How to Bounce Back After Workplace Burnout (and Take Care of Yourself)

March 10, 2020
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I jammed my hands underneath my pillow and pressed my body into my mattress. My body ached, like I hadn’t stopped moving for years. I felt deprived of motivation and energy to get up out of bed. I reached for my phone on my nightstand and Googled the word “burnout.”

Burnout: a psychological term that refers to long-term exhaustion and diminished interest in work. Burnout: the result of chronic occupational stress.

According to a 2018 study, 23% of employees reported feeling burned out at work very often or always. Burned out employees are 2.6 times as likely to leave their current employer and 13% less confident in their performance. It’s little wonder the World Health Organization recognized burnout as an “occupational phenomenon.”

I accepted my burnout in the summer of 2013 and experienced my first recovery process at that time. It was pretty intense. Since then, whenever I feel myself getting close to my burnout line, I stop what I’m doing to recharge immediately. It’s much easier to stay in the magical flow of life and in my “happy place” when I allow myself the space and time to stop and recover. 

If this feels like you, then read on for some of my tips for how to recover from job stress when burnout strikes.

Meditate 

Sit in a quiet room for 20 minutes and focus on your breathing. Meditation is known to reduce anxiety. In a report published in the 2013 edition of Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, researchers found that meditation reduced anxiety ratings by as much as 39%. 

Communicate

It helps to connect. Old friends are like corner puzzle pieces. Find them. Catch up and let them know how they can support you through this time. 

Write 

Writing can be used as a way to release all the emotions you’re experiencing right now. Make a list of everything you’re burdened by. Can you connect the burden to the emotion? This will help you identify what in your life you should examine more closely at a later time. Put the list away and revisit suggestions one through four. 

Take a Dip 

If you can, opt for a swim in the ocean. Let the tide carry away every tired cell within your body. Let the healing properties of the salt water lift your energy. If you can’t get near an ocean, go and buy sea salt at the grocery store. Put a cup of sea salt in the bath tub and sit in it for 15 minutes. 

Move 

The Anxiety and Depression Association of America states that even five minutes of aerobic exercise can elevate and stabilize moods and decrease overall levels of tension and stress. Try some yoga, go for a walk, do some cardio or just turn on Lizzo and dance around your living room to increase your mood.

Power Down 

Turn off all electronics for as many hours as you can and watch old comedies that make you laugh uncontrollably. By disengaging from technology, we reprogram our habits and create boundaries with our work. 

Laugh

If turning off your tablet or phone is too uncomfortable for you at first, watch YouTube videos that have nothing to do with your day job. Laughter is honestly one of the best remedies. It can lead to crying, which is also really good for you. Let your body laugh until you cry.

Play 

We’re told to go outside and play as kids. Playing increases our mood, brain function, reduces our stress, and shifts our moods. Head to your nearest amusement park and get yourself a ticket. Tap into your inner child and remember what it felt like to not work so hard. 

Try Essential Oils

I became a huge fan of essential oils during my burnout phase. Lavender is my favorite for stress reduction. Dabble a few drops of lavender on your wrists and let your body rest.

Practice Gratitude 

According to The Greater Good Science Center, grateful brains show enhanced activity in two primary regions associated with emotional processing, interpersonal bonding, and rewarding social interactions. Practice being grateful and your relationships will improve, giving you more playtime and better communication! 

Happy recovering! Your body will love you back for getting rid of burnout. Mine did.

 This was originally published on Shine—a daily messaging experience to help you live your best lifeon February 4, 2019 and has since been updated.

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