9 Pathways to Burnout and How to Avoid Taking Them

Feeling burned out?

These days, there are many more ways to end up feeling spent than just overworking. Look out for symptoms of burnout which may include a lack of focus, decreased concentration, increased general anxiety, lingering fatigue, and problems with sadness and/or lack of motivation.

You may feel like the more you work, the better off you are in your career, but there’s a point where the benefits depreciate, just like the diminishing returns concept.


9 Pathways to Burnout: How to Avoid Them

If you have a number of these symptoms and are interested in getting to the bottom of your burnout, please consider the following culprits for your current state of being.


1) Working Too Many Consecutive Hours

In our attempt to be productive, we often make the mistake of believing the more time we put in, the better. Rearrange your thinking and your schedule and make sure you schedule shorter work periods and significant breaks in between those work periods.


2) Neglecting to Diversify

When we have an important project it becomes easy to focus on that one project to the exclusion of all other things.

That singular focus can be a blessing. Of course, it can also be a real curse. If you find that your sole focus on one project is draining your creativity, change it up, add something just so your brain can get a break.

You may specifically want to choose something that involves helping out another person, which will help re-balance your outlook.


3) Forgetting to Enjoy

When we learned how to work, we were taught to maintain our focus and to put away ideas of play.

What can get lost in this way of learning is the joy of learning, the joy of working, and the joy of creating. Even if your project is daunting, try to find the piece of it that brings you joy. Who will benefit from the project when it is done? How might your life be better when it’s finished?


4) Over-Focusing On How You Feel

If we pay too much attention to how we are feeling during a difficult time or work period we may hamper our capacity to push the work through to the finish line. Observe how you feel. No need to deny your feelings.

But do remember the feelings you have upon completing your work will restore you to your happier self.


5) Perceiving Yourself As Not Being In Control

When we think of ourselves as being a worker serving someone else’s needs, it becomes easy to fall into a rebellious stance.

We push back instead of pushing forward. We might resent what’s ours to do. Change the emotional picture by envisioning yourself as the one in control — even if it’s only of your own actions. Regaining that sense of your own power will help you get through your tougher moments.


6) Letting Stress Mount

We allow stress to mount when we follow the cycle of our inner anxieties. We forget that talking to other people and sharing what’s on our mind eases our stress. We forget that we are not alone.


7) Taking On Too Much

One of the fastest ways to burn out is saying “Yes” to everyone around you and to every project offered to you. We all have limits.

We can only take so much. Know your limits. Look at your calendar right and check your reaction to it. Does it bring your stress? Or does it seem well-structured and sane? If you are over-scheduled, make a deal with yourself to say “No” to all new projects for one month or until your schedule opens up.


8) Feeling Responsible For Too Much

This category is related to the one about over-scheduling oneself.

But this category deals with the emotional weight of feeling responsible for taking care of everything in your zone of functioning. Not everything is up to you. Not everything rests on your shoulders. If you feel like everything does, then it may be time to seek professional help or some other type of effective support.


9) Wanting to Impress

Wanting to impress others is a never-ending game and a fast track to burnout.

There’s always another project. There’s always another person. There’s always another spin on things. Get out of the impressiveness game as soon as you can. Instead of trying to impress, focus instead on doing work that works.


Remedies for burnout are many. Find the right mixture of them for your own recovery.

Take action to take care of yourself as soon as you can do it. Look for what action will get you the most effective relief from your exhaustion and stress. Stop being the hero and running yourself into the ground. You’ll be very happy you did.

Know any other pathways to burnout? Leave a comment below.

You May Also Like