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We all get overwhelmed with life from time to time. With jobs, families, bills, and homes to take care of, it can all put a strain on anyone. But, if you are experiencing more irritability and impatience with coworkers along with less sleep and energy than normal, you could be headed towards job fatigue, also known as job burnout.
What can you do to stop it? How can you avoid it? There is no ultimate correct answer to either question and we are all different.
However, there are several habits that you can implement or adjust that can certainly help.
1. Have an Outlet, Hobby, or Activity
The ability to take your mind off your work is not an easy task for many. However, if you have a hobby or activity that you truly enjoy, this can help you do just that.
Psychology Today suggests:
Have creative outlets. Burnout interferes with your ability to perform well, increases rigid thinking, and decreases your ability to think accurately, flexibly, and creatively (Noworol, et al., 1993). Even if you aren’t able to flex your creative muscles at work, having some type of creative outlet will keep you engaged and motivated.
Maybe you like to take photographs, play guitar, draw or paint, tackle craft projects, or do woodworking. Using a creative hobby as shield against burnout is a wonderful suggestion. But if reading the latest best-selling novel or playing the most recent video game is more your cup of tea, then go for it.
The key is not necessary what you do — it is that you just do it.
To get started: Find a hobby that suits your personality. Go back to your childhood to remember what you liked. Or, just ask around as this Quora user did. There are even websites that can help you discover hobbies if you are looking for offbeat ideas.
2. Disconnect From Technology
Did you get addicted to technology even before you realized it? Now “it” follows you everywhere.
Before cell phones were part of daily life, taking your work home with you was not so simple. You had to grab all your files, pack up your briefcase, and then haul it all home to the kitchen table. But now, with laptops, tablets, and cell phones, we can access what we need digitally from pretty much anywhere. This makes it much easier to bring that work home, which is not always a good idea.
In addition to the temptation to pop open that spreadsheet or respond to that email, we are now more accessible than ever. Your boss does not have to get the physical phone book out to call you and hope that you are home. He or she can now contact you on your cell phone when you are at the supermarket or even send you a text message.
Taking the time to relax and unwind at the end of the day is crucial. And, disconnecting from technology when you do so will certainly help. Set aside some time to do this, even if it is just for a few minutes. As the Cleveland Clinic Health Essentials article on job burnout suggests:
Take breaks from electronic devices. Do this at predetermined intervals so that you are not “always on.”
To get started: A micro-habit is a painless way to begin a life tweak. Maybe, start small by going on a “phone fast.” Leave it behind the next time you go for a walk. Go analog with stuff like to-do lists.
3. Get Enough Exercise and Rest
Are you lacking soundful sleep or slacking on your exercise?
We all know that the appropriate amount of rest each night as well as regular fitness activities can keep us healthier. If you are staying up too late or avoiding that brisk walk, get back into the habit. These two activities can help you better handle stress.
The Mayo Clinic addresses several ways to deal with job burnout with exercise and sleep right on their list:
Regular physical activity can help you to better deal with stress. It can also help you get your mind off work and focus on something else.
Sleeps restores well-being and helps protect your health. Aim for at least 7–8 hours each night.
Keeping your mind and your body fit are not only good for your physical health, but your mental well-being too. And if you need a little motivation for healthier living, these apps that reward you for healthy decisions might be just the ticket.
To get started: Don’t have time for exercise? Do a Burpee or try Dr. Oz’s 7-Minute Morning Workout. There are lots of 7-minute variations to begin exercising and apps to support your new healthy habit.
4. Be Social or Talk It Out
Do you make time to hang out with friends? Do you talk to those close to you about what is on your mind?
Positive relationships with co-workers, appreciating time with your partner, and having fun with friends, can all assist you in handling the stress triggers in your life. And many times, talking to a close friend or family member can help you relax.
The non-profit organization, HelpGuide, which focuses on mental, emotional, and social health, offers this advice:
Social contact is nature’s antidote to stress: Since the face and heart are wired together in the brain, talking face to face with a good listener can help to quickly calm your nervous system and relieve stress.
Making sure that you take time to be social does not have to be difficult. Just promise not to discuss your job. Being social not only helps your emotional well-being, but lets you have some fun with people you like at the same time.
To get started: Try a weekly date with your spouse, a regular social event with friends, or an after-work bite to eat with coworkers. Go back to the new habits above this and take advantage of a hobby class or a gym.
Additional Support and Guidance
Remember, these habits are suggestions and not solutions. If you are experiencing any of these burnout symptoms listed by the Mayo Clinic and feel that you need assistance, it is advised that you contact your personal physician or mental health provider. Use it as a checklist.
You can also try this Burnout Self-Test from Mind Tools which makes it a bit easier to assess your status.
Which Habits or Activities Help You?
Are there certain things that you do to avoid job fatigue?
Maybe it is one on our list or a completely different one that helps you. Whether it is a habit, activity, or routine that you swear by, we would love to hear from you.
So, if you have suggestions that you would like to share with others, please feel free to comment below!
Image Credit: Kite_rin via Shutterstock.com