Arianna Huffington uncovered a sizable, unspoken and worrying trend about tiredness and career burnout when she googled “Why am?” It appears the whole world is googling “why am I so tired.” Burnout is striking Generation X and millennials hard. According to Market Research, a recent survey by Monster, Inc found 81% of employed job seekers reported suffering some form of burnout. If you are among the rising millennials and the new emerging class of Generation X leaders, preventing burnout is key if you want to thrive and advance your career.
Here are ten tips to prevent career burnout to keep you moving forward:
Take it. Recharge. Don’t debate it. It’s called reset. If you’re making excuses – don’t. Whether it is a couple of weeks or even just a mini-vacation, it’s essential to get distance from the office and take time to re-charge and take care of you on a regular basis. Take the time to reflect on what’s working and what is not and how to make positive changes.
Sleep. It may be stating the obvious but getting enough of it is key to keeping your energy levels high and your mind clear. Bill Clinton said every bad decision he ever made was due to lack of sleep. While most of us work through crazy deadlines at times, if you are not getting enough sleep on a daily basis, you may want to re-evaluate your schedule. Lack of sleep does more harm than good. Google is your friend on strategies here, as there’s everything from learning Vipassana to breathing techniques to a regime of ear-plugs and an eye patch or read up on what Business Insider’s Top 13 leaders do before going to bed.
Take time every day to get yourself moving. Between getting the kids to school, a hectic work schedule and other commitments that keep you buzzing around at a daunting pace, exercise may easily fall on the backburner. Don’t let it happen. Make at least 30 minutes of exercise every day a priority. It will reduce your stress levels, increase your mental clarity and keep you smiling. True story. Make it so.
What you put in your mouth has a huge impact not just on your weight but also on your energy levels, mood and mind. The chief culprits of fatigue are toxins and nutritional deficiencies. Processed foods, caffeine, sugar are all toxic. According to Dr. Oz making a few dietary adjustments can significantly raise your energy levels and improve your wellbeing. I went from suffering from extreme fatigue on an overly-caffeinated white flour high sugar, fat and meat loaded diet to a non-smoking tea-totalling vegan and feel astonishingly better. Make the transition and you’ll start to notice a significant change too.
Localize your life as much as possible. The less time you spend shuttling around from one place to another in a car can significantly reduce your stress levels. If you live in the suburbs and drive to work consider taking the train instead of driving. It will free up your mind and time to focus on something more productive than traffic jams. Apologies if your situation doesn’t allow for such an alternative, and you’re dealing with a 3-hour commute in the worst gridlock known to man.
Dry cleaning, laundry, shopping and all the other pesky errands you have to run, hand over what you can to someone else in to order to have the bandwidth to focus on what makes you happy or productive. If possible hire a personal assistant to support you or outsource. Also, utilize home delivery by shopping online as much as possible. Remember time is your most valuable asset.
Keep healthy lines of communication open between you, your boss and your co-workers. Be direct. Miscommunication is an easy way to start a snowball of trouble leading to misguided assumptions and unnecessary stress. When conflict arises try to see the other person’s point of view, it will aid you in negotiating a mutually agreeable solution. If you need help on this, hire a leadership coach for a few months until your communication habits become second nature.
Despite being hyper connected 24/7 through technology and social media, it appears the majority of people are intimacy deprived. A recent study found most people do not have a single confidante in their life. Emotionally supportive relationships are key to success. Take time to reflect on the people in your life. Weed out the unsupportive relationships and focus on cultivating positive supportive relationships.
Your career is like running a marathon; pacing yourself is vital. There will be ups and downs, zigzags and u-turns. Having someone who is further ahead of you to call upon, strategize with and get guidance from is a valuable tool in order to have a self-directed career, maintain momentum and avoid burnout.
Are you just showing up to a job everyday? Do you dread walking into the office? Are you bored? These are warning signs; it is time to take a step back and evaluate your career. Remember you are in charge. In order to be successful, you must first and foremost be passionate about what you do. Passion is magic. It is critical to create a rewarding long-term career filled with achievements and personal fulfilment. A career coach can support you in steering your development or smoothly making a transition into your next professional home.
Whenever I sense that something is not working I hear my coach’s voice saying, “If nothing changes, nothing changes.” Your future is now. Think about that for a second, and ask yourself how long are you prepared to stay doing what you’re doing, and where is it that you really want to be? Take charge of your personal and professional development and prevent career burnout.
Caroline Stokes is founder of FORWARD Human Capital Solutions. FORWARD does things differently for people in digital organisations who demand inspiring talent solutions for transformative results.