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8 Powerful Practices to Help Avoid Burnout
Are you one of those guys that gets after it every day? Whether it's your job, working out, or following your passion, too much of the chase leads to burnout.
According to Psychology Today, burnout is a state of emotional, mental, and often physical exhaustion brought on by prolonged or repeated stress.
Does that sound like you?
If so, you're not alone, and the pandemic didn't help.
In a report published by Indeed, 52% of American workers surveyed cite feeling burned out. That's a 9% jump from pre-pandemic studies.
Research in the Harvard Business Review found that burnout impacts health and mortality leading to nearly 120,000 deaths annually.
Burnout is a major problem for almost everyone, but what can you do to help avoid it?
Manage your perspective
When you fixate on your goals, you'll often fail to see the bigger picture. It's easy to lose your sense of self when your focus becomes too narrow.
Learn to enjoy the journey. Life is not a sprint; it's a marathon.
Consider the lessons learned from your daily accomplishments as minor victories. When we don't stop to reflect on our progress, the journey may seem pointless, and burnout may set in.
Multitasking isn't a thing
Contrary to what you believe, your brain can only focus on one task at a time. When you think you're multitasking, your mind continuously switches from one task to another. This task switching is mentally exhausting and causes stress.
Try sticking with a single task until it's complete, or use a timer to know when it's time to stop. Your brain, and to-do list will thank you.
Determine the essential items on your to-do list and do them first.
Most people knock out the easy, less-important tasks first, so they don't feel overwhelmed. But, that system is a recipe for burnout because you'll fail to complete vital tasks for the day and stress out about them.
You only have a few productive hours in the day, usually in the morning when you're fresh and rested. Use your most alert time for the most challenging tasks.
Focus on what's in your control
Our hyper-linked world involves an endless amount of stressors. Obstacles are everywhere.
Where we choose to direct our focus determines our stress level.
What happens the first time you glance at your phone every day? You likely go directly to your emails or text messages. This practice quietly turns other people's problems or tasks into yours.
You cannot be everything to everybody. Focus on the issues directly within your control and let the other stuff happen as it would with or without your input.
Progress over perfection
Perfection is the enemy of good. Nobody's perfect. Well, except you, and that's your ego talking.
Perfectionism is the ultimate stress inducer. As the big project at work approaches a deadline, your desire to make it perfect destroys the quality of your progress.
The progress mindset isn't permission to turn in shoddy work. It does allow you to do a good job most of the time and do great work occasionally.
Perfection doesn't exist.
Strong work-life boundaries are crucial, especially in this era when so many people work from home. You are not required to read or reply to emails or Slack messages immediately just because you receive them. Set aside time specifically for responding.
Boundaries also apply to news and social media. Try not to let FOMO rule your life. Endless doomscrolling is terrible for your mental health.
Have a morning routine
Without a morning routine, the day's stress smacks you in the face before you get a chance to have your morning coffee.
Instead of waking up thinking about everything you need to do, ease yourself into your day.
Be strategic in how you approach each day; move your body, get some sunlight, and calm your mind. Do whatever it takes to de-stress before greeting the new day's anxieties.
Give yourself a break
Rest is the antidote to burnout. Without it, you'll never find balance in your life.
Take time to catch your breath and sharpen your ax. No one can grind continuously without getting burned out.
"Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes... including you." - Anne Lamott
Taking a break is counterintuitive but necessary if you're a high-achiever. Rest boosts productivity, performance, health, and happiness but doesn't happen magically. Rest must be scheduled and not just a nap when you're tired.
Like everything in life, balance is the key to avoiding burnout.
Anther. Male wellness where it counts.