8 Steps to Relieve Burnout Now

Burnout is not a dirty word! It’s a way our body, in its infinite wisdom, works to get our attention – a signal that we need to restore ourselves. But when burnt out, even taking on self-care seems like another thing to do…or worse, to feel guilty about if we don’t get to it… which only adds to the underlying sense of exhaustion and overwhelm. But it doesn’t have to be. I want to show you how to make some very realistic, small shifts to get you back to balance. Here are 8 steps to relieve burnout now!

Burnout is Trending

Before you start, we need to tackle that it’s OK to acknowledge you’re burnt out, and with good reason.There’s a lot of fallout coming to light post-Covid that’s not being talked about but is real. The world got turned upside down overnight. We scrambled to adapt – and we did, remarkably so. But leaders had to go beyond the call of duty during it all, and on the uneven reentry.  

You did your best under incredible global challenges with sustained unknowns over a prolonged period. You kept on point, using all you’ve got for the better part of the last 3 years! It’s no wonder that, now that we’re technically on the other side of it, you may be experiencing a huge level of exhaustion. And as that impacts your ability to lead, it can only add more weight on your tired shoulders. You need to help yourself to help anyone else – including your staff. So what can you do?

8 Steps to Relieve Burnout

  1. Exhaustion means you need rest – physically and mentally.  Find the courage to step away FULLY – even if only for an afternoon. And (this is key) resist being at your desk in your head! You may not do it perfectly at first, but try and keep trying. The work will be there when you get back, and you need to do this to be able to do that work. 
  2. Create some breathing room in your day (or week/month) anywhere you can. Start by giving yourself 20 minutes (even 10) to look at your schedule. Cancel what is non-essential, and reschedule what you can (If needed, make it clear you will rebook at their convenience -then be sure to do that). 
  3. Do a head dump of all you have to do – work, home/family, health. Just write it all, and get it out of your head onto paper or computer. This relieves the strain of it all ricocheting around in your head. Circle or highlight the 3 top priorities. Then allow that just for today, you only progress on those, resting easy that the rest is all safely on a page you can return to. Repeat each day this week and see how much shifts for the better!
  4. Make good use of the adage ‘better done than perfect” where applicable. You’ll find it works for more tasks than you realized and is quite freeing. 
  5. Delegate anything, no matter how small. Hire someone to handle a piece. Ask a friend to help with another. Call upon anyone in your Support Circles, which I wrote about in April’s blog. If you didn’t catch it then, I know you’ll find it extremely helpful. 
  6. Take license to give up the gym, or not do a self care item, grab take out, let laundry or the lawn wait a day or two to unburden yourself. 
  7. Taking a walk, moving your body in some way, preferably in fresh air,  to shake out mental knots. Notice how the static in your body and spirit truly shifts with movement.  
  8. Do not underestimate the transformative power of noting what IS working through the day, what bits of beauty there are to take in, and the many small and big things to be grateful for.  Part of what causes burnout is how we speed from one thing to the next without taking time to pause, breathe and reconnect ourselves to the moment. This leads to making CHOICES about what we do next rather than juggling it all, all at once –which we know is impossible to maintain.

You’ve Got This! 

The benefit from having some experience under our belt is this: we’ve been wiped out before and know this too will pass and get better. The good news is even the smallest shifts can significantly help you relieve burnout. With each step, a bit of energy and clarity will return, making it easier to make any bigger shifts needed. It can get you back to feeling like yourself again, from which you can perform at work and enjoy life so much more. That’s the ultimate priority!  This is also a great time to call upon anyone in your 

Have hope when you feel burnt out, because you have choices about how to move yourself toward it till you’re there again.  If your staff is also suffering, even if it shows in subtle ways, as you know, my mantra is to fill your own well, so you can not only have what you need to then help your staff. And  it’s powerful if they see you modeling it yourself. 

If you want support for your planning process, I am here to help. It’s easy to reach out to me for a chat and see what can happen!

Transition Skills in the Workplace- How Do I Lead Now?

Leadership-In-The-workplace-How-Do-I-Lead-Now

There’s a lot of talk about transition skills in the workplace. How do I lead now is a question many are asking themselves. Covid isn’t exactly over, but businesses across the US are opening up. One thing is clear: There is no return to the workplace of the past. It’s a whole new frontier. But it is also an unprecedented opportunity to create something better. 

