Everyone gets burned out from time to time. Even if you own the business.
As with real--or physical-- ailments, it's important to practice preventative maintenance and get help quick before it spreads too far. What can start out as the equivalent of the sniffles can turn into full-fledged pneumonia territory if you're not careful.
But there are many ways to fend off office burnout without throwing in the towel. Whether you feel a burnout coming on, or just want to avoid even the slightest of symptoms, these are good practices to keep you at your professional best.
1. Take a break every 20 minutes
If that sounds like a lot, that's because it kind of is! But that's sometimes what your body and mind need in order to function at 100 percent. However, a "break" doesn't mean texting your friend or perusing Facebook. It means getting up from your desk. Take a short walk or head to the cooler for some H2O. Movement and not staring at a screen, even for two minutes, is crucial for your well-being.
2. Use your sick days and vacation days wisely and correctly
Use those sick days for when you're actually sick (or need a mental health day). Don't save all your vacation days for some incredibly ambitious trip--that will, in all likelihood, never happen. Everyone needs a break in their schedule. You don't get awards for attendance in the real world, so what are you holding out for?
3. Practice yoga and strength training--even at work
During some of those regular breaks, use the time to improve your body, flexibility and get your heart pumping. There are a number of exercises perfect for doing at your desk, and if you really get into it you can always bring some easy to carry props such as light dumbbells with you. Every little bit counts, and when you feel better, you perform better.
4. Get enough sleep
"I can't stress enough the importance of getting sufficient sleep. I was guilty for years of going to bed past 3 am and rapid-fire snooze pressing in the morning. After forcing myself to get into a better sleep pattern, I'm waking up without an alarm clock, and I noticed I have more energy to get work done." says Troy Osinoff of PD/M Group
Your body requires a certain amount of sleep each night in order to avoid illnesses, injuries and general grogginess. Ideally, you go to bed at a time that allows you to wake up naturally without an alarm clock. (Though you should still set one.) Lack of sleep is linked to a number of issues, and burnout isn't anywhere near the worst.
5. Attempt to get along with your colleagues
Whether you realize it or not, gossip, tense environments and other negativity in the workplace is draining you. It's in everyone's best interest to actually enjoy the company of everyone at the office, but you might have to make the first move. Treat others at the office how you'd like to be treated.
"I've found that it's crucial to interact with your co-workers. Go to the Happy Hours and get to know them. The more they see your face in a non-work setting, the more it increases camaraderie within your organization. If you actually like the people you work with, the happier you'll be at work." says Travis Wright, Chief Marketing Technologist of CCP Global.
6. Move close to the office
This one might be tough to pull off, but if you rent then it's worth looking into. Studies show that people are happier when they have shorter commutes. Another option might be asking about telecommuting options, even if it's just one day per week.
Burnout is something nobody is immune to, but taking just a few steps to avoid it each day can pay great dividends in the long run--for health of both your body and your business.