Job burnout can happen to anyone; no one is immune. Hitting the point where you dread going to work, are exhausted by the emails, and are frustrated through the meetings is more common than you may think.
Mayo Clinic defines job burnout as “a state of physical, emotional, or mental exhaustion”. There are some professions for which job burnout is more common, such as being a surgeon, lawyer, or paramedic; these were some of the top-ranked most stressful jobs by U.S. News.
But, anyone in any profession can suffer from job burnout. So, how can you prevent it?
1. Choose the Right Profession
This may seem obvious, but choosing the right profession is not a one-size-fits-all scenario. The “right” job depends on the person, their likes and dislikes, and their natural talents. There is usually not a single list of the right jobs because it depends so heavily on an individual’s personality.
Taking a personality test, like the big 5 or MBTI, can give you some insight into which jobs might be well-suited for your personality. There is also trial and error.
If you are already on a career path and don’t feel it’s the right path, consider a transition. Envision the type of environment you would enjoy. Do you prefer desk work or moving around? Do you prefer working alone or working in a group? These details add up to job satisfaction.
2. Work-Life Balance
Another factor to consider with job burnout is your balance between work and life. The careers listed previously as high-stress, high-burnout jobs all have poor work-life balance. Clearly, this is a good indicator of job burnout.
This balance may be slightly different for everyone in terms of hours at work versus hours at home, but you need to decide what is ideal for you and your situation. Your commute should be lumped in with hours at work as well, and this is one variable that you may be able to manipulate more easily than your actual job. If a long commute is taking too much time away from your home life, consider moving closer to your work or working closer to your home.
If full-time is too many hours at work, pitch the idea of a job share to your boss. Or, ask if you can reduce your hours or work at home more. Be creative until your ratio for work-life balance is met.
3. Reduce Stress
Much of job burnout comes from too much stress at work. Regardless of the source, you should try to reduce your stress if you want to prevent burnout. It may be swapping offices to have a more compatible officemate, reducing your workload by enlisting someone’s help, or taking breaks to go for a walk outside.
Often, stress is a choice and a mindset. It is far easier to allow stress to take over than it is to consciously handle, reduce, or avoid stress. You need to practice healthy coping mechanisms, such as deep breathing, stretching, massage, and exercise. If not, you will develop unhealthy coping mechanisms, such as overeating, drinking alcohol, and other reckless behaviors.
At the top of the list for reducing stress is keeping a focus on diet and exercise. These factors affect your mood and your interpretation of stressful events. With a healthy diet and routine exercise, you may not need to reduce your stress as much.
Job burnout doesn’t have to happen to you. Preventing burnout is far easier than dealing with the repercussions of experiencing job burnout.