By Laurence Favier
The pressure of looming deadlines, a pile-up of urgent tasks, not to mention a toxic work environment, filled with competitiveness, incivility, and gossiping—this can leave anyone feeling exhausted, overwhelmed, and at risk of burnout. Having experienced burnout several times during my career, here are some tips to surviving burnout—and thriving.
Recognize the Warning Signs, Early
Burnout can build up slowly over time and may present itself not only with work pressures but social pressures, too. If you’re a people pleaser, you may find yourself becoming exhausted from making too many commitments, promises, and doing favors, to try and please everyone in your life, including family, friends, and even colleagues. And at work, you may find yourself being pushed and pulled in different directions, struggling to juggle an increasing to-do-list with ‘surprise’ urgent tasks that can pop up during the day.
Your body is probably showing you the warning signs of burnout, starting with tiredness and irritability, that can eventually lead to fatigue and even insomnia. It’s important to recognize and acknowledge these signs early. Don’t blame yourself—it is not worth the added pressure and can worsen your burnout symptoms.
By acknowledging these signs, you’ll be able to recognize whether you need to remove yourself from the situation that’s causing burnout. This could mean taking time off work, leaving your job entirely, simply saying ‘no’ to certain social commitments, or unplugging from social media.
Acknowledging the warning signs and physically removing yourself from the situation causing burnout are the first steps in taking care of yourself and bringing you back to joy and fulfillment. Once you’ve done this, tackle the struggles and judgments that are bubbling to the surface, internally.
Focus on seeking help, whether it’s by visiting a psychologist, or just talking to a friend or colleague. You may find that just talking about the situation can make you feel better.
Seeking professional help can provide different tools and techniques that can help you through those moments of stress, pressure, and even burnout. Practicing mindfulness and meditation, doing yoga, or other tools and exercises that focus on clearing your mind and breathing may be beneficial for you. Or, perhaps medications may be prescribed to you to help. Keep an open mind and do what works for you, without self-judgment or taking on the opinions and judgments of others. This can help you move beyond the burnout and even prevent it in the future.
Thriving Beyond Burnout
If you took time off work to focus on getting out of burnout, the return to work can be a delicate process, one that must be carefully planned and prepared for. A question you can ask yourself is, “What do I have or what do I want to change in my work and in my day-to-day life, so this burnout situation doesn’t happen again?” Flexible hours, shifting from full time to part time, weekly check-ins with your manager, or taking more frequent breaks during the day are all possibilities to consider when returning to work and can easily be discussed with your superiors and HR team. Don’t be afraid to ask for these changes and acknowledge and talk about what isn’t working for you anymore. If your workplace values your contribution to the company and has your best interest in mind, they will be willing to make accommodations, especially those that prevent future burnout situations.
Ask this question in other areas of your life, where you know that change is needed, as it is often a combination of more or less important factors that lead to burnout. Keep doing things you like and that work for you in your work and social life.
What kind of invitation can you be for people in your situation who do not dare to change? What if your experience could be useful for someone else? It is time to lower the barriers and walls you may put up to protect yourself and to show you as you are, in total vulnerability. Vulnerability is not a sign of weakness. On the contrary, it is a great strength. The strength to be who you really are, with no role to play, without judgment of yourself or others, without seeking to be perfect, just being you.
What are you going to change today for more ease in your life, move out of burnout and prevent burnout in the future?
About the Author
Laurence Favier is a Joy of Business facilitator and highly experienced corporate executive. After more than 30 years in senior IT roles, particularly in project management and operations, Laurence made a conscious decision to adopt a more fulfilling and nurturing approach to work and impending retirement. After discovering Access Consciousness™, Laurence began to integrate these quick and effective tools into her own life and to teach them to others. She has swiftly become an Access Consciousness™ certified facilitator, a Being You facilitator and a Joy of Business facilitator. Her knowledge of the corporate world is an asset to her clients—Laurence offers relevant and effective training for businesses and business leaders, as well as valuable insights for the wellbeing of employees. She provides trainings, conferences, workshops and one-on-one sessions.