If you feel frustrated, dissatisfied, and weary just thinking about work, you could be experiencing job burnout. But you don’t have to quit your job or sacrifice the health insurance benefits it provides to cope.
Here are three ways to buffer burnout and feel better at work:
1. Prepare for Plan B. Even while working a regular schedule you can carve out time for what psychologist and burnout expert Steven Berglas, PhD, calls a “parallel career.” Design Web pages after hours. Read “how to” books on break. Take a night class, hone new skills and prepare for your dream job down the road. You’ll feel excited when you’re working toward an ultimate career goal and that will help ease the strain of your current job.
2. Take a talent inventory. Make a list of all of your character assets – those talents you use outside of work as well as in the office – and look for creative ways to put them to use. For example, perhaps the organizational skills you use at home could be applied to a project at work. Be sure to let managers know of your diverse talents and willingness to help. Added challenges and new responsibilities can often boost on-the-job satisfaction.
3. Look for fun and fulfillment. Burnout usually means you feel little job satisfaction and gratification, so find something that offers those emotional rewards outside of work and do it. Mentor a young person, or volunteer in general or skill-specific positions. Community organizations are always in need of talented, capable individuals who are willing to donate even a small amount of their time on a regular basis. If you don’t have the energy, just make time for a regularly scheduled “movie night” with a friend or two; it’ll make a difference in your weariness on the job.
When you limit your life to work, you’re at a higher risk for burnout, says psychologist Christina Maslach, PhD, a pioneer in burnout research. You’ll feel better when you incorporate different people and diverse activities to your life.