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Burnout is a hot topic right now – especially in STEM, where late nights at the office and start-up culture are the norm. Since most of us aren’t in control of the wider contributors to burnout, the best way for us to prevent burnout in the workplace is to practice effective self-care at work. Every good self-care routine is multifaceted, so here are a few areas to cover your bases.
We know how hard it can be to stop working at a certain time of day or to commit to not answering emails over the weekend. But creating and maintaining work boundaries is an essential part of taking care of yourself. And once you’ve established those boundaries, they become much easier to maintain.
Do Something New
Feeling restless? Take a break from routine or urgent tasks. Monotonous or prolonged high-stress projects will fast-track you into burnout and low job satisfaction – even if your job is your passion. Take on a new passion project and let your creativity flow.
Find Stress Management Tools
If you often feel high-strung or worn out, that’s a sign your coping mechanisms aren’t working. Try expanding your toolkit.
Find a Work-Life Balance
Work-life balance is such a common phrase that it’s almost a cliché at this point. But it’s a cliché for a reason. Being present and living your best life outside of work will let you be your best self at work, too.
Flex Your Network
Can’t remember the last time you went out for coffee or drinks with your colleagues? Connection at work is just as important as getting your work done. One of the best parts of working in STEM is the chance to meet brilliant minds. Learn from them and let them lift you up.
Set and Achieve Goals
Has it been a long time since you finished up a big project and took time to celebrate? If a lot of your duties are ongoing or never seem to make it to completion, that can be exhausting. Find ways to set goals, even small ones, that you can see through until the end. You’ll be surprised how revitalizing it can be.
We tend to think of taking a vacation as the best solution to burnout. But a lot of people burn out not because they’re working too much or too hard, but because they’re bored. This can also happen if you feel underappreciated or stagnant in your role. If you’re getting a little too comfortable at your job and can’t remember the last time you had to learn a new skill at work, look for ways you can learn and grow. Talk to your HR department about professional development opportunities – or use your down-time to take a free online class.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by how many aspects of self-care there are, remember this: the most important thing you do in life and at work is take care of yourself. Self-care isn’t a distraction or a detour from your career. They go hand in hand!