7 Ways to Avoid Burnout in Leadership Positions
Every day leaders are faced with challenges and obstacles that can make them feel hopeless, tired, or overwhelmed. It is common for leaders to experience what is called “burnout”- a state of physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion.
Leaders frequently find themselves in these situations because they have been focusing on helping their team instead of taking care of themselves.
Self-care makes all the difference in how peaceful your leadership journey is and in your ability to avoid burnout in leadership. Here are some quick tips to help you get back up again!
Remember your vision
You are a leader because you have a vision that is worth sharing with others and the world, so it’s important for you to remind yourself of how much value you bring individually. No matter how burnt out you may feel, it’s important to take time and remind yourself of what makes you a leader in the first place.
What is your motivation to be a leader? Whether it’s to help make your workplace less toxic, to improve the product your company delivers, or even to earn a better salary, these are all important motivators, and keeping them top of mind when you are feeling the stress of leadership will help you to refresh and keep going.
Relax and destress
Find ways to relax or destress by doing things like taking deep breaths, going on walks outside, or even taking a nap. Find a way to do something you love once in a while so that you’re able to “get out of your head” for a while.
Whether you like to go out on a Friday night with friends, read an interesting book for 20 minutes before bedtime, or take the dog outside before work starts, small things can make a big difference in how you deal with stress.
Remember: all work and no play makes Jane a very tired, stressed and burnt out leader.
When you’re feeling down, you might tell yourself that it’s a “character flaw” or something to feel guilty about. But when we treat ourselves like this, it can lead to demoralization and depression and make us more likely to quit in the face of challenges.
The key is practicing compassion for our imperfections without beating up on ourselves too much! Remind yourself that it’s okay, “I’m so tired right now. I’ve been working hard lately and deserve a break!”
Take care of yourself
Another essential way to avoid burnout in leadership is to take care of yourself with healthy habits like exercise, sleep, or relaxation techniques such as meditation. Eat healthy foods, drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration, and exercise regularly. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep each night too.
Modeling healthy habits for their team is just one more way that leaders can show team members what it means to take good care of themselves, which in turn helps them take better care of themselves.
Write down your goals
This might sound cheesy but write down your goals for at least five minutes every day or so when you feel most drained. This shows both your brain and body that there’s still hope ahead on the horizon.
It also forces you to articulate how you want things to go differently next time around so that even if you don’t reach your goal, you’ll have a better idea of what to do next.
Reflect on your successes
Take time to reflect on your successes. It’s important to think about all that you have accomplished and all that you are capable of accomplishing in the future. We all experience setbacks, but one setback, or even a series of setbacks do not define us. You have experienced success before and you will again.
Don’t give up
It’s okay if all this sounds tough–all leaders experience times when they feel defeated and need encouragement. But you can’t give up, your team needs you. And even more importantly you need to find a place of peace and balance so you can maintain a healthy mindset.
There’s nothing wrong with feeling defeated or tired, but you must remember that these are normal feelings and you can’t let them stop you from pursuing what is meaningful in life.
You are not alone
It helps to know we aren’t alone, even though we sometimes feel like no one understands us when we’re experiencing these feelings. You might feel isolated in your leadership position but this isn’t the case–you are actively leading others who need you and there are people who will help you if you reach out.
There is no shame in asking for help. As a leader, you are used to having great ideas and are independent by nature, but you also need to know that you can’t do it all yourself.
Is it an absolute necessity for you to develop a support system of others who care about you and will listen. It’s important to know that you’re not alone in the struggles you face.
Whether it’s through informal mentoring relationships with other leaders or formal coaching sessions, there are ways for people to support you and help keep you going when times get tough!
Yes, your team depends on you, but it’s a good thing for you to lean on others as well. Leadership doesn’t mean you are alone. Reach out and use the tips above to help regain perspective and find your joy in leading again.
Here at the Leadership Reformation, we have a wide variety of resources available. Check out our blog for additional leadership tips or take a look at our online courses to help you maintain a positive outlook and keep balance in your leadership.
About the Author
by Dr. Sara Baker
A leadership enthusiast, website and elearning developer, and believer that everyone deserves a workplace that builds and supports its people.
Don't wait for someone else to be the positive force of leadership that brings good to the world, do it yourself!