Career Woman

Stop burnout before it starts! How to stay positive in the workplace


“Burnout” – a word that inspires fear in every high achiever. But what does it actually mean to burn out? And, more importantly, what can we do to prevent it?

So, what is burnout?

Burnout is more than just feeling tired or overwhelmed. It’s a state of utter mental and physical exhaustion triggered by long-term pressure at work. Burnout is especially common in the caring professions, but it can happen to anyone.

Someone who is burned out often develops depression, anxiety, or both. They may need months off work to recover. Symptoms of burnout include feelings of hopelessness, numbness, utter boredom, and despair. If you are burned out, you may experience panic attacks, insomnia, and suffer from random aches and pains.

How can you prevent it?

Fortunately, a healthy work-life balance, good work habits, and a positive attitude can prevent burnout. Here’s how to stay positive and stop burnout in its tracks:

Remember your “why:”

Do you ever catch yourself saying “Why do I bother?” when tasks mount up at work? Stop for a moment and think about your short-term and long-term purpose. For example, let’s say you are in the middle of a tough project. Your short-term purpose might be to help your company make an awesome product. In the long-term, you might be putting in a lot of effort to impress your manager and get a promotion. If you work in a helping profession, your purpose may be to change (or save) your patients’ lives. You may also remind yourself that you are working hard because you want to buy the house of your dreams. Perhaps you also want to work to afford college tuition, or to give your kids a good life.

Draw on the wisdom of other people:

Read inspiring self-care quotes on a regular basis, and write your favorites in a diary or on a message board. Look at them whenever you need a boost.

Cultivate positive relationships at work:

You don’t have to be best friends with everyone at work. However, striking up a couple of friendships in the office can make your job a lot more enjoyable. It’s always nice to have a pal who will grab a drink with you mid-morning or sit in the park with you at lunchtime.

Value yourself:

When you value yourself, you are more likely to say “No” to unreasonable requests at work. Building healthy self-esteem allows you to appreciate your own contributions, which can renew your sense of purpose. Keep a list of your achievements and skills. Review it whenever your inner voice tries to put you down.

Plan rewards for your hard work:

You deserve more than a pay check for your efforts. Give yourself regular treats and incentives. For example, you could buy yourself a bouquet of fresh flowers on the way home after a hard week. Vacations also make great rewards, as do planned duvet days or movie marathons. Or take serious steps toward your mental health by attending a burnout retreat, in Thailand, for example.

The above tips will make your working days run much more smoothly, but remain on the lookout for signs of burnout. If you find yourself sick at the thought of going into work, or every day seems an endless slog, stop! Talk to your doctor, manager, or HR advisor. Burnout is fairly common, and help is available. With early intervention, you can start enjoying work again.

About Clara Master

Clara Masters is the energy behind and on a mission to bring massage therapy closer to those who want to live a balanced, healthy life, connecting body mind and spirit.

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