Burnout is a state of physical and emotional exhaustion. It can occur when you experience long-term stress in your job, or when you have worked in a physically or emotionally draining role for a long time. You can also experience burnout when your efforts at work have failed to produce the results that you expected, and you feel deeply disillusioned as a result.

You might be experiencing burnout if you feel:
Every day at work is a bad day.
Exhausted much of the time.
No joy or interest in your work, or even feel depressed by it.
Overwhelmed by your responsibilities.
Hopeless about your life or work.
Chest pain, shortness of breath, sleeplessness or heart palpitations.

Recovering from Burnout
Burnout doesn’t go away on its own; it gets worse unless you address the cause of it. If you ignore burnout, it will only get worse, so it’s important that you begin recovery as soon as possible. Recovery from burnout is a slow journey, not a quick dash to some imaginary finish line. You need time and space to recuperate, not a time to rush. Some recovery strategies are outlined below. Some will work for you, while others won’t, so it is a process of finding what works for you.

Think About the “Why” of Burnout
First identify why you’ve experienced burnout. Sometimes this will be obvious. Other times, it will take time uncover this. Look at any resentment that you feel towards your work. Feelings of resentment can point to something is missing.

Here’s a good example: Jenny supervises a team around the world, her workday starts at 6 a.m. She doesn’t mind this because she likes her team and her job. But feels resentful when her boss forgets that she starts early and repeatedly asks her to stay late, which causes her to miss important time with her family. In this example, burnout didn’t occur because Jenny hated her job; in fact, she likes what she does. Burnout came because she hated missing out on family time at night.

Think about any negative feelings that you have about your job. Once you’ve identified the cause of your burnout, write down at least one way that you can manage or eliminate that source of stress or unhappiness. Another way to identify underlying causes of burnout is to keep a stress diary. Each day write down what causes you stress and why the event stressed you. Stress diaries can be illuminating, so long as you keep up with them for a reasonable period. Once you discover the causes of your burnout, look at what you can do to resolve it. This might involve delegating some of your responsibilities to others, adding more autonomy to your job, working from home one day a week, or even changing roles.

Focus on the Basics
If you’ve experienced burnout, your body may need attention. Regular exercise can reduce stress and boosts your mood, improves your overall health, and enhances your quality of life. Make sure you get enough sleep, eat well and drink plenty of water throughout the day. These might sound obvious, but often we ignore our basic needs. We take care of others far more than we take care of ourselves. This can contribute to burnout.

Take a Break
Time away from work gives you the space to relax and de-stress. While the stress and problems that you’re experiencing at work may still be waiting for you when you get back, taking time off is essential for getting the rest you need and coming up with long-term solutions to burnout.

Reassess Your Goals
Next, take time to reassess your personal goals. Burnout can occur when your work is out of alignment with your values, or when it’s not contributing to your long-term goals. You can also experience frustration and burnout if you have no idea what your goals are. Identify your values and think about what gives you meaning in your work. This will give you a deeper understanding of what you find most important, and it will show you what is missing from your life or work.

Practice Positive Thinking
Burnout can cause you to slip into a cycle of negative thinking. Negative thinking worsens over time. Recovery from burnout, can be a challenge to develop the habit of positive thinking. This is why it’s important to start small. Try thinking of something positive before you get out of bed each morning. Or, at the end of the day, think back to one great thing that you did at work or at home. You deserve to celebrate even small accomplishments. These celebrations can help you rediscover joy and meaning in your work again.

You can also bring more positivity into your life by practicing random acts of kindness at work. A basic part of our human nature is to help others. Being kind to others not only helps spread positivity in the workplace, but it also feels great.