New Year, Same Habits?

New Year, Same Habits?

2022 is almost here! Last minute Christmas shopping is in full swing, Valentine’s Day decorations are already in store, and New Year’s “resolutions” are slowly coming together. After reading the previous sentence, you may be wondering why I put the word “resolutions” in quotations. Well, it’s simple. Many Americans set the yearly goal to resolve work-related burnout. Some even renew the goal throughout the year. Yet, even with years of trial and error, the challenge remains unresolved.

Years of not meeting your work-related burnout management/prevention goal may make you wonder if you are the problem. However, more often than not, I’ve found that my clients aren’t the problem. They have the capacity to grow and succeed. They simply are not implementing the right strategies to manage and/or prevent burnout.

It’s lucky for you (and not so lucky for me), that I’m an expert at managing my own work-related burnout – whether I implement the strategies as often as I should is a discussion that I will have with my own therapist (insert smiley face here). Below are the top 12 burnout management/prevention strategies that I try to make a habit of:

  • Remind yourself why you started.
  • Look for the positive, big or small. Burnout causes many to hyper focus on the negative aspects of their job/role. Thus, making the job/role seem more frustrating, unbearable, and stressful (which can in turn lead to more burnout).
  • Create a YOU space (even a small corner) where work is off limits. This can be a space where you reset, relax, and physically take yourself out of your work environment.
  • Schedule breaks, big or small, and stick to them. No exceptions.
  • When on break or finished working, leave your work behind. This includes conversations about work/your role. Mentally being in your role/workspace can be almost as triggering as being in your role/workspace.
  • Ask for help when it is useful and not just when it’s needed. You don’t have to do everything by yourself!
  • Work smarter and not harder. Are there people, tools, or strategies that can make things easier?
  • Practice saying “no” more often and don’t feel bad about it! Never be ashamed about setting boundaries. You can’t pour from an empty cup.
  • Eat well as often as possible. Did you know that coffee can actually cause energy reduction?
  • Know that you don’t need to spend a large chunk of your day completing a self-care or burnout management activity. Some activities (like identifying something you are grateful for, drinking water, taking a few deep breaths, or even a mindfulness exercise) don’t require more than 60 seconds of your 86400 second day.
  • Engage in a self-care activity because you like it and not because it’s trendy. If one forces themselves to engage in a form of self-care that they do not like or that doesn’t compliment them well, they may eventually develop resentment or dislike toward self-care or burnout management in general. This can also lead to avoidance (which can look like convincing yourself that one doesn’t have enough time for self-care or burnout management).

Much like new years resolutions, burnout is imbedded in American culture. We’ve normalized needing 5 expensive cups of coffee to function, working with a cold, and telling others to just “get over it.” Thankfully, you now have the tools to begin resolving years of your unhealthy habits and to prevent such habits from being passed down to the next American generation. All that’s left to do is to wait for the ball drop. Happy New Year, new you, and new us!