Overcoming a burnout: here's what you can do

Overcoming a burnout: here's what you can do

By Matylda Chmielewska

If you’ll type ‘burnout’ into your browser, you’ll get thousands and thousands of articles telling you how to recognize it’s what you’re actually experiencing and how to deal with it. Not sure if you can relate but I’ve found that I just simply couldn’t apply any of them to my daily life.

As I was reading the articles, there were a few things going through my mind:

I was determined to find out. A few of the articles also mentioned research on burnout. I was starting to discover that I am not alone in what I’ve experienced, it’s a global epidemic.

The studies confirm that burnout is becoming increasingly problematic: 2018 Gallup study shows that 23% of over 7,500 full-time employees feel burned out at work ‘always or often’, and 44% said that they ‘sometimes’ experience it. The effects are also worrying:

Source

The Gallup study also confirms that once employees start experiencing burnout, it’s very easy for them to fall into a downward spiral of taking steps to overcome burnout while not discovering and curing the root cause of it. Is there anything you can to do avoid doing exactly that?

The first step in avoiding burnout is learning how to recognize it. Let’s check it together in the next section.

How to recognize you’re experiencing a burnout

As I’ve mentioned in my last article, recognizing that you’re depleted is not always easy. Admitting that you need help is even more difficult.

So, what are some of the tell-tale signs* of burnout?

*Please note that they may be different for everyone - I’m sure that you’ll be able to spot yours from miles away once you’ve gone through a breakdown yourself.

Don’t forget that you can rely on your team. It’s not rare that they will come to you asking if you need any help before you’ll notice how drained you are. They may even dance for you:

Wish it was that easy.

Strategies for dealing with burnout

After reading the articles, I also wanted to know more real-life examples of how others have dealt with burnout.

I reached to developers on Twitter asking them for advice on how to avoid and handle a burnout. Here are some of the responses I’ve received:

Keep in mind that these recovery techniques will be different for everyone. Find things that energize you before you’ll start applying them. Here are also some of the things that work wonders for me are:

Relaxing, isn’t it?

And one more thing: recovery from a burnout does take time. Here’s how Lewis Menelaws, a lead developer at TMRRWinc has dealt with it:

Despite all of this negativity in my life, I had to keep telling myself that just like it took a lot of work to let my brain get into this state, it will also take a lot of time and work to get out of it as well.

Don’t forget that overcoming burnout may look completely different for everyone, so give yourself time and space to come back to your usual self. You can’t rush these things.

And whatever you’ll decide to do, remember that the world won’t end if you’ll take a few weeks off or decide to switch roles.

Your turn

So are there any common patterns in the articles I’ve mentioned at the beginning of this article?

Takeaways

If I’d be to leave you with some key lessons from today’s post, they’d be:

  • Recognizing your own burnout may not be the easiest task - ask your teammates for help if you think you may be experiencing one.
  • There is no cure-all solution when it comes to dealing with burnout. Find your own strategies and build up your ‘work endurance’. Aim for methods that can help you in the long run, not quick fixes.
  • Give yourself time and space to recover. It may take weeks or months, remember to do things at your own pace.

It’s easy to think about burnout as something that slows you down or even blocks you while you want to keep going.

In fact, I’ve learned to be extremely grateful for the periods in my life when I experienced burnout. These were the moments where I’ve realized there’s more to life than work. I’ve also discovered that exploring new things and going out of your rut are crucial if you want not only to become a better employee but a better person.

Have you experienced burnout? What are your tips for avoiding one? Let us know on Twitter or in r/TechLeader!