Career Talk

/ 3 years ago /

 Article by Brenda Wong

11 things to do if you’re suffering from work burnout

Writer’s note 11.05.2017: This is a bit of a Throwback Thursday. I wrote this a month into my job here at Debut HQ, and yet, the tips still apply. Work burnout is still something I suffer from, from time to time. There’s no such thing as a one-article-fix-all scenario – if so, heck, I’d be out of a job. However, things are a lot better, and with time and patience, it will for you too. Team Debut wishes you a good Mental Health Awareness Week 2017. 

I have a confession to make. I’ve been working at my new job here at Debut HQ for just over a month, and I’m suffering from work burnout.

Here’s the thing. Feeling burnt out does not mean 1) You don’t like your job and 2) You’re not good at your job. Likely, you’ve been pushing yourself to your limits in a new, unfamiliar and stressful situation, leading to you feeling like your spark’s gone out.

We’ve all been there. We ran a quick poll on Debut’s Twitter and here were the results:

Not a single person said they hadn’t experienced burnout before. So I’m putting myself out there with the steps I’ve been taking to combat burnout – if you have any other tips, do tweet us @DebutCareers with yours!

1.  Take a night off from checking your emails

work burnout

If you’re anything like I think you are, you probably say “alright, I’m off to bed” and then spend the next 45 minutes scrolling and tapping away at your phone.

Article after article tells us that checking your phone before bed is bad for you. It causes worse sleep quality, insomnia, and fatigue during the daytime. So take the night off. Read that book that’s been collecting dust on your nightstand, perhaps.

2. Make sure you eat a good breakfast

A photo posted by Hayley (@whygowithout) on

Earlier this year the New York Times had the audacity to say there’s “nothing magical about breakfast,” but I’mma ’bout to fight them on this.

Sometimes it isn’t even about the meal itself. It’s about the ritual. When you eat a good breakfast, you’re mindfully giving your body the nutrients and energy it needs to fuel itself for the day. So don’t scoff at the Instagrammers with their avocado toasts – there might be a reason why they’re that cheery.

3. Start a bullet journal

A photo posted by Nicole Lionne (@nicolelionne) on

This productivity craze has taken over the Internet, and the sheer neatness of the aesthetic is bound to soothe the burnt out beast within.

There’s no specific planner you need to buy, just use your favourite notebook and start mastering your calendar and life.

Head over to to get started with your own DIY planner.

4. Or, screw to-do lists altogether and use an anti to-do list


Forget about a to-do list. Start making a ‘done’ list.

According to Slate, writing down the things you’ve already done is just as useful as listing the things you have to do. I love the idea of the ‘anti to-do list’. If this means giving myself a gold star every time I accomplish a task, I’m all for it.

Also, this could be a great way to track achievements and small wins. For someone suffering from work burnout, this could be a fantastic small adjustment to improve overall mental health.

5. Call your ‘person’


Everybody is guilty of letting work get in the way of the important relationships you have in your life. But if there’s a good time to call your ‘person’, it’s when you’re going through burnout.

Your person could be anybody. It could be your mum, or your best mate from uni you haven’t caught up with. Just someone you can bounce ideas off, share frustrations with, and most importantly, who can be supportive and honest at the same time.

6. Take some time in the workday to go outside


Take a break. Don’t just sit at your desk to eat your lunch, pop out of the office for a quick wander. It’s important to be strict about this with yourself.

Your lunch hour is yours and it’s necessary to give your brain the ‘recharging’ it needs to go about the rest of your work day. If you can join a gym an do a quick lunch sesh, even better!

7. Start a careers fight club


We go into the details of a careers fight club in this article, but honestly, there’s no better place to recalibrate your work life than in the meetings you have with your fight club.

They will likely offer you the bespoke advice you need to be able to overcome your work burnout. Trust us, this strategy is a good one.

8. Do a ‘brain dump’ of the things that have been giving you anxiety


Keeping your worries in will only result in them festering. I tend to type out all of my worries in a Notepad .txt file, read over it, and then cathartically place it in the ‘Recycle Bin’ on my desktop.

Running away from your worries won’t do you any good. Facing them head on and saying “I’m not afraid of you” can empower you to push through them.

9. Speak to your manager about it


It’s better you do this earlier, as keeping silent about struggling through burnout may result in your work superior thinking you’re under-performing.

Take the initiative by addressing your needs, and work together with them to find a solution.

10. Chant affirmations to yourself in the morning before you go to work

Practicing mindfulness is a great way to keep you centered. Just take a look at this adorable dad/daughter duo and their morning affirmations. 

It’s useful to come up with affirmations that are specific to you. Write down a list of your own, and say it to yourself every day in the mirror.

11. Pick a weekend, and make it all about you


Self care is the best care. Forget about your job for just a hot second, and have a weekend just about taking care of you. Put a face mask on. Sort out all of your bills. Drink lots of tea. Go exploring in your favourite city.

Sometimes you just need a break in your routine to get you back on the right work track.

Feature Image © Unsplash

Post originally published on 6th October 2016. 

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