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5 Easy Strategies to Counteract Chronic Burnout

December 6, 2021

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Believe it or not, burnout isn’t a requirement.

 

Let’s do a quick temperature check and see if you are experiencing chronic burnout.

 

  • Do you spend your downtime recovering from your working hours?
  • Are you frequently irritable, stressed, or overwhelmed?
  • Do you always feel like you’re playing catch up and feel tired most of the time?

 

 

If so, you may indeed be one of the millions experiencing the phenomenon called burnout.

 

Burnout affects people from virtually all life stages, ages, and demographics. It’s also common for people who have spent a significant amount of time in the same professional role or doing the same work tasks for an extended amount of time.

 

While burnout is commonplace, several tactics can help manage and reduce these feelings. Keep reading to learn about five easy strategies to counteract burnout.

 

 

 

What exactly is burnout?

As defined by Merriam-Webster, burnout is “exhaustion of physical or emotional strength or motivation usually as a result of prolonged stress or frustration.”

 

Translation: Burnout is that feeling you get when you just can’t. It feels like the ultimate overwhelm.

 

If it feels like a chore to do things that used to be a piece of cake, like doing typical job duties or checking work emails, you may be experiencing burnout.

 

Leaving burnout unchecked often manifests itself as symptoms like fatigue, difficulty sleeping, declining mental health, and even health issues like high blood pressure.

 

 

Why do so many of us experience chronic burnout?

Large swaths of us spend our waking hours working one (or more) job(s) with high stress, job security concerns, irregular or extended hours, and general fatigue.

 

Add other life responsibilities, like family commitments and relationships, and it’s no wonder that many of us are exhausted, leading us right into chronic burnout.

 

 

 

Five Easy Ways to Counteract Chronic Burnout

 

Burnout is a reoccurring feeling for many of us, but there are several changes that we can make to mitigate its effects. Try implementing a few of the suggestions below to alleviate the feeling of chronic burnout.

 

Don’t Multitask, Try Monotasking Instead

Contrary to popular belief, multitasking isn’t the bastion of effectiveness that we believe it to be. Studies show that multitasking is less valuable than we think in most cases and contributes to reduced productivity overall.

 

Rather than multitasking, which is likely to result in limited success, consider monotasking instead.

 

  • Use the Pomodoro technique to focus on a single task at a time: When experiencing burnout, it can be easy to spiral out and lose sight of what needs to get done or end up inadvertently multitasking. To avoid this, consider using the Pomodoro technique to focus on a single task for a designated amount of time. With Pomodoro, you’ll spend 20 minutes monotasking before taking a 10-minute break.
  • Take note of distracting thoughts if necessary: According to several studies, people think approximately 6,200 thoughts daily. It’s impossible to keep track of everything that runs through our minds! Instead of trying to keep up with what you’re thinking using your brain only, try writing down distracting or recurrent thoughts and revisit them later.

 

 

 

woman prioritizing tasks in planner

Photo credit: @covene on Unsplash

Try Prioritizing Tasks

If you’ve ever made a to-do list for everything you need to get done in a day (or a week!), you may find your eyes glazing and a pervasive, overwhelming feeling washing over you.

 

This likely stems from the fact that the to-dos are a jumbled mess with no level of importance factored in. To reduce this feeling, consider prioritizing the tasks on your to-do list.

 

  • Categorize tasks by level of importance: Have you ever looked at a to-do list and felt stressed just trying to figure out what to do first? If so, you’ll find value in categorizing your tasks by level of importance. Consider ranking tasks from most to least significant and most challenging to most straightforward to prioritize what you need to get done.
  • Separate tasks into categories: In addition to prioritizing your tasks by importance, it can also be helpful to categorize your to-do’s. Try placing your tasks into categories like work vs. personal, weekdays vs. weekends. Separating tasks into specific categories can reduce the stress of dealing with everything equally.

 

 

 

If Possible, Reallocate or Reschedule Tasks

Do you frequently find yourself stressed because you’re often racing against the clock to complete work or projects?

 

If so, it may be time to take a hard look at your responsibilities and determine whether anything you typically do can be rescheduled or reallocated altogether.

 

  • Choose a designated time for recurring items: Rather than doing regular tasks at random times, consider scheduling routine things at a set time and date. Having a specified time to complete obligations will help keep them compartmentalized and reduce impending stress.
  • Consider outsourcing whatever you can: If your plate is too full, it’s time to look outwards and see if help from others can help you regain some time. Whether you need help with your groceries, house cleaning, or even general errands, there are people and services that you can employ to get things like this done.
  • Rely on technology for additional relief: Put apps and online services to good use and reclaim some of your precious energy. Automation can also be an excellent resource for mundane duties like cleaning out your email inbox and scheduling appointments which lends a much-needed helping hand.

 

 

 

woman relaxing at home with dog

Photo credit: @rpnickson on Unsplash

Carve Out Non-Negotiable Time For Yourself

Although it sometimes doesn’t feel like it, taking time for yourself is one of the most important and beneficial ways to reduce chronic burnout.

 

Doing hobbies, hanging out with pets, connecting with friends, or even doing absolutely nothing can be just the boost you need to recharge.

 

  • Time block “me”-time regularly: Whether you decide that you need time for yourself on a weekly or daily basis, it’s imperative that you time block this time in your schedule. Your “me”-time can be as simple as watching an episode of your favorite TV show or as complex as a multi-step morning or evening routine. Just make sure to pencil yourself into your schedule.
  • Do activities that bring you joy: There’s no better feeling than taking the time to do something you enjoy after working hard. Make hobbies and personal pursuits a priority. The happiness you feel by doing things you genuinely want to do can help balance out overwhelm and inject much-needed joy into your life.

 

 

 

Unplug

The natural next step to taking time for yourself and away from your responsibilities is to unplug. When we’re experiencing chronic burnout, this seems undoable. But, with planning, spending time away from technology can be easier than you think.

 

  • Make your intentions known: If people are frequently contacting you during your off-hours, it’s time to let them know that you’re taking time for yourself. In addition to word of mouth, use your email out-of-office, outgoing voicemail, and an automatic text responder to let people know that you’re temporarily unavailable.
  • Temporarily go off the grid: If you want a more advanced form of downtime, consider taking a short-term break from technology. Whether you need to turn off your devices or hide them from yourself completely, taking a scheduled break from technology and making yourself unreachable is an excellent way to reduce pressure and recharge.

 

 

 

 

The Takeaway

In today’s society, the feeling of being overwhelmed and exhausted is recurring for countless individuals. While chronic burnout is a common experience for many of us, it doesn’t have to be a foregone conclusion.

 

You can significantly reduce or ease the symptoms of burnout using strategies like implementing monotasking and non-negotiable me-time. With the proper steps and attention to yourself, regaining control and feeling recharged is within reach.

 

 

 

 

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Founder. Creative. Innovator. Artist. Writer. I'm here to take you along with me as we explore personal development, lifestyle, wellness, and self-care... together.

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