Everyone loves trying to be their most productive self. Especially if you’re running a small business then you want to be on top of your productivity. It’s such a great feeling finishing the day having completed loads of tasks and checking off all of your to-dos. Unfortunately, this can get out of control when you put too much pressure on yourself. There’s nothing worse than wanting to be your most productive self but instead, you bury yourself in work and end up frying your brain or giving yourself tasks that bore you… Yes, that is possible. We’re going to get into the idea of boreout (burnout’s fav cousin) – What it is, what the symptoms are, and how to avoid it and we’ll discuss burnout too!
We’ll Be Discussing:
- What Burnout Is
- What Boreout Is
- Symptoms Of Both
- How To Avoid Them
9 TOP TIPS FOR AVOIDING BURNOUT & BOREOUT
- Healthy Diet
- Healthy Sleep Habit
- Regular Breaks From Work
- Speak To Someone
- Create A Balance
- Learn Something New
- Find What Motivates You
WHAT IS BURNOUT
So, you most likely know what burnout is or heard about it here or there, but in case you haven’t, according to the WHO burnout is a syndrome that is caused by ‘chronic workplace stress that has not been managed successfully’. While this sounds quite harsh to blame someone’s management skills as there can be external factors (such as a boss dumping a stack of files on your desk that need to be completed that day!), for all you lovely people who work for yourself then you might only have yourself to blame… but that’s okay! That’s exactly why we’re going to get into how to manage your burnout (and boreout… once we get to it).
So, what causes this burnout syndrome? Well, there are a few triggers that can cause burnout which are (obviously) all related to your work/ workload. The first is having unreasonable time pressure, this means that you haven’t got enough time to complete all the tasks you’ve been given and this causes you to burn out. This trigger could be very apparent when you’re a one-woman-show… When you’ve got so many parts of your business to run then all the tasks that need to get done will no doubt catch up with you.
The second trigger is having a lack of role clarity, this means that you don’t have a clear view of what it is that your role expects from you. Again, when you’re running a small business then you’re most likely not going to know exactly what you need to be doing in all the different departments. It’s all a learning curve and you must give yourself the time you need to fully understand everything it is that your business needs from you.
The third trigger is having an unmanageable workload which, as a small business owner, is bound to happen when you have all these roles and so many tasks to complete. All of these triggers are pretty much all tied up with one another when it comes to running a small business and it’s so easy to let all of this overwhelm you. Remember to go easy on yourself when you need it and to spend time getting your tasks prioritized and be realistic with how long you need to get them done. This will help reduce burnout which is not fun and will keep you from being productive in the long run.
WHAT IS BOREOUT
Boreout is very similar to burnout, both have similar symptoms and ways to prevent them. The main difference is what triggers them. While burnout’s triggers are too much work, not enough time and not being clear on what to do… Boreout’s triggers are because the work isn’t challenging enough and therefore ‘bores’ you.
The triggers for boreout include repetitive tasks, easy/ unchallenging work and underwhelming/ boring tasks. By constantly having to do work that is aimless and doesn’t challenge you can take a toll on your mental health. Most people would think that doing boring work is easy and you can just get on with it, but after so long the boredom can become damaging and cause a lot of stress and anxiety.
SYMPTOMS OF BOTH BURNOUT AND BOREOUT
The symptoms for both burnout and boreout are similar and all cause damage to your mental health whereas some can also cause damage to your physical health.
There are quite a few symptoms when it comes to burnout and boreout. Most of them are relevant to both syndromes and some not so much. It’s important to know what these are so that you can identify whether you experience them or not.
When your work is overwhelming you then it’s no doubt going to affect your performance. Your work isn’t going to be done to the standard that it’s meant to be at and this can further demotivate you as your work is constantly not as good as it should be turning into a vicious cycle.
This is another symptom of both syndromes, your creativity is going to take a hit if your brain isn’t working at its full potential. This can cause you to struggle to come up with good ideas, or any ideas at all, a kind of brain block. This can be very frustrating especially if you’re on a tight deadline which can also contribute to your stress.
This can be a symptom of both burnout and boreout and it’s when you’ve worked so long and so hard on a task or a project that it leaves your brain fried and completely exhausted. This isn’t something from a bad night’s sleep, but because you are so overwhelmed and overworked that you physically can’t take it.
Head & stomach aches
Sometimes the workloads can be so overwhelming (or underwhelming in boreout’s case) that they cause you physical symptoms. The most common are headaches, and can be very frustrating and painful too. This can, in turn, cause the quality of your work to suffer, and is much better to stop working completely than trying to push through. You can also get stomachaches but this is caused more by burnout than boreout.
