10 tips on overcoming job burnout

Burnout is inevitable in any career; overcoming it is the hard part. Here are some tips on the best way to work through it.

I always love this time of year, as the leaves turn autumn colors, football season is in full swing, and we gather together with friends and family to pause and give thanks for our blessings.

As we approach the holidays and New Year, our work schedules do not let up. Having to work holidays and missing family functions can put anyone in a grumpy mood. Court subpoenas, training, and mandatory overtime are upon us. Working overtime to afford holiday gifts is on our minds. Catching colds, feeling run down and tired is not helping. Having fewer days off pushes us to our limits.

Several times during my career, unfortunately, I have faced job burnout. Truthfully over the past few months, I have felt some job burnout. Burnout happens to the best of us. Nothing steals productivity or morale faster than feeling overworked, stressed or tired.  We must combat it as best as we can.

Sometimes job burnout is a slow let up, but realizing it is normal and will pass is half the battle. Somehow it always ends but I have learned from my experience and from asking my coworkers that by focusing on the little things in life is what makes a difference coming out of job burnout.  

1. Mix up you routine. Sometimes just making a change in your schedule can help. Altering your schedule or mixing up your routine may help with the burnout.

2. Live life day by day. Take each day as it comes. Do not think too far in advance and focus on your results each day.

3. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Change what you can and accept what you cannot. Whether this applies to your busy schedule or something else, just accepting things can take stress away. You may be spending a lot of energy worrying, complaining, or dwelling constantly.

4. Take care of yourself physically and mentally. Get as much sleep and rest as possible. Fatigue is another symptom of job burnout. Eat a well-balanced healthy diet for energy. Do martial arts. Run or do yoga.

5. Take 15 minutes a day to relax. Find what works best for you to disconnect from the world. Take a 15-minute hike. Go to the gym. Find a quiet place and read a magazine. Work on a hobby. Listen to music. Turn off smartphones and tablets.

6. Reward yourself and take time for you. Stop at the coffee shop before work to relax or meet friends there to decompress before work. Get frozen yogurt. Buy a new book or magazines for downtime. Find something small that treats you in the smallest of ways because positive reinforcement is a good technique helping job burnout

7. Focus on the positives in your life and things you are grateful for. Write down a list of things that you are thankful for. Put it in your backpack and look at it when at work. Or keep a favorite family picture or favorite vacation spot image to look at.

8. Fight lack of motivation, disengagement, and isolation. Work hard to not disengage at work. It is easy to want to be lazy or ignore things, but fight from doing that. Do not let burnout take away your work ethic. You will feel good to be able to fight through how you are feeling by having self-control and patience to do what you need to do.

9. Put off tasks that can wait. Prioritize tasks or items on your to-do list that can wait. Let things slide instead of being under pressure to get everything done. Complete the most important tasks or those things that cannot wait.

10. Plan mini-vacations. While we all want to go on that weeklong vacation, this time of year does not allow this. Plan an overnighter or day trip to get away. Go somewhere local or within a few hours from home.

Job burnout can be for many reasons and happens in every job. This list shows some of the small things that we can do to combat job burnout or come out of it once it finds us. Feeling irritated or frustrated is no fun and being in a law enforcement environment makes life even more challenging. We owe it to ourselves to stay safe and be our best mental and physical self we can be. We must act before it is a problem that affects our health or moods in the long term. Job burnout is our wake-up call to make some changes to regroup, recharge, and unwind.

What have you done to overcome job burnout when it set in? 

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