TYGES Insights

7 Tips for Dealing with Burnout

Where did the term burnout come from? (When I was in High School we used the term burnout to mean the classmates who spent most of their day behind building 10 smoking….something.)

According to Verywellmind.com, the term burnout was coined in 1974 by the author of Burnout: The High Cost of High Achievement, Herbert Freudenberger.

His definition focuses on prolonged or chronic job stress, defined by “3 main dimensions: exhaustion, cynicism and feelings of reduced professional ability.”

Raise your hand if you know the feeling!

It’s obvious that burnout shares many symptoms with depression and if you feel that you are suffering from this very real disease, I encourage you to reach out and find help – call a hotline or speak to your physician today.

At one point in my life, when I worked for a less than stellar recruiting firm at the height of the IT bubble, my burnout was so severe and so surprising (I’m pretty resilient) that I ended up quitting the job without a fallback plan and floundered trying to find my footing for several years. This floundering was exacerbated by the toll burnout took on my health, including, but not limited to diagnosis of a chronic, auto-immune disease.

To say I learned my lesson is an understatement. Our bodies can only hold in so much before the stress of burnout starts to break us down physically as well as mentally.

What do you do if you’re feeling burnt out (either with your job or your job search?)

  1. Take some time off. Right now, you may not be able to GO anywhere but your backyard or a local park and that’s good enough. Unplug from your phone, your computer and the constant hum of virtual meetings and step away.
  2. Get into nature. Nature has proven to me time and again that while it doesn’t cure everything, it’s a balm to humans to spend time outside. Ten minutes a day observing what’s growing (or not) around you in the outdoors will perk you up, even if it’s just enough to see your situation with clear eyes.
  3. What is your best NEXT step? Often in the throes of burnout we fantasize about quitting it all and moving to an island with our dog! Or storming out of the office and watching colleagues and bosses suffer without our unique brilliance. While the fantasy is good for a minute the best step is simply asking yourself what the next best step is. Maybe the next step is taking an extended leave of absence, or a vacation, or sitting down with a trusted advisor and walking through your priorities. Simply having one next step can remind you that this is your life, and you are in control.
  4. Explore your options and ask for help. Whether it’s having a frank discussion with your boss about what you’d like to do (get a promotion, move to another project or reduce your responsibilities) or an overdue chat with your therapist make it happen now.
  5. Give yourself the space and grace to be where you are in the process. This doesn’t mean wallowing in pity or avoiding a call for help if you’re diving into deeper depression. It does mean recognizing the situation and sitting with it for a few hours or a day before you take action. Simply acknowledging what’s happening is the first step to change.
  6. Look at your diet. What you’re putting into your body is definitely having an effect on how you feel. I’m not a doctor of course, but I can say from experience that the deeper my burnout went, the worse my diet became – meals of chips and fast-food standing over a sink washed down with maybe one too many glasses of wine, for example. If you’re not feeding your body well, odds are you’re not caring for yourself in other ways.
  7. Review your self-talk diet. What are you telling yourself? Your words matter and become things. If you consistently tell yourself, “I have to stay in this crummy situation/job” you will bury yourself there. The truth is, you might want to choose to look for another job. In which case your self-talk may look like, “I am grateful to have this job and work on this project so I can gain valuable experience to bring to my next ideal job.”

Please note, these are ideas to help you with burnout. I’m not a therapist and I’m not a doctor, I am, however, passionate about people being happy at work because when you’re happy at work, you are happier in your personal life and that translates to greater kindness in the world over all.

If you are suffering, don’t do it alone. And if you’re ready to explore other career possibilities, feel free to let us know how we can help you.

Written by: PEGGIE ARVIDSON, Account Executive

Peggie Arvidson started recruiting in junior high school when she convinced her classmates to join her in creating a ski club. Since then, she’s held many positions from sales to recruiting to non-profit leadership and quality assurance.  Her focus in her life and career is helping people to find their right work for the right pay because she believes that when people are happy at work, they are secure in life, and happy people change the world for the better.

Peggie has moved more than 30 times across 5 states and three time zones, and is not a military brat. Before COVID, she spent her free time traveling with her friends and husband and now you can find her making beautiful things out of yarn, found objects, and her imagination.

We’re here to make good things happen for other people.

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Picture of Written by: Leah Bryant

Written by: Leah Bryant

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