2020 showed us how marvelously adaptable we can be. Practically overnight, life as we knew it flew up in the air… then landed piece by piece, reconfiguring a new reality and ways of doing things. While the pandemic lessened the need for certain products and services, it created demand for others. Many who found themselves needing work took what was available, learning new skills on the fly. Others re-skilled themselves while in lockdown, anticipating shifts in the workplace. Some found they could continue and even grow in their field, no longer limited by location due to the entire globe operating online. 

Similarly, being effective at refining organizational culture for a hybrid workforce is requiring leaders to evolve their mindset and use – or develop – different skills. 

HOW DO I LEAD NOW?

An umbrella term for innovative thinking, Adaptive Leadership guides leaders to work with people on problems that can’t be resolved the traditional way.  A well-known model  based on the work of Ronald A. Heifetz and Marty Linsky, it creates a shift from everyone relying on you for the answers to you co-creating with teams and individuals, guiding them to come up with their own.

Engaging staff and listening with empathy is crucial to the process of navigating through transition. But what skills and methods will you need?

MAKE WELL BEING A PRIORITY

Well-being was a rising trend before Covid, but coming out of this last year’s prolonged anxiety, burnout, and grief, managing it now tops the list for a successful workplace. Forbes.com offers,“…we will need much more depth in social and emotional skills.” Here are some things you can incorporate:

  • SAFETY FIRST

Safety is a top concern in returning to work, and one of the easier problems to solve.  Discuss and survey what safety practices are most important to your staff . Find where their greatest concerns lie. From there, form safety standards and practices and immediately invest in whatever is needed — from plexiglass to disinfectant and cleaning supplies, to a mask policy. Letting them know what the new standards are will go a long way in those returning to feel protected and valued. If this isn’t done first, it will be at a price to the organization – from managing stressed out, less productive employees to losing them. 

  • MENTAL/PHYSICAL HEALTH

Due to continuing uncertainty, there are a lot of wide-ranging concerns around the return to work. Because so many really benefited from working at home, or are happy to get back to the office but in lockdown learned how valuable a work-life balance is, mental and physical health is undeniably top of mind for all. While HR is largely responsible for well being support, there is a lot you can do as a leader.

Arrange for HR come in to present about resources and opportunities for connection. 

MODEL SELF CARE

Keep reasonable hours at the office, make time during work to eat healthfully, use a standing or walking desk, take short breaks, get fresh air, put fresh flowers or photos on your desk, etc.

Inspire good boundaries, especially for those who work at home. Don’t call them before or after business hours or on weekends unless it’s an emergency, encourage them to take vacation days, and approve time for their healthcare visits.  

OPEN UP COMMUNICATION

Find new ways to keep the lines of communication open ie: scheduling one-on-one conversations in your office, creating workshops around it, and setting up a private suggestion portal. Check in regularly with remote workers to prevent them feeling out of the loop, and encourage personal check ins the first 10+ minutes of online meetings to sustain camaraderie. Start with a clear invitation for a two-way conversation, then be a receptive, active listener. Truly hearing your workforce is critical to holding on to them, for they will play a significant role in the next steps for the organization.  

  • EMPATHIZE

People have been through a LOT – but you have too!  That commonality lays groundwork for an authentic connection which can inspire trust and loyalty. Having employees help create what’s next rather than top down directives will invest them in the transition’s success and show in their best work. 

  • BE FRANK

Your team will respond better in uncertain times to what is known and unknown, even if it isn’t great news, because they sense the truth of it.  If they are informed about where things are really at, they can invent and employ far more effective solutions.  

Keep up consistent, clear communication, including expectations as they evolve. This is a very important skill to shepherd people through uncertain times which gives them what they need to be reliable and committed as things become more certain.

COURAGEOUS LEADERSHIP

The key to great leadership is courage. Apply your brand of courage to the challenge of building a hybrid culture based on the well being of the workforce and the values of the company and.

Rather than ramping straight up to what was, put people first and co-create what’s next with them. This is the ticket to hang on to the most valued talent while being very attractive to the best candidates to fill new positions.  

Next month I will be covering how to manage hybrid schedules and teams. Don’t miss it!  Better yet, please sign up for my monthly newsletter to get each month’s blog, inspiration and uplifting resources straight to your inbox.