Whether you’re grinding it out at a job you love or collecting a paycheck from a stepping-stone position, it’s not uncommon to put in long hours as you advance your career. It’s true—cancelling after-work meetups or weekend plans with friends might help you get ahead at the office in the short term. However, once you add in conditions like a long commute, an inflexible schedule or a high-stress role, you may find out the hard way you have a perfect recipe for burnout.
Burnout is a state of unshakable exhaustion usually caused by chronic stress. It’s sometimes accompanied by feelings of worthlessness, helplessness or a loss of identity. While this may sound similar to depression, job burnout is unique in that it’s instigated by the conditions of your workplace.
Burnout symptoms vary person to person, but one significant sign to look for is a lack of control within your role (which may feel stifling or counterproductive to your career efforts). Other symptoms include trouble sleeping and insomnia (despite exhaustion), decrease in appetite, bursts of anger or mood changes, physical changes (like sudden weight gain or hair loss), difficulty concentrating, and a cynical outlook about your job or overall career.
The most helpful ways to combat burnout start with changes at your job. This might include a reduction in hours, a schedule change or moving to a lateral roll that shifts some of your work responsibilities. Since not all of these solutions are easily attainable, there are actions you can take on your own to help boost your resiliency and recover from burnout.
Begin with your living space. Turn your bedroom into a calming oasis that cultivates a sense of well-being and helps improve your sleep. Sleep deprivation effects exasperate burnout, so your first priority is to banish electronics to the living room. The blue light emitted by electronics has been shown to suppress the body’s natural melatonin, and the stimulation of TVs and tablets can make it harder to wind down for sleep.
Reduce clutter on your nightstand and dresser, and invest in a cozy loveseat or plush armchair. This nook can be a space where you read, unwind or journal at the end of a hard day. Keep a pen and notebook handy. Even writing down a list of the day’s biggest challenges, or creating a quick list of what needs to be tended to tomorrow can help clear your mind and promote a sense of calm before sleep.
Choose the right mattress and bedding. If you aren’t comfortable when you lay down at night, this can compound with other stressors or symptoms of burnout. In addition to ensuring your bed is optimized for sleep, build a nighttime routine that helps signal to your brain and body that the day is done. This might include making (or unmaking) your bed, taking a warm shower, drinking a cup of decaf tea or committing to a brief session of stretching or meditation.
Burnout is a serious condition, and it may take some trial and error to determine if you’re feeling depressed, burned out, or just dealing with a temporary period of work-related stress. No matter what’s troubling you, creating a restorative and calming home environment is one helpful change that can add to your overall peace of mind.
Looking for more tips or inspo for creating a relaxing living space? You’ll find everything you need—including the perfect rental furniture for any room of your home—right here.