By: Heather Taylor
Like the dreaded f-word—failure—there’s another word that is increasingly coming up in cubicle conversations everywhere: burnout. Whether you’re a senior editor or staff writer, day after day of nonstop emails, pitching, editing, writing, proofing, lather, rinse, repeat can easily lead to an explosive burnout.
Luckily, Ed understands that burnout is truly an uninvited guest when you love the work you do. Prepare to keep calm and get your Mindfulness app on. It’s not quite the end of the world as we know it – if you think you might be headed for burnout, here’s what Ed’s editorial pals advise doing next.
1) Step back & access the situation.
This is the moment where exiting the editorial field for a job that looks a lot less complicated (like a barista or garbage collector) sounds incredibly appealing. Rather than throw in the towel, take a moment to step back and hone in on what’s really causing your feelings.
Kelly Phillips Erb, Senior Editor at Forbes Media, says that nobody can fix a problem when you don’t know what it is. “It’s important to first figure out why you feel like you’re burning out. Is it the hours you’re working? The people you’re working with? The lack of a challenge? Once you figure that out, you can work on a solution.”
2) Talk to your boss.
Once you’ve hammered out what your pain points are, Kat Lapelosa, Social Media and Content Strategy Consultant at SheKnows Media, advises trying to restructure your position to alleviate them.
Of course, savvy whippersnappers know that changing your role means speaking with your manager about it. Don’t be intimidated! As Lapelosa notes, your boss might not be aware of how you’re feeling, but he or she could provide ideas to help out.
If talking to your boss doesn’t work, Krista Gray, freelance writer and owner of GoldSpace.co, suggests discussing the issue with colleagues to express how you’re feeling—and maybe even ask for help. “Try to come up with a solution that either gives you greater balance or more manageable responsibilities.”
3) Turn off your notifications. Now.
You know what’s even better than being plugged in? Disconnecting.
If email fatigue has got you down, Lapelosa recommends turning off notifications on your smartphone for any work-related apps. “It’s really important to set boundaries; there’s no reason for employees to work after hours unless they passionately feel the need to do so.”
By implementing a “no work email on my phone” policy, Gray agrees that disconnecting for even an hour a day is successful. If a client or collaborator needs to get in touch, suggest that they call or text you instead.
4) Get moving & be mindful.
Time to nurture the mind, body, and soul, which tend to get neglected when you spend the better part of the workday sitting and staring at a screen. Schedule in daily exercise, whether that means going for a long walk, hitting up a barre class, or taking yoga to decompress. Give your brain a healthy workout of its own by downloading a meditation app, like The Mindfulness App, and becoming a bit more present in the day-to-day.
Sari Tuschman, Editor-at-Large at The Zoe Report, also encourages making time to do what you love, whether that means traveling with friends, taking a cooking class, or even blogging as a side hustle. “If your entire life is work, you’re bound to burn out quicker than if you find time for your life as well.”
5) Don’t be scared to jump ship.
Erbs, who worked for years as a tax attorney, realized that the parts of the job she enjoyed most were tied to writing, especially breaking sophisticated tax and finance concepts into bite-sized pieces. She made the transition into writing for Forbes and now finds that her happiness at work spills into her personal life.
Figuring out what you want for yourself, especially what will make you happy, takes time. And sometimes that means starting from the ground up. “I often suggest that people intern first if they are seriously considering making a career change. That may seem odd, but it’s important to test the waters before diving in.” Tuschman says.
What about side hustles? Lapelosa suggests that anyone who might be burning out acquire one or two smaller gigs to help your mind refocus. She also adds that if you find yourself looking forward to side-hustle work more than your full-time position, it might be a sign that your career is ready for a new trajectory.
We won’t lie to you—sometimes you burn out and no amount of exercise, apps, or conversations can bring you back. Rather than see it as a sign that you (f-word alert!) failed, fill the glass half full instead. Burning out can actually be a welcome change of pace that can lead you onward and upward in your career.
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