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4 tips to help you avoid burnout at work

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Burnout is a "chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed," according to the World Health Organization. And almost half, or 44%, of workers say they feel it sometimes, per a 2018 Gallup poll.

Experts say there are three indicators of workplace burnout: feeling exhausted, feeling distant or negative about your job, and reduced efficacy. If you've started to feel any of theses symptoms, it may be time to step back and implement some burnout-fighting habits.

Here are four ways to avoid burnout before it happens:

Shut down your laptop at a set time

No matter how long your to-do list, you need to set a definitive time when you'll stop working. To avoid burnout, Erin Halper, CEO of business coaching firm The Upside, says she put boundaries in place that would make it easier to have a work-life balance: "I decided that at 5 p.m., give or take, my work whistle blows and I'm on with my kids. The phone's away, the computer is away, the emails are away."

Setting boundaries is especially important if you also have a side hustle or multiple jobs. "If you have a full-time job" in addition to a side hustle, "give yourself permission to take time off," Marguerita Cheng, a certified financial planner and chief executive officer at Blue Ocean Global Wealth in Gaithersburg, Maryland, told Grow earlier this year. Otherwise, it's easy to just keep going until you wear yourself down.

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Tips for avoiding career burnout

Video by Courtney Stith

Get a good night's sleep

One-third of people report that they are sleeping fewer than six hours per night on average, according to a study published in scientific journal Sleep earlier this year, looking at government data collected from 2004-2017. That deficit can lead to decreased productivity. That's why Allegra Moet Brantly, CEO of financial consulting firm Factora says her best preventive measure against burnout is sleeping eight hours. "I'm an eight-hour girl," she says. "And that's the one thing I will not, not get on the daily."

Some people have trouble falling and staying asleep. If that's you, creating and sticking to a sleep routine may help.

Exercise

"Whenever I feel burnt out, I go running," says Lydia Fenet, the managing director and global director of strategic partnerships at Christie's, and author of "The Most Powerful Woman in the Room Is You." "Running is kind of my meditative moment."

Working out can, in fact, reduce stress and anxiety, and decrease your odds of becoming depressed by 26%, according to a Harvard University study.

I decided that at 5 p.m., give or take, my work whistle blows and I'm on with my kids. The phone's away, the computer is away, the emails are away.
Erin Halper
CEO, The Upside

Talk to your boss

Instead of suffering in silence, schedule a talk with your boss. That's how Rakhi Voria, director of global digital sales at IBM, managed her burnout early in her career.

"I think I was pushing myself too hard to the point where it was actually starting to affect my health," she says. "I was starting to have some neck issues and all these things and seeing a bunch of doctors."

When Voria finally had a conversation with her manager about her health, though, her manager was "surprised," she recalls, and they were able to work on a solution. Voria ended up glad that she shared what she was experiencing.

Having an honest conversation might be uncomfortable in the moment, according to relationship psychologist Lisa Marie Bobby, clinical director of Growing Self Counseling & Coaching in Boulder, Colorado. But being authentic and open "almost always" leads to a stronger relationship, she says.

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