As a leader, it’s common to get burned out. In this day and age of non-stop Zoom calls, no networking, no water cooler and no office, the fatigue is REAL. How do you stay inspired to drive growth and innovate your business?
Allison Holzer, author of the book ‘Dare to Inspire,’ shares 5 ways to stay inspired at work.
Three distinct symptoms that indicate you’re experiencing burnout:
- Physical Exhaustion – You become overwhelmed with fatigue, sapping your energy levels.
- Emotional Cynicism – This symptom results from the fatigue-related frustration, and it casts a grey shadow over everything you do.
- Lacking Agency – It feels like you don’t control your destiny, preventing you from achieving your goals.
The above burnout-adjacent signs make it virtually impossible to engage with your work at a high level. Therefore, it’s crucial to apply techniques and philosophies that help you avoid burnout.
Actively Seeking out Inspiration is the Foundation for Conquering Burnout
Inspiration neutralizes burnout.
However, you can’t sit around, waiting for inspiration.
You must proactively cultivate a sense of self-efficacy and possibilities. From there, confidence grows, and you’re likelier to take charge because you start feeling invincible.
Combining invincibility and possibility together transforms into rocket fuel, propelling you over any burnout-related hurdles and toward your own personal ambitions. Moreover, this feeling can be sustained, never succumbing to the burnout’s many perils.
The following 5 tips will help you stay inspired, even when burnout threats might lurk in the background:
- State Your Feelings Out Loud
To maintain a poker face in a professional environment, some people might internalize their most negative emotions.
Unfortunately, these daunting headspaces eat you up if you don’t identify them. It’s natural to feel insecure, scared, and sometimes even petty. After all, humans feel up to 20,000 emotions per day—they can’t all be positive.
If you don’t confront those feelings and aren’t honest with yourself, the consequences will be adverse.
Alternatively, stating your emotions – out loud – has a therapeutic effect because we’re claiming them and taking control. This little trick prevents those negative feelings from overwhelming and distracting from the task at hand.
For help with monitoring and conquering your negative emotions, download Yale’s mood meter app.
- Flipping Your Script
Another natural human behavior conducive to burnout is our ability to ruminate and dwell on bad experiences or little triggers. It’s akin to a cow chewing cud—except you’re endlessly gnashing your teeth about something you can’t control.
Fortunately, you can control this behavior, too, by flipping it into a positive or productive reaction. Accomplishing this script-flipping requires self-awareness and accomplishing something that’s in your control.
Here’s a practical example:
Say that your boss micro-manages you. While it’s frustrating, their behavior isn’t something you can control.
What you can control, however, is creating a priorities list that lines up with your boss’s expectations. From there, you might win them over, and it could end up with you in a less micro-managed situation.
- Put Yourself in Motion
Being too stationary leads to fatigue and energy-loss synonymous with burnout.
Nobody’s expecting you to run a marathon, nor do you have to.
Instead, it’s important to incorporate movement throughout your daily routine. Incrementally get up out your chair, stretch, walk and do whatever you need to feel less stuck.
Furthermore, planning walk-and-talk meetings is another excellent way to remain productive beyond your office chair’s confines. Note which times throughout the day where your energy levels suffer, and incorporate small, non-intimidating movements that give you a boost.
An array of apps exists for simple office exercises. These will aid greatly during those challenging hours of the day, be it early morning, mid-afternoon, or lunchtime.
Also, enjoying podcasts or phone-calls with friends during these occasions will add some motivation for performing these movements.
- Schedule Unstructured Time
There are 18 engines of inspiration.
A uniquely vital engine is unstructured time, wherein you give your brain some much-needed space. At first, this might seem in line with unproductivity, which couldn’t be any further from the truth.
Unstructured time is meant to reignite your inspiration. Walking away from a task that demands tremendous brainpower allows you to assess a problem from different angles by not thinking about it. Whereas sitting there and continually focusing on the issue is akin to slamming your head against a wall.
Give yourself thirty minutes to an hour per day to not solve any problems. Two or three hours on special occasions is a good idea as well. Listen to music, watch an enthralling movie, or do whatever is needed to give your brain some space.
Most importantly, don’t feel guilty for unstructured time. It’s a productivity strategy, not neglecting your responsibilities.
- Forge Personal Connections
The emotional cynicism that stems from burnout often leads people to think that, at its core, humanity is rooted in self-interest.
This outlook fosters a sense of hopelessness that results in burnout. Connecting with people on a deep level reverses this feeling because it reignites your hope in humanity. You’ll see that people genuinely care about you and are emotionally invested in your success, which is tremendously inspiring.
Find these connections in networking groups, family, friends, and colleagues. But it won’t happen if you aren’t proactive in seeking out these bonds.
With these five tips, you’ll conquer burnout and its negative consequences on your personal and professional life.