Detachment Is The Key To Recovering From Burnout - Here's How

If you feel like pulling your hair out after a tough week at work, you are not alone. Burnout is a sad reality of our times, as it affects a disproportionately large section of the workforce. According to the Anatomy of Work Special Report published in Asana, which collected data from 10,000 workers across seven countries, 70% of respondents experienced burnout last year. This problem affected people across age groups and job descriptions. So, how can we overcome this problem? 

The first thing to do is to recognize and prevent burnout. And research reveals that the easiest way of doing so is by detaching ourselves from work-related stressors. Actively shunning any kind of work-related activity when you are not at work, is the only way to get some much-needed time off. The Asana research team pointed out that the well-being and energy level of people who worked on the weekends was negatively affected.

How to recognize and work on the problem

If you are tired of constantly feeling burnt out, you can try taking joybreaks to shake up your work day. But when it's time to go home, leave the work and its problems in the office. Trying to push through your exhaustion will only make things worse in the long run.

The team at HelpGuide describes a "Three R" approach for tackling burnout. This strategy advocates recognizing, reversing, and building your resilience by focusing on your physical and emotional needs.

The first thing to do is to assess if the problem is your workload, the nature of your job, or an external factor. Quitting a job you hate is better than constantly trying to keep pace with its demands. If quitting is not an option, be mindful of your needs and set limits for yourself. Certain jobs may seem tedious and unappealing. But if you look for a silver lining in what you do, you are much more likely to be happier doing it. Try to keep the focus on the positive aspects of the job which you enjoy, such as nice co-workers or financial perks. 

Most importantly, keep in mind that your job doesn't define who you are. Look for happiness in other aspects of your life, such as spending time with your family and friends or pursuing fun hobbies. The easier it is to detach from your work, the greater the positive impact on your well-being is likely to be.

Tips for detaching yourself from work

You have to be conscious of how much time you spend working or doing work-related activities in non-work hours. Be mindful about seeking activities that will keep you away from your work demands — without the guilt that is likely to creep in. You can also choose to go device-free by turning each one off, applying greyscale mode on your phone, or simply silencing notifications. For this to work, however, you must fight the urge to check emails, chat groups, or your LinkedIn feed.

Some activities you could easily pursue to detach yourself and return to the path of recovery include going for a walk or run, taking a hike in the midst of nature, or relaxing on the beach.

The key to detachment is to switch off from the demands of work completely. This means you cannot dwell on work problems, especially not your pending tasks. Reading is a great way to distance yourself from work — but choose something other than a business book, so your mind can rest. Fiction, self-help, autobiographies, or other genres work well. When it comes to socializing, be sure to spend time with people who don't work with you. Actively seek new friendships if all your friends are currently from your workplace.