Digital Burnout: What Is It And How Can It Be Avoided?

We deal in digital, so we understand that the inability to escape from your work email can cause real stress and result in what’s known as digital burnout. But what exactly is burnout and what steps can you take to avoid it?

As a technical term, burnout refers to a machine that’s been overused, without time to cool down, and has essentially exploded. Us humans, when suffering from overwork, can have a similar experience.

There are three types of burnout: feeling constantly overloaded with work, feeling dissatisfied and cynical about work and feeling stuck in a job rut, without the power to escape.

Everyone feels stressed from time to time and we all know the feeling of just wanting to stay in bed on a Monday; it’s just human nature. Burnout is identified through the consistency of those feelings and can lead to both physical and mental illness.

Am I suffering from digital burnout?

The key difference between stress and burnout is its impact on your motivation. Stress can lower your energy levels and give you cotton-wool brain, whereas burnout drains your motivation, leaving you feeling hopeless and uninspired.

Common sufferers of burnout have traditionally been doctors and nurses, from forty-plus hour working weeks and the ‘always on call’ nature of the job. But digital burnout is on the rise, as more and more people, particularly in digital jobs, take work home with them in the form of email, social media and technology.

How do I avoid burning out?

We’re recruiters, not doctors, so if you’re concerned or think you’re suffering burnout, see your GP. But from our research, we’ve identified a three-step solution that allows you to redefine your outlook and help you stay away from the dreaded digital burnout.

Step One: Find (and remove) stressors

Are you truly happy in your career? Do you feel fulfilled? Maybe your current position isn’t stimulating enough for you? Do you just feel a bit stagnant? Leaving your job might be the solution, but it’s worth working out which aspects of your work inspire and motivate you and focus on them, while attempting to eradicate things that leave you feeling drained.

Step Two: Arrange ‘unplugged’ time

Create rules that allow you time to completely switch off from work. Whether it’s an hour a day, an evening a week or promising to ignore your emails all weekend, get away from your job physically and mentally. Spend time with family and friends, binge on Netflix, get out and about; make sure you’re spending your free time in your happy place and not worrying about your workload.

Step Three: Look after yourself

Never underestimate the power of eating right, sleeping lots (not enough: lots) and exercising. If you’re on the brink of burning out, take a step back to evaluate how you’re treating yourself. Do you eat plenty of fruits and veggies and drink enough water, or are you surviving on coffee and Mars bars? Do you sleep at least eight hours a night? When did you last hit the gym?

Small steps can make a big difference. Walking to work, swapping lunch-on-the-go for a healthy meal and keeping a bottle of water on you at all times are all ways to feel better.

So these might seem like obvious ideas (we’ll say it again: recruiters, not doctors), it’s the simplest things in life that are the most important – and often the first to be overlooked. Be mindful of your mental wellbeing – even if you feel absolutely fine – and you’ll feel more productive, happier and have bags of energy.

If you’re looking for a career change, we’d love to help you out. Get in touch today and we can discuss a new direction for you.

Posted on November 3, 2015 in Uncategorized

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