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How to avoid burnout

Written by: Charlotte Rogers
Published on: 9 Dec 2019

Burnout Hero Image

Burnout can happen to anyone, employee or job seeker. Burnout is a state of physical, emotional or mental exhaustion caused by long term involvement in demanding situations. – Ayala Pines and Elliot Aronson. Depending on your situation, there can be many reasons as to why you may experience burnout and there can be some ways around it. However, if you continue to push yourself too hard, you may not be able to prevent it. Keep reading for our advice on how to avoid burnout and keep active in your job search.

Causes of burnout

Before you can avoid it, you need to understand what may cause burnout.

Having unclear goals or expectations – Sometimes, not knowing what you are working towards can have negative impacts on the way you think about your job search. You need to know what you want to get out of it and have some small steps that you can take at your own pace, to reach the overall goal. Know what you are working for and things can start to fall into place.

Excessive workload – Some job seekers, especially if they are also working a full-time job, put too much pressure on themselves. If you have too much work, it’s okay to take a night off or even a whole day if you feel that’s what you need. Sometimes, you can’t help but have loads of work to do, but you can take a step back if it becomes too much. Your health matters more.

Little or no support – If you have been keeping yourself occupied with job seeking, make sure you are taking some time away to talk to someone. Job seeking is often something you have to do on your own but knowing your friends and family support what you’re doing can make a huge difference.

These are just a few examples of what can cause you to feel burnt out. Each job seeker is individual, and you may feel like none of them relate to you. The overall message is to try and understand why you are doing what you are doing and try to understand what changes you can make to take a little weight off your shoulders. Even if just for a little while.

How to avoid burnout

Work with purpose – When job seeking, it may be hard for some people to be positive all the time. Especially if the process is taking a little longer than you had expected. But you need to be able to work with a purpose and be working towards a goal. It can be a good idea to set yourself a stream of smaller goals each day, to make sure you are doing what you need to, to reach your overall goal. Make sure you are also looking at jobs that are right for you and they are roles that would make you happy. This can help you too avoid burnout again in the future, when working for said employer.

Take control – Job seeking can be a lot of work and can definitely end up taking up more hours of the day than you initially thought. However, it is good to plan out your day and stick to the time frame you have given yourself. You can spend hours sat in front of a computer screen or looking at your CV, but after a certain amount of time, productivity levels are going to decrease and there may be very little you can show for your time. Take control of how you spend your day and if you plan to do something else with your time, stick to your arrangements. You shouldn’t be controlled by the job.

Time management – This is very similar to taking control. However, time management is all about taking some time to write up a schedule and sticking to it. Schedule time in for yourself, time for a lunch with friends and also try and stick to the end of the “work day”. When it’s time to stop, stop.

Exercise – Whether it’s going for a walk in the morning or taking the time to go to the gym. Exercise can be very important for your productivity and overall emotional state. Keeping active can keep you healthy in more ways than you may think.

Know your limits – Ultimately, if you do get the symptoms of burnout, there is nothing you can do other than take a step back. Everyone has their own limits and once you have exceeded them, you can really take a hit to your overall health. You need to have yourself in your best interests. If it does all get too much, no amount of time management and exercise is going to help. Make sure you are taking steps that are relevant to you to get back on track. If this means taking some time off, so be it. Do whatever you need to get back to your usual self. Once you have taken some time and begin to feel better, you can start to come up with a new schedule, set little goals and go out for that walk. Sometimes we all just need to pause and restart.