Real Ways to Banish the Stress That Causes Burnout

We all know what we generally should do to reduce stress—eat healthy, sleep more—“so the challenge is finding what that looks like for each of us,” says Leah Weiss, a lecturer at Stanford Graduate School of Business and author of How We Work: Live Your Purpose, Reclaim Your Sanity, and Embrace the Daily Grind.

To help you reduce your stress, here are some strategies to consider:

Tune out of your head—and into your senses.

Doing this for just 30 seconds throughout the day helps Yunha Kim, founder and CEO of Simple Habit. Try “feeling your feet on the floor, looking at the colors around the room and just appreciating that you can see the colors, liking the smell that you can smell in the room and hearing all the sounds,” she says.

Build buffers into your day.

Kristin Wong, author of Get Money: Live the Life You Want, Not Just the Life You Can Afford, has found that intentionally overestimating how long things will take, and so build in buffers that way, helps keep her sane. She also advises scheduling an hour a week to do nothing. “It sounds silly, but it makes a big difference, because if it’s not there, you will fill it with something else,” she says.

Keep a daily journal.

Writing about her day helped Ali Stripling return from a serious case of burnout to her role as senior manager for community and inclusion at Arm. When she journals, she says she asks herself, “what has been great about today? What have I found challenging about today and what can I do differently about that tomorrow?”

Commit to not checking your email after office hours.

If you stop opening emails after work, people will stop expecting you to respond. And if you’re the boss, you can set the example for your whole team. Says Stripling: “We have to take back some control of our lives. I love my job; I could do it 24/7. But I also love my life and I’ve got to give to that.”

This article is based on 2019 Watermark Conference for women breakout session “Burnout Recovery: End Exhaustion and Regain Your Spark” Listen to it here.


More from the April 2019 Newsletter >>