Ways to Combat Burnout at Work

If you’re suffering from burnout at work, or if any of those symptoms sound familiar to you, there are a few things you can do now, before you get some time off to recover. (Although you should definitely consider some time off to recover, if you can.)

• Focused breathing, which can tap into your parasympathetic nervous system to help you reduce or manage stress.

• Frequent breaks, preferably five-minute breaks for every 20 minutes spent on a single task, or sitting at your desk.

• Ergonomic chairs and desks, like a sit-stand arrangement, or even a small plant in your office space.

• A trusted mentor at work with whom you can discuss and strategize other ways to deal with work-related issues.

• A hobby outside of work through which you can decompress, de-stress and dissociate from work. It doesn’t have to be anything specific, but regular exercise or another fitness activity works wonders here, and has benefits beyond stress relief.

If you have the ability to work remotely, that’s another great way to add stress-reducers to your life. Periodically working out of the office enables you to try working from a quiet and contemplative space in which creativity may grow. It could also allow for more time outdoors. But broadly speaking, Dr. Maslach said, it is the human connection that’s most effective at combating burnout.

“What we found is that people’s health, well-being, everything in life, is way better if you’re connected with other people,” she said. “That social network, that each of you have each other’s back, that they’re there for you and you’re there for them, that’s like money in the bank. That’s a precious, precious resource.”

Jason Lang is the team leader of Workplace Health Programs within the C.D.C. He says that aside from good diet, exercise and sleep, there’s one surefire way to combat general malaise, job dissatisfaction, low morale and burnout.

“Laughter,” he said. “Find some humor in daily life.”Laughing

Reprinted from the NYTimes, 9/6/17