How to Check Back In After a Professional Slump
Let’s face it, at this point we are all probably a little tired of hearing buzz words like “burnout.” But what happens when you inevitably reach your breaking point? How do you effectively take a pause and then jump back in?
We’ve cracked the code when it comes to burnout recovery and reacclimating back into your career. Here are our top tips to help aid your post-burnout healing and reintegration process.
And don’t worry we’re not going to tell you to fake it until you make it—positive psychology can only go so far.
Take the Breaks You Need
Quitting your job isn’t necessarily the answer when it comes to breaking your current negative feedback loop (although in some situations, a fresh start might be exactly what you need).
EBN recently discovered that more than one-quarter of Americans who left their career during the Great Resignation are reconsidering whether or not they made the right move. Instead of diving into the job search, step away from your computer, take some of your well-deserved PTO, and see how you feel about your role when you’re feeling more at ease.
Incorporate Active Recovery
Figure out how to incorporate active recovery into your daily work routine. Do you need to take an hour every week to talk to a telehealth therapist, or do you need to have a longer lunch to connect with your family? Perhaps your 1:1s can become walking meetings.
Your company may be more accommodating than you’d anticipate and little moments of self-care will help keep your tank from hitting empty. Plus, you’d be surprised at how much more creative and present you are when you are inspired through movement and a change of environment.
Establish & Enforce Boundaries
Sure, we can all agree that in the workplace it can be very helpful to be agreeable and not create conflict. However, if you’re constantly swallowing your ideas and feedback in fear of rocking the boat, you’ll quickly burn yourself out. It’s hard to be engaged when you don’t agree with what you are working towards and don't allow yourself to be heard. By participating and putting forward your ideas, your interest in work will increase exponentially. You’ll have your own buy-in, hopefully a bit of excitement, and you’ll want to work towards a proud result.
Learning to speak up will translate to other areas of your work-life and will allow you to be more candid with management when you are unhappy or worried about the trajectory of your career. Having these conversations proactively and understanding where you stand or where your needs are not being met will help you advocate for yourself and obtain your goals.
Sprinkle Moments of Joy Into Work Day
Sometimes the littlest moments of joy can propel you throughout your entire day. At Namely, we love starting the week with a small moment of connection. We like to start our Mondays off with a “weekend share” where we chat and share pictures with our team of our weekend highlights. This ritual helps us ease back into the week and connect with our colleagues on a human level.
Especially now in the world of virtual work, meeting up with coworkers IRL can give you a huge jolt of energy and help reintegrate you into your workplace community. At Namely, we plan regional breakfasts with our leadership team where you can pop in for coffee and pastries with fellow employees who live near you. We also host a monthly or quarterly happy hour where we can get together and celebrate our communal successes. Even if you don’t live near any of your coworkers, finding a mentor nearby or a reason to get out of the house and interact with others will help bring vibrance and excitement back into your everyday work-life.
Finally, if you have an unexpected break in your schedule and you’re not feeling productive, take a genuine break. Snuggle your pup, go outside, read a couple of pages of a novel; whatever you do, just don’t go on social media. Even though it feels like the end of the world, it’s okay to let your Slack go idle for a little bit.
Build New Habits
When we are in a slump, our habits and daily rituals often fuel negative thought and behavior patterns. It’s easy to wake up a little bit later, throw on our favorite sweatpants, interrupt our work with frequent Instagram scroll breaks, and put off work until tomorrow. It’s easy to perpetuate a funk but it requires a lot of effort and intentionality to break a cycle. If you truly want to check back in you have to do the work to create new habits and behaviors.
Firstly, take note of all your habits — the good, the bad, and the ugly. What do you turn toward when you want to reward yourself? How to deal with boredom and free time throughout the day? How do you cope with anxiety and overwhelm? Now that you’ve taken inventory of your behaviors, it’s time to create new habits.
The New York Times recommends testing “habit stacking.”
“The best way to form a new habit is to tie it to an existing habit, experts say. Look for patterns in your day and think about how you can use existing habits to create new, positive ones. A morning cup of coffee, for example, can create a great opportunity to start a new one-minute meditation practice. Or, while you are brushing your teeth, you might choose to do squats or stand on one foot to practice balance.”
Life becomes stagnant when we stop learning. Stagnation can lead to that nagging feeling of unhappiness, dissatisfaction, or even burnout. Integrating moments of learning into your daily, weekly, or monthly routine can help prevent your brain from checking out.
To keep things fresh at Namely, we host monthly learning and development meetings where we take turns spotlighting and teaching others key skills that we’ve learned in our niche. Some past examples include the secret to writing a killer blog, foolproof reporting, or an intro to SEO best practices. This inspires a culture of curiosity and learning.
As an organization, we recommend offering benefits like LinkedIn Learning and a personal development stipend to encourage independent learning. We have also found tremendous success and employee engagement through the implementation of a mentorship program.
Want to get ahead of burnout? Check out our latest eBook to learn how you can build a benefits package to support your employees' mental health.
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