Five steps that you can take to help prevent burnout in 2023
Burnout is on the rise. That’s, sadly, a very hard truth. And with nearly half of the UK workforce close to burnout at the end of last year, it promises to be a huge ongoing issue for individuals and businesses alike.
We need to do what we can to tackle this head on, to stop that statistic in its tracks, and to do what we can to make sure that number doesn’t get any higher.
But how? By preventing burnout occurring in the first place.
Certainly not an easy feat, but I promise that it’s far easier all round to prevent burnout than it is to overcome it. So, here we explore five steps that you can take to help you on the path to preventing burnout in the year ahead.
1. Create healthy boundaries
Boundaries are really important in creating a healthy lifestyle. Key areas to look at when creating your own boundaries are: - Specific start and end work times. This helps to make sure that work doesn’t start to take over other areas of your life. - Developing healthy and mutually beneficial relationships. This supports mutual respect and helps us know what's expected in the relationship. - Saying no when saying yes will drain you further. Because saying no is sometimes the only way to maintain your boundaries. Addressing these key areas will ensure that you’re not extending yourself and causing you stress, whilst instead giving you the space to do more things that fill your cup.
2. Develop sustainable habits
This is a BIG one!
Burnout doesn’t just happen overnight. It can take months, or even years to reach this stage. That said, it can feel as if it has snuck up on you out of nowhere. But, if you look closely, you may find that there have been some signs along the way that you were walking the path to burnout.
Now for the good news.
Small changes make the biggest difference, especially in terms of managing stress and preventing burnout. So, look at the small wins that you can do day-to-day to help alleviate your stress. Think about the step-by-step approach. Some ideas to get you started could be: - Set yourself up to get between 7 and 9 hours of sleep each night.
- Get some exercise in, making sure that you meet yourself where you’re currently at physically. - Write a list of things you like to do, or things that help relieve your stress and go ahead and do 1,2 or even 3 of those activities.
- Structure ‘no phone’ times into your day. Changes don’t need to be drastic, but try to do small little things every day that help reduce your stress and increase your energy.
3. Focus on effectiveness, not busyness
We live in a society where being busy is like a badge of honour. Yet, being busy doesn’t always mean achieving our goals. When we focus on being busy, but not necessarily effective, it can really sap our energy. It also makes space for us to feel guilt and shame when we do want to/need to take a break. Instead of focussing on how many meetings we’re having, how many emails we’ve sent or how many administrative tasks we can check off our to-do list, we need to take stock of our bigger aims and objectives. When you’re looking at your goals, targets, KPIs, or anything that you’re using to monitor your desired outcomes, have a think about: What’s working? What’s not working? What are you spending most of your time on, and is it getting you closer to your goal? Is what you’re spending most of your time on the number one priority? Really understanding what you need and want to focus on and cutting down on the noise for the sake of being busy is vital to managing stress and preventing burnout.
4. Check in with yourself
What I’ve found from working with my clients (and from my own experience of burnout), is that it’s easy to ignore the symptoms. When we’re focused on our goals, our work, our relationships and so on, it can be really easy to forget about ourselves. As I’ve previously mentioned, burnout is the destination, but there’s a journey that precedes it.
A really good way to make sure that you’re not simply ploughing on is to check in with yourself. One of the best ways to do this is to ask yourself how you’re doing and to score it (truthfully!) on a scale of 0 to 10 with 0 being not great and 10 being amazing. If you’re below an 8, follow up with ‘what can I do today that will bring me closer to a 10?’ This can be a really helpful and useful exercise to dig into what you might need at this moment, and it should only take 5-10 minutes.
5. Focus on you
Comparison is the thief of joy, so don’t compare yourself to others. Instead, focus on you and where you are today, not where you used to be or where you want to be. It can be really easy to build unhealthy habits, behaviours and attitudes when we compare ourselves to other people, or different versions of ourselves (either a past or future one). It doesn’t matter if someone has built a 7-figure business in 7 months, or if the person next to you seems to be doing ‘better’. What is important is understanding where you’re starting from and moving forwards from there. And remember, if you’re physically, mentally and/or emotionally exhausted and the person you’re comparing yourself to isn’t, then it’s really not a fair comparison. So practice focussing on what you need, what you desire, and what you want to achieve.
It can take weeks, months, and even years to burn out. And it can take the same time to overcome burnout should you find yourself there. Prioritising and focussing on your boundaries, sustainable habits, effectiveness, and checking in with yourself may help to manage your stress and to prevent you reaching burnout stage.
If you are worried that you’ve already reached burnout, are concerned that you are on your way to burning out, or would value some support to re-assess your priorities, why not drop me a line. I have a limited number of 1-2-1 coaching spaces for 2023 so let’s chat to see if we gel. Book in here.