If there’s one thing that Americans know how to do really well, it’s overwork themselves. In fact, a 2014 poll from Gallup revealed that Americans work some of the longest hours per week of any group of workers in the developed world. The precise figure was 47 hours per week, which is far higher than the 35 hours worked in countries like Germany and Sweden. Not only are Americans working much more than the rest of the world, they’re also getting burnout much quicker too. So, how do you heal from burnout?
Taking pride in your work isn’t a bad thing, but if you begin to exhibit central tendencies of burnout—forgetfulness, irritability, depression, tiredness or fatigue—then it’s probably time for you to reassess your relationship with work and take the necessary steps to invest more in your mental and emotional wellbeing. For our first “Wellness Wednesday” feature, we’re breaking down the best tips to help you heal from burnout.
Recognize the Problem
The truth is that we can’t address what we fail to see or understand. Our society places a huge emphasis on creating a culture that’s all about going nonstop and doing whatever it takes to be successful, that as a result, we’ve created a distorted view of what success actually means and looks like. We see tiredness or fatigue as signs that someone is working hard—rather than as an indication that someone might in fact be working too hard.
Some of the key signs of burnout are: difficulty concentrating, losing sight of yourself, feeling a lack of motivation to work, general frustration and irritability, unexplained muscle tension, fatigue and even insomnia.
Address the Source
People are generally pretty busy in their day-to-day lives—especially if they are a part of the demographic that’s balancing work, family and a social life. It’s a lot to manage, so the source of the burnout could realistically be stemming from anywhere, not just work.
If you find that you’re unmotivated or uninspired in one particular facet of your life, chances are that this can be regarded as the primary source of your burnout. Identifying it will allow you to make necessary adjustments to ensure that you can reassess your relationship to this particular area of your life.
If you feel that you’re collectively burnt out and overwhelmed in trying to manage a number of different things in your life, then you might be forced with the decision of having to eliminate some of these things. While we are fortunate enough to live in a day and age where it’s absolutely possible to do it all, that doesn’t mean that you necessarily should.
Talk About Your Burnout
Sometimes admitting something is the first step on the road to recovery. Articulating your pains or frustrations to people that you trust allows you to be vocal and open up about your struggles, lean on others for support, and ask for accountability in ensuring that you get the help that you need.
If the culture that we’re currently living in is an indication of anything, it’s that you’re probably far from alone in your struggles with burnout. Having solid support systems around allows you to all heal for the better.
Practice Self-Compassion & Prioritize You
It’s always interesting to me that in American culture, we regard success as what we achieve outwardly, rather than what we overcome internally. Sometimes the greatest obstacles or challenges that we face are a result of our own personal voices and demons. Getting a hold of your relationship with yourself is the most important step in ensuring that you maintain a steady road to recovery.
When you’re attempting to heal from burnout, be gentle with yourself and pay attention to the language that you use when speaking about yourself. Degrading words or language can contribute to you feeling more isolated or misunderstood. And the reality is that everyone confronts issues with burnout eventually. It’s less important what led you to this state, and more important how you decide to address it moving forward. You can’t be your best self or do your best work if you aren’t investing just as much time into self-care and preservation, as you are your job or career.
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Article written by Kyley Warren. Warren is the assistant editor of Green Living magazine.