Tuesday, July 19th, 2016
Even if you love your job, it’s common to feel burnt out from time to time. It could be that your home life is taking up more of your energy than usual. Or maybe you’re just bored. What’s the best way to recharge? Are some forms of rejuvenation better than others? How do you know if what you’re feeling is ordinary burnout or something else, like chronic dissatisfaction?
Burnout is the mental and physical exhaustion you experience when the demands of your work consistently exceed the amount of energy you have available. We’re surrounded by devices that are designed to grab our attention and make everything feel urgent. There’s a lot of pressure in this 24/7 cycle and it can lead you to feel lethargic, stressed, and depleted — literally spent.
So you need to find ways to “put gas back in your tank.”
To perform at your best over the long term, you need regular opportunities for restocking your mental energy. Take a walk or go for a run. It’s often in the intervals between thinking really hard about a problem and then stepping away that solutions becomes apparent.
Take your breaks at the right time. When your energy is highest – often in the morning – you should focus on work and maximize your productivity. Tackle your toughest challenges at those times. Then step away for a rest.
One way to recharge is to schedule restorative experiences that you look forward to. Making plans to play tennis with a friend or cook a meal with your spouse compels you to focus on an approach goal (doing something pleasurable) instead of an avoidance goal (not checking email). Approach goals are often easier and more enjoyable to achieve.
Summing-up: Doing an activity you find interesting is better for you than simply relaxing. Try to engage in something challenging — like a crossword or game of chess. Even though it’s difficult, it will give you more energy. Challenge yourself, even during downtime