Even the most ambitious of us may feel disengaged and unmotivated some days. Disagreement between colleagues, manufacturing problems, annoying clients, tight deadlines, even gossips – there are many factors that can make a person get stressed and feel like “it’s enough.” But what if this feeling is not just occasional but sticks with you for quite a while?

How to Avoid Burnout While Building a Career

What is burnout and why you should take it seriously

The permanent low level of energy that leaves you feeling demoralized and perpetually behind is what is usually called “burnout.”  It often not only breaks your mental state but also affects your body. Headaches, backache, physical exhaustion, fatigue, sleeping troubles, nausea, diarrhea – those are few physical symptoms that can go along with burnout.

Burnout, just like stress, can affect many sides of your life – your work, your relationships with friends and family, your personal life. However, when it comes to your work career, the damage can be really dramatic. Since most of the causes of burnout are somehow work-related, your job will probably suffer the most.

You may feel irritated by your colleagues and/or your clients, get a negative attitude to work, make a lot of mistakes and even blame others for them. Once you get burnout, your dream job turns to real torture for you. The things you loved doing a few months ago, now make you annoyed.

On one hand, leaving the situation evolving further, you risk damaging your health. Some people require several months or even a year to rebuild their shattered world. On the other, leaving your job may ruin your career. The idea of leaving the job is what people think most often when they experience burnout. However, it is not always the solution to the problem.

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Stress and burnout is not the same thing

Indeed, stress and burnout are quite similar when it comes to most of the symptoms. However, they also have distinct differences.

Stress is often associated with certain problems, such as tight deadlines or changes in company structure. Even if it lasts for several days, it nevertheless goes away once the situation changes and the problem is solved.

Burnout may start without any obvious reason and tends to last for much a longer time period than stress. You may see any little trouble as a huge disaster, achievements and good results may look unimportant to you. Burnout almost always leads to poor performance and desire to quit the job.


Causes of burnout

To avoid burnout, you should pay attention to the factors that cause burnout most often. If you:

  • have unclear goals and work expectations
  • do not have enough autonomy
  • have too many stress situations
  • have to follow the job values that you don’t share
  • have to work with a dysfunctional team
  • have a lack of stimulation and recognition for your work
  • get excessive workload
  • have to perform tasks that not connected to your position,

then you are definitely in a risk group. If you do not take this situation seriously enough, you may experience burnout in the nearest future.

Also read, Finding Meaning and Motivation in Work

How to avoid burnout

So what should you do to avoid burnout?

Take a vacation

If you are already experiencing some of the burnout symptoms, you may want to take a vacation. This is actually a good decision as long as you do not want to spend it at home in front of a TV or your laptop. We would recommend you to change your daily routine to something absolutely opposite to what you have. New experience, new places, and people can help you switch your mind and let your brain and body get well-deserved rest.

Change your daily routine

While vacation is a great fast solution to a problem, it may not help you change the cause of it. Once you are back to work again, the first thing you should do is to find the ways that can change your routine. If you run your own business, you may search how to start a business website for free and start transferring your business online, so you can work from any place if needed. If you work in an office, ask to change your place or even ask for changing the department. If you cannot do any big changes, start with something small like bring the belongings that make you happy and place them on your table.

Analyze your job

If any of big changes right now is impossible on your job, try to perform a job analysis. Sometimes, having a clear list of tasks or obligations may reveal the reason why you feel so shallow. If your work is monotonous and your tasks are just a few that do not bring any challenge to your career, you may want to talk to your boss to discuss your routine. If your work, on the contrary, is overload with tasks, you may cut some out or delegate those that can be performed by your colleagues. If your work is full of unreasonable demands, this is the time to discuss the situation. Overall, job analysis can help you bring all the problems up so you can see the real reasons for your burnout.

Reduce stress

While in some cases it may be easier said than done, learning to manage stress may significantly improve your working performance and overall well-being. Even the smallest change like drinking calming tea instead of coffee may already give you some positive results.

There are plenty of techniques that can help you reduce your stress level. You may try some of the following:

  • meditation
  • “10 deep breaths” technique
  • progressive muscular relaxation
  • keep a stress diary
  • practice positive thinking
  • take regular breaks
  • keep your desk clean and organized
  • avoid multitasking


Focus only on the things you can control

One of the key moments of building a career is to know what are your strengths and weaknesses. Focus on improving your skills, take responsibilities only of the things you can control. At some point, you can influence other people or circumstances but you definitely cannot push them to follow your expectations, and therefore, you cannot control them. Let life happen.

Overall, burnout is a problem of the modern world. The phenomenon of downshifting is widespread, but you barely can find out whether people who left their career ever regret about it. If you want to achieve more, do not let burnout throw you away from your goal. However, if you feel that stress and burnout start to affect your health, it is better to ask for the advice of a specialist.