7 Tips For Managing Burnout And Re-Directing Your Energy

Posted on July 22, 2020 by Bailey Crumpton. Tagged: Resources for Candidates, For Candidates, Resources for Entrepreneurs

(Updated May 2024)

Do you find yourself sometimes thinking that work, or even this year, is just overwhelming? We hear you! It’s no easy feat to be chipper and productive after years of nonstop change and recovering from a traumatic global event. Feeling maxed-out when caring for yourself, your family, and the responsibilities of working through a pandemic is normal and common. In fact, a recent poll of over 1,200 US workers revealed that more than half of those telecommuting are experiencing burnout and work overload.

Managing burnout from work is often overlooked as only a task for people who have extra time. From our perspective, you make time for what your priorities are. This is our call to make yourself one of those priorities. We’ve put together some tips on managing burnout. These can help replenish your mind, so you are better equipped to handle everything that comes your way.

Managing Burnout Is Vital To Success

Collecting information on remote work, productivity, and burnout has been a priority for business and social research this year. We are learning more rapidly than ever how working from home impacts people’s lives, for better and for worse. Although fantastic that companies have seen their remote teams flourish, the extended nature of working from home in 2020 also has its downsides.

You’ve heard it before, if you’re not taking care of yourself, you can’t fully be there for others. Balancing projects with deadlines, a full Zoom schedule, replying to emails, and not to mention your personal life, can be quite the challenge. We navigate our daily lives with the backdrop of an extremely driven culture. Success is a product of immense dedication, work ethic, and keeping up with high expectations for ingenuity and performance.

While this holds truth, we also know that without rest and strategic self-awareness, this level of output is unrealistic. Even the Dalai Lama agrees and once said, “if you feel "burnout" setting in, if you feel demoralized and exhausted, it is best, for the sake of everyone, to withdraw and restore yourself.”

Assess Your Mental Health To Identify Key Stressors

So how do you know if you’re heading towards burnout or just having a tough week? Burnout means experiencing extended periods of chronic stress, without the roots of those stressors being addressed. Keep an eye on the signs of burnout, and assess if you need more self-care in your life.

Look For The Signs of Burnout:

  • If you feel detached from work, or disengaged with your team or the purpose of your position.
  • If you feel emotionally exhausted, or if you experience physical disruptions like lack of sleep, headaches, and other physical manifestations of stress.
  • You’re feeling a decrease in self-efficacy, or see your performance and ability to manage tasks decline overtime.
  • You’re experiencing perpetual feelings of pressure to be perfect, constantly available, and prove your worth day in and day out.

None of these feelings are comfortable, and we’ve probably all felt them to a certain extent. Be that as it may, identifying that change is needed is a great first step in managing burnout. Even brief mental health assessments can provide needed perspective about balancing work and life.

7 Ideas For Managing Stress And Getting Ahead Of Burnout

  1. We’ll start with what you know already, health is wealth. It’s worth repeating that taking breaks, drinking water, getting regular exercise, and creating a balanced diet really does enhance your body and mind’s ability to be productive and manage stress. Imagine trying to grow a house plant, then becoming frustrated it won’t bloom in the back of your closet with no light. Take the time to give yourself the fuel and energy you need.

  2. Seeking support from others can be a huge weight off of your shoulders. We all want to think we can handle everything. Truly however, we work better when we’re honest about what we can accomplish. Reaching out to your manager about re-aligning realistic expectations, goals, or deadlines to be more manageable ultimately benefits everyone. Support can come from outside work, as well. Share your concerns with family or friends you know will support you, and feel the burden being lifted.

  3. On the flip side of the seeking-support coin is standing your ground when it’s important. Especially in the tech industry, where there can be a highly demanding work culture, be firm about what you know helps you be productive. Respond to overzealous requests with realistic options, and clarify your responsibilities so you’re not taking on more than you should.

  4. Promote a change of scenery across the board when addressing burnout. This idea is multi-faceted because change can help us get out of a funk. If you’re drowning on a certain project, ask about changing your responsibilities, or to work through the challenges with someone else with a new perspective. Change can also come in where and how you work. If you can’t stare at the same wall you’ve analyzed every speck of since March, try creating a new workspace or go somewhere where you can have internet access outside.

  5. Carve out time for yourself to intentionally be offline. Zoom fatigue is real. One of the biggest work from home issues employees have reported since the pandemic is unplugging at the end of the day. We liked one idea to have your personal screen time on another device entirely, and keep work on your closed laptop. While it’s easy to jump from work emails to social media, taking a break from anything digital can be rejuvenating.

  6. Making time to be offline time relates to creating boundaries in general. Tech developers and software engineers experience some of the highest levels of burnout and working additional hours across industries. Therefore, establishing boundaries to take better care of yourself puts the brakes on an early burnout. If you’re more productive in the evening, maybe you spend time recovering from email overload every morning before diving in. Whatever works for you, schedule a time-frame for work, and when your stopping time comes, follow it. Another simple idea is to change clothes when your day is done, to signify that you are entering a new mode.

  7. Finally, one more great way to manage burnout is to intentionally make time for creativity, learning, and exploration. Working in a product-driven, competitive space can feel like there is less room for personal growth and creativity, but this does not have to be true. One developer suggests spending up to 20% of your time “goofing around” with technology, as an excellent way to combat burnout. After all, jobs, tech jobs in particular, are supposed to challenging, creative, and exciting.

Re-Directing Your Energy Towards Self-Care And Stress Management

Know you are not alone if you are experiencing burnout. In 2019, Mental Health America found that 70% of the current workforce is searching for other jobs, and roughly 50% are “checked out” of their current roles from a survey of 17,000 employees across 19 U.S. industries. This problem is ubiquitous. It reflects the need for change in our culture, which starts with more individuals and companies actively valuing mental health and work-life balance.

Also, understand that addressing burnout is not an overnight process. Chronic stress should be dealt with seriously, and undergoing changes to help yourself feel and perform better is a worthy endeavor. In the long-run, COVID-19 related stress will not last forever. Acknowledging that this stressor, among others, is temporary, is crucial to building a plan to combat feelings of uncertainty and burnout.

Here at BWBacon Group, we know and live what you are experiencing as an employer or job seeker in Denver, Boulder, Dallas, San Francisco, New York City or any of the other cities we work in. We believe great recruiting starts and ends with understanding people.

If you have any questions about living, working or playing any of the areas we serve, please contact us. We are happy to help. Seize the day, every day, that’s what we say!