Holidays Will Not Fix Your Work Burnout

I often hear people say, “I just need a holiday”, as a magical cure for work stress and feelings of burnout. Spoiler, it won’t. Here’s why.

Work stress is usually from a series of chronically repeating systemic problems that affect your day-to-day. When you get back from work, they will still be there. Give it a day, and you’re back to burnout street.

So a holiday can clear your head, but it won’t solve the problem. If this is you, here are some steps you can take at work right now to address your burnout:

  1. Schedule your lunch break in your calendar if you haven’t already.
  2. Schedule padding between meetings (at least 15 minutes every hour) to rest your brain and eyes and move your body. Go for a walk. Meditate.
  3. Book time in your calendar for async work - reading emails, checking Slack, and deep thinking. This is work. Book it in.
  4. Empower yourself to say no. If your to-do list is massive, tame it asap. You can’t do everything; if your boss expects you to, it’s time to set boundaries. Or leave.
  5. Remove Slack and email from your phone at the end of the day. Or, ideally, don’t have it there at all.
  6. Tame your Slack notifications and emails. Get it under control; it’s background stress you don’t need.

Your homework is to pick the 2 of these that seem the most achievable for you and action them straight away. Then come back for the rest.