How to Bounce Back from Burn Out

Reading Facebook status updates from other Purposeful Woman both on our company page and my personal page, I find there seems to be a common thread of exhaustion, stress and frustration. I don’t know if it is weather related or seasonal but there are ways that we can take control of our feelings of burn out and turn things around in our favor.

First let’s identify the symptoms. Matt Rudmann wrote a great article entitled 10 Symptoms of High Tech Career Burnout and How to Bounce Back in which he shares this list:

How to tell if you are burned out:

  • Have you become cynical or critical at work?
  • Do you drag yourself to work and have trouble getting started once you arrive?
  • Have you become irritable or impatient with co-workers, customers or clients?
  • Do you lack the energy to be consistently productive?
  • Do you lack satisfaction from your achievements? Do you feel disillusioned about your job?
  • Are you using food, drugs or alcohol to feel better or to simply not feel?
  • Have your sleep habits or appetite changed?
  • Are you troubled by unexplained headaches, backaches or other physical complaints?
  • Are you routinely late or behind schedule with your projects and commitments?

Although the article is written from the high tech industry perspective, we can all relate to the symptoms, in fact you may have been able to name them without reading his list. 

I have a theory that burnout is about resentment. And you beat it by knowing what it is you’re giving up that makes you resentful. -Marissa Mayer 

But the most important part of his article is the next section – the “how to bounce back” section. It doesn’t make us feel any better to name our symptoms – where we can make a change in our lives is by finding out how to bounce back.

Bouncing Back from Burnout

Matt offers six suggestions, all of which are good, but I especially like these two:

Adopt a positive attitude.  You don’t have to pretend that everything is perfectly sunny, however you do need to continually realize that it’s your life and only you truly have a vested interest in its outcome.  By taking control of your own attitude and expressing gratitude, you will be able to reduce your susceptibility to burnout.

Get some support.  Friends and family members can be a source of comfort.  Your organization may have assistance programs as well.  Further, coaching services are available to help you devise a go-forward strategy with your career. 

Tai Goodwin also addressed this issue in her article 7 Signs of Job Burnout and 5 Ways to Fix It and she offers an interesting solution that will especially appeal to the actor within you!

Play A Different Role Are you the team member that organizes everything? Or are you the ad-hoc tech support person for your team? Maybe you’re the one everyone goes to when there’s a last minute crisis. Taking on a specific role within your team may have boxed you in and now you can’t get out. Whatever hat you normally wear – take it off. Changing how you engage can change how you feel about your work and your colleagues.

Lisa Gerry published an article in Forbes on the same topic and her solution is simple and yet one we rarely follow:

Unplug: While communication technology can promote productivity, it can also allow work stressors seep into family time, vacation and social activities. Set boundaries by turning off cell phones at dinner and delegating certain times to check email.

As part of that article she offers a great quiz entitled Would you Make a Better Boss Than Your Boss? Haven’t we often thought that very idea? Now you can take a quiz and find out. It may not relieve your stress, but it could be a fun exercise.

Are you feeling a sense of burnout? Are you looking for like minded people for support? Please visit our Facebook page /purposefulwomen and share your thoughts and concerns. We are a community of women who understand, have been there and have or are in the process of rising.  

You are not alone.