What to do When Job Burnout Strikes
Updated: Nov 3
"Most of us go through times of burnout. That is normal, especially for driven,
Passionate entrepreneurs, rising stars in Corporate America, and tech whiz kids can all suffer job burnout. Work-related stress may cost the U.S. about $300 billion per year, but the real costs are these — the personal emotional, mental, and even physical sufferings of those who are struck down by burnout at work.
If you are wishing you could quit your job and disappear, feeling extreme resentment
toward colleagues, or experiencing headaches or sleeplessness, you may be suffering
Fortunately for you, the path to recovery has been well-trodden by other sufferers
before you — and they’ve reached back with a few solutions you might try to recover
Reduce pressure by reorienting effort
If you're staying in the same job, or still running the same business or organization, you
have excessive work pressures you must reduce. But, how can you do this without
letting some of those important balls you've been juggling fall to the ground?
You could apply a simple three-step process developed by a "team of PhDs" who've
done the research for you:
1. Reorganize your goal hierarchy to see why you do what you do.
2. Reframe the way you approach (vs. avoid) your goals.
3. Rebalance the types of goals to prioritize “want-to's” over “have-to's”.
If you're dealing with several time-sensitive, mission-critical things pretty much all the
time, you might try the following task-prioritizing technique:
1. List the handful of most crucial things on your to-do list
2. Rank them by priority.
3. Write the top priority on a separate piece of paper.
4. Structure a plan of attack for this one item.
Separating your most critical item from other priorities relieves the pressure of
everything else going on, giving you a clear path forward on your top priority. Once
you’ve dealt with that one, repeat the process for succeeding items on your list.
Rest and regenerate
When was your last real vacation? Whenever it was, things are at a crisis phase in your
personal life and work priorities must be set aside — at least briefly — for those related
to personal recovery.
You will need something a bit more well-considered than just the standard vacation.
This one will likely be longer, for example. Americans have been shorting themselves
on vacation as a national trait. Experts say that five weeks a year is what’s required to
get the full measure of rest and regeneration from work. It’s important this time: go
Maximum rest means fewest distractions, and it means quiet. Choose your vacation
spot accordingly. This vacation may not be about sight-seeing or traveling at all. This
one is about getting the rest you desperately need — then regenerating yourself
Take this opportunity to . .
1. Read that inspirational book you’ve been meaning to get to.
2. Work up a diet and exercise approach for maximum health.
3. Get spiritual, developing a practice of prayer and meditation.
The vacation itself grants a life-or-death break in your work cycle. What you do during
the break may help you create a more fulfilling life for yourself.
Redefine values and goals
You've got things calmed down in terms of your to-do list, and you've taken that much-
needed rest and relaxation. Now's your chance to take a serious look at your own life
values and goals.
1. What do you value most in life: human relations, money, fun?
2. What are your long-term goals?
3. Are you on the right path?
4. What would the right path look like for you?
Psychologist Martin Seligman became famous for his PERMA model for human
happiness containing the five essential elements he believes we need to feel truly
● Positive emotions
Try applying his framework to your life and see how your emotional health and overall
Job burnout is no fun. It can cause considerable emotional and physical discomfort not
to mention a sense of being lost in the world. The silver lining in this cloud, however, is
the chance you've been given to reflect on your life. What do you want out of work?
What do you want from life? With a change in your perspective and approach, you may
find yourself going from real suffering to flourishing.
Greg Zlevor, president of Westwood International and founder of the Global Community
for Leadership Innovation, provides insights and experiences for leaders and high
potentials to help them become more valuable.
--"HOW I RECOVERED FROM BURNOUT: 12 KEYS TO GETTING BACK"
by Carey Nieuwhof, 2017.
--"Why Burnout is Dangerous And How You Can Recover From It (It’s Possible)" by
Theodora S. Abigail; toggl blog, July 16, 2018.
--"The ultimate psychological guide to burnout recovery" in Psychology Compass, 2019.
--"The Simple 2-Step Process to Recovering From Burnout" by Bryan Falchuk; Inc,
February 26, 2018.