non-work matters. When you’re at home, don’t respond to emails and phone calls from work. Give yourself a full mental break from work when you’re not on the clock. 

You should also put up boundaries when it comes to having a healthy life. When it’s time to sleep for the night, don’t spoil your sleep with electronic screens or TV. Gift yourself with some much-needed rest. Also, don’t give in when it comes to your health- resist the urge to overindulge in food and try to get active on a regular basis. 

Final Thoughts

Now you know why working part-time is not a full treatment for burnout. We hope that you are able to use some information from this article to help with your burnout treatment. 

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