How to Avoid Burnout at Work
During Mental Health Awareness Week, a recent campaign to raise awareness about mental health related illness reported that the hospitality sector has one of the highest occurrences of “employee burnout.” 1 in 7 employees will experience stress-related illness leading many to leave the profession.
Stress affects all levels of responsibility in all areas of the industry. The results of stress can be seen in physical symptoms, emotional distress and can lead to self-medicating or bad habits as a coping mechanism.
Burnout can creep up on you. You may not notice its effects right away. You may, however, notice that you’re so much more tired than usual, feeling inflexible and unfocused and less confident. You may become distracted by little things and find you’re procrastinating instead of getting on with the work that needs to be done.
How can you minimize the burnout? Take a look at these steps to getting a handle on it:
- First of all… be aware of the symptoms. You may be feeling more irritable, not sleeping well, and noticing you’re more forgetful and lethargic. Once you recognize the symptoms, you can take action to correct the problem.
- Set a time to reflect on how you’re feeling: Make an appointment with yourself every week at the same time to review how it’s going. Are you feeling anxious, un-motivated, and numb? Step back and re-focus your priorities. Make sure you are doing the things that make you feel accomplished and moving forward toward your goals.
- Stop multi-tasking: At some point in the recent past, we all patted ourselves on the back for being able to do multiple tasks at once…but we later discovered that we did none of them well. You simply can’t be effective by dividing your attention. Take a minute to stop and complete one thing at a time before moving on.
- Unplug: When you leave work, really try to avoid reading emails and worrying about the events of the day. With today’s tech, it’s easy to carry your work around all day and all evening. Especially when you’re a manager, your responsibilities never seem to end. You have to limit your access to work so you can recover and relax.
- Exercise: Get out and do something active. It not only relieves stress, but can help you sleep better and feel restored. Take a walk, play with the dog or meet a friend for a bike ride. Stop at the park and watch a ball game. Do something that’s fun and get moving.
- Eat well: Stop grabbing whatever’s convenient at the end of a shift and stuffing it in your mouth after having nothing to eat all day. Your body needs good nutrition for you to feel well and keep going, especially in a physically demanding job. Plan some healthy lunches ahead of time and store them in your fridge so you can grab and go with something that fuels your body.
- Switch it up: No one thrives by doing to the same thing every day, the same way at the same time. It’s boring. Take a class, take on a new task, shadow someone who’s doing something you’d like to learn more about, go to a conference and meet some new people. Stepping out of your routine can restore your excitement about your career.
- Stop trying to be perfect: Let’s face it. We all want to do a great job and be recognized for it. But, sometimes you can get carried away, working too many hours for that small increment of “better.” You have to know when it’s time to stop. Don’t be the person who is never satisfied.
- Pay attention: When you’re having more arguments at home or with staff, you’re getting angry easily, getting more complaints from customers or making a lot of mistakes… take some time off. You may be having a hard time unwinding and need to get away from work for a while. Take that vacation you planned or enjoy a long weekend. These are signs you may be getting burnt out.
- Find a mentor: Reach out to someone who’s been in your shoes and may have some wisdom to share. Check in with them regularly and take advantage of their know-how, especially when you’re having a particularly tough time.
Burnout is a real thing. It has physical and emotional consequences and can really affect your health and well-being. You spend a lot of time at work and you have to find ways to enjoy it as well as the people around you. You’re not just a waiter, bartender, or desk agent; you’re providing guests with a special experience. You need to take care of yourself so you can be at your best and deliver truly superior customer service.