The best human resource professionals prioritize others. They constantly strive to meet the needs of every employee, manager, and executive leader.
In the meantime, they do just about everything they can to build a positive, healthy workplace culture. But being so selfless and committed to your work can make you stretch yourself too thin. As a result, burnout can peak its pretty little head out and disrupt your career and your life.
You can avoid burnout by knowing the signs and being transparent with your manager — among a few other things. Burnout also doesn’t have to take you down for good if you encounter it. Here’s what you can do to prevent burnout or manage it should you experience it one day.
Prepare for Common Challenges
HR professionals take on many different roles and responsibilities — recruiting, creating work policies, ensuring compliance and employee wellbeing, and conducting performance management. They also have to navigate some significant challenges. Those challenges alone can become so overwhelming that they lead to burnout.
However, if you prepare yourself for these everyday challenges and situations in HR, you can stave off burnout. For example, HR is facing some unique challenges due to remote work. It’s more difficult to ensure an equally supportive experience for every employee. Since employee socialization is limited to online interactions, keeping morale up is a common challenge for HR representatives in this environment. Prepare for these challenges by ensuring every employee has access to the right connections and resources that will support them.
In addition, always have a list of remote socialization activities available for managers and help schedule them. Preparation is key. Note common challenges you face in your role. Next, brainstorm ways to make these challenges less stressful to work through. Then, write down specific steps to take to reduce overwhelming feelings and lower your risk of burnout.
Know the Signs of Burnout
Aside from preparing solutions to common challenges, you must know the signs of burnout. Simply put, burnout isn’t just having a couple of bad days every now and then. It is chronic, and after a while, it may start to affect your productivity. Here are some signs of burnout to pay attention to:
- You feel hopeless;
- Your quality of work is suffering;
- You’re exhausted all of the time;
- You’re irritable and sharp with others;
- You’re withdrawn from your personal life;
- You can’t find meaning in your work anymore;
- You’re late to work or leaving early more often;
- Headaches and muscle pains are more frequent;
- You aren’t interacting with your coworkers anymore;
- Your appetite and sleep pattern changed for the worse.
If you notice any of the above signs persisting for weeks, it may be a sign of burnout. So, pay attention.
Be Transparent When You’re Burnt Out
When you notice you’re experiencing burnout, it’s time to let your managers know. The last thing you want to do is pretend everything is okay. Being honest about experiencing burnout will open up the opportunity for you to receive the support you need to navigate it in the healthiest way possible.
Sit down with your manager as soon as possible to let them know you’re burnt out. Be open about what you’re feeling and how it’s affecting your work and life. Then, talk about potential solutions to help you work through your burnout. In addition, it’s important to tell your loved ones in your personal life about your burnout as well. They’ll be able to support you better when you’re at home if they know what you’re going through.
Take Time Off to Recover
One thing you may need to ask for from your manager when experiencing burnout is time off. Burnout happens when you’re in overdrive — pouring from an empty cup. Taking time off to rest and fill yourself with things and activities that matter most to you is one of the best remedies for burnout. Ask your manager for as much time off as you need. You can plan a much-needed vacation or spend your time off in the comfort of your own home — shut off your work brain and sink into relaxation.
Take Advantage of Goal-Setting
When you’re ready to return to work, it’s important to do things differently this time. Taking advantage of goal setting can help you with this. Establish goals and plans to make work less stressful and maintain a healthy work-life balance.
Create your goals with the SMART goals framework. Each goal must be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. So, for instance, “reduce overwhelm in my work” is way too vague. Set a SMART goal instead: “reduce my initial workload by half by the end of the quarter, and work with my manager to delegate specific responsibilities to other team members so that I can clock out on time each day.” Then, break down your goal into smaller steps to illuminate your pathway to achieving that goal.
Prioritize Ongoing Holistic Health Care
Lastly, to fight off burnout long-term, it’s essential to prioritize ongoing holistic healthcare. Make time for your physical, mental, and emotional health every day. The healthier you are, the less likely you will experience burnout. So, exercise regularly. Fuel your body with nutritious foods. Work on your emotional needs. And pay special attention to your mental health. Implement activities like meditation, yoga, breathing exercises, therapy, and surrounding yourself with positive energy to keep your mind and spirit lifted.
Recruiters and HR professionals experience burnout just like anyone else. Take steps to prevent burnout or mitigate its effects with the tips listed above.