As someone who works a full-time job and has a side hustle as a writer, I know a lot about burnout. I have been working as the Content Manager for a start-up company for 2.5 years. Working 40+ hours a week and spending 15+ hours a week on either writing, editing, or marketing my novel could easily lead to burnout if I let it.
Many people are currently working from home due to the coronavirus, which can make it a lot more difficult to stop working when you normally would. It’s easy to keep checking and replying to emails or messages much earlier or later in the day than you would if you weren’t working from home. But I think it’s important to take a step back and reflect on how much you’re working, your stress levels, and how that affects your mental health. Here are a few of my tips to help prevent burnout.
1. Don’t forget to relax.
As someone who works well under pressure but also puts more pressure on myself than anyone else does, I have learned just how important it is to relax. Find something that calms you down and de-stress on difficult days. Taking time to have fun and not worry about meeting deadlines or screwing things up is so important for your mental health and wellbeing.
2. Don’t be so hard on yourself.
If you make a mistake or can’t handle all the projects you’re working on, don’t beat yourself up over it. You can’t do everything. No one is perfect and if your boss isn’t okay with that, then you need a new job.
3. Take breaks.
Whether your break involves taking a mental health day from work, going on a vacation, or simply finding the time to read or watch Netflix during your lunch break, it’s essential for both your happiness and sanity. Humans aren’t meant to work all the time; we need time to recharge and de-stress.
I usually go on a walk at least once a day during one of my breaks at work. Sometimes I will work out with my husband or play Just Dance for the Nintendo Switch (which is a surprisingly good workout depending on the choreography for the song). Exercising helps clear your mind and gives you something new to focus on other than work. Exercising regularly can be a good way to release pent-up energy and stress.
5. Know your limits.
This can be tough if you push yourself a lot and don’t want to feel like you’re letting anyone down. However, recognizing how much you can reasonably accomplish in a day, week, or month is necessary to prevent burnout. Don’t let yourself take on more than you can handle.
6. Talk to your boss if nothing else is working.
Maybe your boss will be understanding and try to work something out. There could be a few projects you could pass off to a co-worker or a project you could put on hold for a while. Maybe you have too may responsibilities and your role has changed a lot since starting your job. Speaking with your boss and reminding them how many projects you’re currently working on could make them realize they’re being unrealistic with how much you can do at a time.
I hope these tips help you with preventing burnout! Let me know if you have any other tips to add to my list.