Burnout is all-too common amongst creative professionals, especially in the tech industry. I’ve experienced first-hand how detrimental it can be for your health, relationships, and the perception of your work; even your intentions. What also makes burnout frustrating is that it’s largely self-inflicted and avoidable, yet it’s still uncommon for corporate culture to educate and incentivize healthy lifestyle choices and provide support when people need it most. Fortunately, there are many things you can do to recover from burnout and prevent it from happening in the future.
1. Talk to your manager
The greatest advocate you have is yourself. Let your manager know what you’re going through and be proactive in suggesting what you need. Your manager is there to help you, but can’t read your mind.
2. Overemphasize communication and collaboration with co-workers
Not everyone around you will know what you’re going through, and therefore your co-workers’ perception of your work and commitment may change. The quality of your work may not change, but your output will inevitably decrease. One way to overcome a negative shift in perception is to increase how much you communicate and collaborate. Increasing your visibility will fill in the gap where you’ve decreased output and soften or eliminate perception change.
3. Seek unbiased, professional help
While the comfort and advice of co-workers can often be helpful, there may be underlying agendas that don’t always have your best interests in mind. One of the first things I did was find professional help that ultimately provided me with an unbiased perspective and practical tools I could use throughout my day.
4. Trust the process
This stuff takes time, but it really does work. The path will not always be linear and that’s ok. Trust the process, and most importantly, trust and believe in yourself.
5. Take time for yourself
Find your happy place. This will mean different things for different people, but I found meditation, nature, exercising, and eating healthier all to be beneficial for my mental and physical health. However, not everything has to be productive. One of the best suggestions I received was to prioritize fun activities and do things that made me feel like a kid again.
6. Prioritize family and friends
I feel it’s important to be mindful of our job’s transactional nature. It’s easy to bind an emotional connection to work and carry it around with us everywhere we go, but not if it’s at the expense of our relationships with family and friends. One of the most important actions I took when experiencing burnout was to prioritize time with people I love and do my best to be present when I was with them.