As we approach the end of the year, many of us find ourselves grappling with burnout; a pervasive sense of physical and emotional exhaustion that can affect our work, relationships, and the overall well-being.
Milliam Murigi talks to Fatma Sheriff, a counselling psychologist, who shares valuable insights on how to manage this feeling and start the New Year with renewed energy and purpose.
1. Manage the stressors that contribute to burnout
Reflect on the specific factors contributing to your job burnout. Is it excessive workload, lack of autonomy, unclear expectations, or something else? Pinpointing the stressors is the first step in addressing them. Once you have identified the thing that is fueling your feelings of job burnout, you can begin addressing the issues.
2. Adjust your attitude
If you have become cynical and overly critical at work, consider ways to improve your outlook, such as taking short breaks throughout the day, rediscovering enjoyable aspects of your work, or recognising co-workers for valuable contributions or a job well-done.
3. Put away your digital devices
Place your smartphone in a basket or drawer when you arrive home so you are not tempted to pick it up and check your email; or turn it off at a certain time of the evening. Whatever it is, it can wait until tomorrow.
4. Reflect on your year
Before diving into solutions, take a moment to reflect on your year. What were your achievements, both personally and professionally? What challenges did you face, and how did you overcome them? Reflecting on your journey can provide a sense of closure and help you acknowledge your resilience.
5. Set goals and plan ahead
The end of the year can be an overwhelming time, with holiday parties, family commitments, deadlines, and other responsibilities all vying for your attention. To avoid burnout and stay on track, it is essential to set realistic goals and plan ahead.
This means creating a detailed schedule, prioritising tasks, and breaking down larger projects into smaller, more manageable tasks.
By setting goals and planning ahead, you can hit the ground running each day and stay motivated and productive.
If you find the things you want to do don’t fit in the days left in the year, this is also a great time to reprioritise and delegate. If it would cost you your sleep or healthy habits to get
something done, you don’t have time to do it.
6. Foster a supportive workplace
If you’re in a leadership position, prioritise a workplace culture that values work-life balance and employee well-being. Encourage open communication about burnout and provide resources and support to your team. Lead by example and encourage your team to do the same.
7. Reach out for help
If you feel unable to manage end-of-year burnout on your own, it’s time to seek additional help. Support can come from family, friends, colleagues, and your employer. Another option is to seek help from a coach or mentor.
If you are an entrepreneur, you may be wearing too many hats. At that point, it’s probably time to delegate additional responsibilities so that you can relieve the pressure.
8. Disconnect and unplug
The constant connectivity of modern life can contribute to burnout. Consider taking a digital detox during your time off. Unplugging from technology can provide a mental reset and allow you to fully unwind.
9. Prioritise self-care
Self-care is not selfish; it’s essential. Lack of self-care is one of the biggest contributors to end-of-year burnout. So first, set aside mini relaxation breaks throughout the day. That could include yoga, meditation, or deep breathing exercises to put your body into a state of restfulness.
It’s also critical to prioritise sleep, exercise and healthy eating habits. If you find yourself having a stressful day, take time to go outside. Even if it’s just for a few minutes, spending time outdoors has been shown to lower blood pressure and reduce stress-related hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol.
10. Recognise your limitation
In conclusion, managing end-of-year burnout is about recognising your limitations, taking care of yourself, and setting yourself up for success in the year ahead.
Remember that you are not alone in facing this challenge, and there are strategies and resources available to help you navigate it.
By prioritising self-care, seeking support, and setting realistic goals, you can finish the year strong and step into the future with enthusiasm and resilience.