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Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

Have you ever suffered from burnout and what did you do to recover?

Asked by Earthbound_Misfit (13142points) April 3rd, 2015

I’m burned out. I had to work my bum off for four years and now I’m exhausted, mentally and physically. A major problem is I have no backup. So I never get any time off where there are no demands on my time. While my workload is reduced now, it is still pretty full-on and there’s still no backup. I did a survey online that’s supposed to determine if you’re burned out. I got 72 out of 75. I am planning a holiday in July, but I have to complete some serious work before I go. The trip involves a work activity and then I’ll be on leave. I love my work, but it’s a bit like having two full-time jobs and I’m not enjoying it much at the moment.

If you’ve been in this position, what did you do to recover? I don’t mean ‘have a holiday’ or ‘change jobs’. I am planning the holiday and I don’t want to change jobs. So what other things did you do to recover?

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8 Answers

ZEPHYRA's avatar

You will need much more sleep. Reduce other activities and spend less time on pc making up for it with quality sleep. Get in touch with nature as much as you can. Prioritize and change eating habits.

marinelife's avatar

Take enough time off to really relax and recharge. Not one week or two, but best would be 4–6. It will take two full weeks for the stress hormones in your body to clear out.

Get some balance in your life. Tell you boss that you need help.

Put an equal emphasis on the importance of your physical and mental well-being as you do on your work. Take up yoga or meditation or both.

geeky_mama's avatar

@marinelife adn @ZEPHYRA just answered exactly what I was going to say.

This is what I did when I was burnt out:

I started walking. I found it cathartic. (The walking eventually turned into running. Nothing fuels a good long run like being truly fed up by something..or angry at someone)

Then..I started to try and get more sleep and not eat crap.

Finally, I fell in love with yoga – which included some meditation and noticed it was like the human “re-set” button. I’d walk out of each class calmer, stronger and better able to cope with the daily pressures.

I also agree you need to ask for what you need. If your boss doesn’t want to lose you to burnout (and you could always go elsewhere to do the same work, perhaps even for better pay) then ask for the help by telling the boss you’re overwhelmed.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

My first job out of college was with a bank. I was an Ag Lender. I was very good at it. After five years I took over management of the department and we grew it like crazy, but with good loans, no crap. We tripled the size of the loans in that time. Only thing was being young I didn’t realize I needed down time. I worked ungodly hours and never took time off. I wore myself out. One day I came back from calls and I couldn’t hardly get out of the car. My friends said they could see I was burning the candle at both ends. I was drinking too much and pushing too hard. That’s a lousy combination. Now I take time off, really relax, and I don’t drink as much. Live healthy, think healthy and relax. We can’t live on adrenaline.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

I burned out a couple of times, but sitting on a beach reading a book was never the cure for me. I just needed to do something different. So, I think it was easier recover from burnout in the nursing profession because there are so many places in medicine to transfer to. I lasted six months to four years in different gigs. I started out on a PCU, burnt, went into community nursing (It was like All Creatures Great and Small—loved it.) but when I was afraid I was losing my skills, I got some extra certs and got on in the ER, from there to a substance abuse rehab, to the pharmacy at the health department, to a hospice, more certs and into Cardio-pulmonary research, to an alternative medicine clinic with holidays in the ER to maintain skills, back to research which was just a little too tame so I got more certs and did disasters every once in a while—bosses never complained if I was off to a flood or an earthquake—and I loved that. Couldn’t do too many disasters. I felt like Clark Kent when I finally got back to my research job again. I even left to drive a cab once. For me, that’s how I dealt with burnout.

After I turned 45, during all this, I was also going to the gym, biking, kayaking and sailing—this really helped give me energy and I was able to handle stress much better. I think that was as important as switching jobs within my field.

I’m getting better at sitting and doing nothing, just lying in a sun chair and reading. But that used to stress me out to no end.

rojo's avatar

Thinking back I have eventually burned out in every job I have ever had. My next-to-last job, after five years I took to spending lunch in the local Arboretum in order to recharge to get to the end of the day. My last job (and I was a partner in the company) both my partner and I burned out at about the same time. We just got tired of the day to day chickenshit that you find yourself buried in as a General Contractor. It took close to 20 years for this one to occur and I think that was just because we took turns pulling each other back from the brink. But when both of you are standing on the edge, ain’t no one there to hold you back.

rojo's avatar

Forgot to mention that it seems like once I master a position or job and am able to do it without thinking, then the creative process seems to cease and boredom sets in. I can live with it for a while but in every case the only way I got over my burnout was to move on and look for different challenges.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

I’m in that position right now, 60+ hour work weeks, no backup, high stress. Anyone here hiring engineers?

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