More Ideas

More ideas to help recover from burnout

Acknowledge your feelings.

How are you feeling? It is valid. Share your feelings with your support network. This helps build resilience. Recognize your state in the exhaustion funnel and how that will impact your decisions.

Build your identity.

You are more than your job. You are more than the contributions that you make to open source projects. Who are you?

Understanding who you are and what you value can help keep you afloat when traumatic events like a company layoff occur. If your identity is derived from your job, losing your job can leave you feeling like you have no meaning or value. Companies fail all the time. More startups close than make it to a finish line. Avoid tying your mental health to the success of something outside of your control.

Fuel up

Know yourself. Know what energizes or calms you. Whether it’s reading, non-technical activity time, being off in a forest with the greenery, or something else. Monitor your “fuel” levels and recognize when you need to take a break. Talk to your Support network and ask them to give you external signals.

A few ways to fuel up at home & work

Take micro-breaks and play

It can help to take some time for micro-breaks and play. It sounds a bit unconventional to say “play,” but it can be a helpful step in breaking the burnout cycle. Micro-breaks can be helpful by taking the step back from the work and getting your mind off of whatever is causing the burnout. Micro-breaks come in a variety of forms:

  • Getting up from the desk/cube and taking 15 minutes to walk around the office, get outside, and get some air/sunshine
  • Grab a colleague and talk about anything other than the task(s) at hand. This will take practice, but can be beneficial in ways other than taking a break–it may open doors to move to a position that can be less stressful
  • Get a pair of baseball gloves, or a frisbee, go out into the parking lot (if available, if not, a green space), and toss the ball/frisbee around for a few minutes.
A note on micro-breaks:

If it’s not possible to take these sorts of breaks, do your best to not take work home, if at all possible. The expectation that you have to work all the time, even at home, isn’t realistic and can create feelings of guilt when not engaged in work. If this is the case for you, enlist the help of someone in your support community–a significant other, family member, peer or friend to help keep you accountable to not spend all of your time working and send you signals (or blatantly tell you) when work has become an unhealthy priority. When possible, take the time at home to enjoy your home, and play or engage in a hobby.

Take up a hobby

Work can often take so much precedence that it can become your identity. Remember, you are *more* than the work that you do, the problems you solve, and the customers you serve. Taking up a hobby can be a helpful step in reconnecting with who you are outside of your occupation. This may look like:

  • Taking up homebrewing
  • Learning to fish
  • Making personal fitness a priority

Above all else, remember:

Be kind to yourself first.

Build a Support Network

Identify people that you can talk to safely. Meet with your support group regularly whether it’s on the phone, web, or in person. Your Support Network should be more than just your significant other. Even if they are in the industry, the cost to your personal relationships in times when you need it most can be devastating.

Connect with Community

Whether you are a developer, operations, qe, product management, or in the CXO level you need to have peers to be able to recognize the common problems. We are humans and identify patterns. These patterns can help you discern between “you” issues and “everyone” issues. Talking about burnout as a community for example has helped many recognize that they are not alone! Community time can also help with feelings of loneliness. It is critical that you recognize the cost in interactions as well that may feel like internal stressors.

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