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Combatting and Recovering from Burnout

For many, burnout has been stigmatized. This has left more than half of Canada’s workforce battling burnout and its adverse effects silently and alone. Today, we will discuss tools you can mobilize to combat burnout and promote recovery! 

Imagine this!  

You’ve been putting in the work and finally land the job of your dreams. You start with a pep in your step, ideas flowing, gratitude spilling over, and ready to get down to business. Three months later, you find yourself riddled with exhaustion, dreading work each morning, and doubting the meaningfulness of your contributions. If you find yourself thinking “I’ve been there before!” or “OMG! This is exactly what I’ve been feeling!”, this blog post is for you. 

What is Burnout? 

Let’s start with the basics! Burnout is an occupational phenomenon and workplace epidemic that leaves workers physically and emotionally drained from long-term, unchecked stress.  

Do you find yourself experiencing most or all the battles below? 

  • Waking up with an immediate anxiety or worry about the workday ahead. 
  • No longer feeling excited, motivated, or passionate about your work. 
  • Constantly feeling overwhelmed or overworked with all the tasks on your plate. 
  • Feeling hopeless or uninterested in your career journey or current work. 
  • Being less patient, more irritable, and unexpectedly negative with co-workers. 

If you answered “yes” to any of the statements above, keep reading! We have 4 ways for you to recover from burnout and proactively prevent it. 

Recovering from burnout must be an intentional act because if it goes unchecked, it will only get worse. Not only will your career suffer, but your emotional, mental, and physical health will be at stake! 


Handling Burnout  
1. PTO! PTO! PTO! 

A great way to avoid burnout or recovery from it is to use the paid time off (PTO) that we are given each year! This is a great way to completely unplug from work, rejuvenate, and determine how to bring some vacation joy back with you to work.  

As you read this, are you shaking your head and telling yourself “I can’t take a vacation with my workload!”? No problem! Let’s check out a few ways we can set ourselves up for a truly unplugged vacay: 

  1. Give Ample Notice. This will allow your manager, your team, and/or department to put checks in place while you are gone. This will minimize your stress, allow you to unplug, and you can return to work without feeling entirely overwhelmed. 
  2. Lay Down Boundaries. Use reminders or a countdown to your vacation to keep your team in the loop. This reminds your team to set themselves up for success before you leave and informs them when you will be unreachable.
2. Identify the “why” 

Before making changes to your routine, behaviours, or work situation, some reflection may be required to identify what caused you to feel the effects of burnout in the first place!  

A few great ways to pinpoint the “why” include: 

  1. Cost-Benefit Analysis. Take a few minutes to jot down what you love about your job and what you dislike. Resentment you feel towards your job or an aspect of it can shed light on the source of stress and what’s causing feelings of burnout. 
  2. Stress Diary. If you’re feeling drained, down, or severely irritated, take 10 minutes every day to journal and reflect on your workday. This is a great way to identify patterns of stress if it’s not apparent at first glance.
3. Reassess your career goals

Sometimes, the source of our stress is our current work environment or role! When your duties, day-to-day, or contributions do not align with your values and long-term career goals, burnout can occur.  

If this is the case, it’s time for a little bit of reflection and action planning. You will want to: 

  • Identify you values, personal mission statement, and development goals. 
  • Outline what your responsibilities are or areas for growth in your role. 
  • Establish actions you can take to actively tie your values and mission to your current position.
4. Let’s get proactive

The best way to avoid burnout from occurring and/or prevent it from returning is being proactive! By being proactive, you eliminate the threat of tasks piling up over time and set yourself up for success rather than burnout.  

Here are some best practices to keep in mind to remain proactive: 

  1. Plan ahead and set goals. If you’re feeling behind, this will help you stay on top of your workload. Planning and setting goals will allow you to set expectations for yourself and create deadlines so that you can hold yourself accountable. 
  2. Create a master project list with daily to-do tasks. Making a full list of all the active projects you have on the go will help you visualize and prioritize your workload. On the everyday level, creating bite-sized and actionable tasks lead to the completion of bigger projects in a manageable way. 
  3. Be curious and ask questions. Proactive individuals will gather as much information as possible and identify patterns in order to find areas for improvement before becoming too overwhelmed. Burnout avoided! 
Additional Resources 

Check out our other relevant blog posts for more tips on how to avoid burnout and stay productive while maintaining a healthy work-life balance! 

  1. Dealing with Zoom Fatigue 
  2. How to Stay Productive While Working from Home 
  3. Facilitating Workplace Boundaries