Dealing With Burnout At A Job You Love

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Ainsley Lawrence is a freelance writer from the Pacific Northwest. She is frequently lost in a good book when she is not writing about how technology impacts our everyday health and wellness.

While some people dread going to work every day, many employees absolutely love their job and wake up feeling excited for each new day. It is amazing when you love what you do, but your passion can quickly turn to burnout even if you don’t consider your job to be work. 

Yes, it is possible to experience burnout at a job you love. It typically happens because you enjoy your position so much that you have trouble separating your personal life from your work environment. Let’s talk a little about this phenomenon, how you can use self-care and the benefits your company offers to avoid anxiety and burnout.

Understanding Burnout

While most of us sometimes feel stressed at our jobs every now and again, sometimes, you may not realize that you are experiencing burnout until it completely takes over your life. It is important never to reach that point. In essence, burnout is often defined as extreme exhaustion. At work, that can mean you leave for the day feeling overly tired and unmotivated to see your family or do things you love. You may also wake up feeling immediately defeated and lack the motivation to get out of bed. 

Yes, these feelings can happen even if you really love your job, and no occupation is off-limits. Sometimes your burnout can instead manifest itself as compassion fatigue, which nurses and other healthcare professionals often feel. Essentially, when nurses try to help and heal patients every day, they can get so invested that the nurse can absorb the pain and hurt that their patients feel. The symptoms of compassion fatigue are similar to those of burnout and can include irritability and depression. Most medical professionals love their jobs but can still experience issues if they don’t manage their stress.

Burnout often occurs because we become so engaged with our jobs that we have trouble disconnecting at the end of the day. That is why the first step you need to take is to set your “end of day” in stone and never work past that time unless it is a rare circumstance. Meeting that goal may mean organizing your day differently so you can complete all of your tasks by the end of the shift. Then, once you are done at work, you need to avoid the distractions that can pull you back into your job. That means turning off the computer, keeping your work phone at your desk, and putting on your “out of office” message so you won’t be disturbed. 

If necessary, talk to your manager before setting your hours so you can ensure that you are staying in compliance with your job.

Take Advantage Of Your Benefits

Now that you are leaving on time, you need to take advantage of the great benefits that your amazing job provides. The most basic benefit you need to take advantage of is the two breaks and the lunch you are allowed daily. Avoid the temptation to skip or work through your breaks because when you don’t stop and give your mind time to rest, you will not only feel that fatigue sooner, but your job performance could also suffer.

If your company does not set your break and lunch times, create your own schedule and set alarms so you never miss them. Then, when they arrive, make it a point to get up and walk away from your desk. Breaks are great for a walk around the block so you can get some fresh air and clear your mind. You can head to the park for lunch or sit outside and have a healthy meal. Foods like yogurt and brown rice are good for you and provide your body with natural energy so you can get through the day.

You also need to take advantage of your sick time and vacation days. When we love our job and have a good work ethic, it is easy for us to want to come to work every day, even if we aren’t feeling well. However, if you are sick and you still go to work, you are not doing yourself any favors, which could lead to your overall exhaustion.

Young woman relaxing in the swimming pool with copy space

It is also common for some people to avoid vacation because they don’t feel like what they do is really work, but it is important that you use the time afforded to you and get away every once in a while. Aim to take at least two trips per year and go somewhere new where you can relax and really enjoy your time away. Some people choose to stay at home during their vacation to spend time with their families and just chill out. That is also a great idea, but make sure you keep all work devices off and avoid the desire to check your email.

Practice Self-Care

Although you may feel like your job is your life, your health needs to be the priority. When you take care of yourself outside of work, you will perform better while you’re on the job and can fight the potential for burnout. 

For instance, sleep matters when it comes to your mental and physical health. Getting seven to nine hours of sleep every night is important because that is how your body and mind heal themselves after a long day so you can wake up feeling refreshed. Avoid the temptation to pull all-nighters at work because your productivity will decline, and you’ll feel sluggish and exhausted.

Related: Rest, Relaxation and Rejuvenation – Why Sleep Matters

Focusing all of our energy on work can also lead our personal lives into disarray, and losing control of any part of your life can result in burnout. Take the time you need to organize and declutter your house. When your home is a mess, it is easy to feel stressed because subconsciously, we feel like we are losing control of our surroundings. If you realize that you need to declutter your home, take it room by room and consider donating any items you haven’t used over the last year, especially your clothes.

Ultimately, the best way to avoid burnout is to compartmentalize your life so you aren’t focusing exclusively on work. Instead, take the time to enjoy the hobbies you love, spend time with family, and clear your mind wherever you get the chance, and you can continue to love your job without putting your health at risk.

You might also be interested in: The 9 Comfiest Office Chairs For Any Office [Or Home Office]

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