Anxiety, Sadness & Depression
All 3 of these are symptoms of both syndromes and can be highly damaging to your mental health. Although they are all very different and range in severity they can all be caused by feeling overwhelmed by your workload and lack of time or by just not enjoying the work that you’re doing. While you should do your best to recognize all of the symptoms discussed, if you experience any of these 3 it’s important to speak to a professional before moving forward and definitely should not brush them aside.
All of these symptoms are bad and it’s very important to be self-aware and as soon as you notice any of them you make the changes needed to prevent them from continuing to happen. This leads to our next section about how to avoid both burnout and boreout.
HOW TO AVOID BURNOUT AND BOREOUT
So now that we know what symptoms come with both burnout and boreout, we can discuss how to avoid them. While all of these should be able to help prevent burnout and boreout from happening, remember that if you are experiencing anything serious then be sure to speak to a professional. Your physical and mental health are way more important than any workload that needs doing! No one wants to experience burnout and boredom, so let’s get into it!
As soon as you experience any of the symptoms we discussed earlier, it is important to stop what you’re doing, establish what is causing it and take a step back. You must be already taking care of yourself and taking part in self-care activities not just when something goes wrong. The next three tips are examples of self-care that you should always be doing to keep your mental and physical health in top shape.
It’s so important to make sure that you are always nourishing your body with healthy foods. It sometimes helps to think of food as fuel for your body (and it is), that you need food to survive. It’s easy to be working so long and hard that you skip a meal and power through your dinner times but it’s not helping you in the slightest. If you drill into your brain that you need to nourish your body then you’ll be more strict with yourself to ensure you are eating your meals and taking those food breaks.
Moving your body whether it’s a long brisk walk, or lifting weights at the gym or running on the treadmill, or taking part in a dance or Zumba class, it’s great for your body and mind to exercise. You also get a hit of endorphins when you exercise which makes you feel great as well! Getting your blood moving and the oxygen circulating is so good for you and your body and mind will thank you for it!
Healthy Sleep Habit
Sleep is as important as food is when it comes to your health. We’re all so easy to dismiss sleep as a need of ours and it’s always the first thing we’re ready to compromise on. In reality, sleep is when our body rests and recuperates and we need to take and use this time properly so that our bodies are at their full potential.
Regular Breaks From Work
Just like not eating enough and not sleeping enough, working non-stop all day is unsustainable. This is why it is very important to take regular small breaks during your working day So that you are not overwhelming yourself or putting yourself under too much pressure. Having these little breaks gives your brain the time to rest ever so slightly before continuing on the task or project at hand.
Speak To Someone
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms that we discussed earlier it is very important to speak to someone whether that’s a friend or family member, someone that you work with, or a professional. If the symptoms are still early on and aren’t as bad as they could get, then discussing what you’re going through can give you the chance to think about how you can resolve the situation on your own before it gets worse.
Create A Balance
A great way to avoid burnout or boreout is to have a balance in your life. It is important that once you have established a balance that you keep the boundaries fixed, work is work and personal is personal. Make sure that your personal time is not being merged with your work time so that you can differentiate it in your space, in your mind, and your body when you are working and when you are relaxing. Having an effective work-life balance is a key factor when it comes to your mental health.
Learn Something New
This tip is specifically for boreout, if you are experiencing boreout this is most likely because you are bored, underwhelmed, or under-challenged by your workload. By finding a new hobby or learning a new skill you are giving your brain a chance to excite itself. Technically this can only really serve as a distraction from your work, however, if you can somehow infiltrate this new skill into your work then it should be able to keep things entertaining and your boreout to a minimum.
Find What Motivates You
Again, this is more for if you are experience boreout and is a lot easier said than done but, if you can, look into yourself and figure out what it is that motivates you then hopefully you will be able to bring this into your work. By reminding yourself what it is about what you do that you love so much and reminding yourself of your ‘why’ then you should be able to get things back on track. You can also work on getting into your flow which is a great tactic for being at your most productive. You can read all about what flow is and how to reach it in our article here.
While these tips have been split into the two syndromes, you might find that something that is meant to help with one, may help with the other as well. Since they are both so similar it is likely that the ways to prevent them will overlap too. So keep that in mind!
So there you have it, everything you need to know about burnout and boreout from the differences between them, the similarities, the symptoms, and how to avoid them. Hopefully, this has given you some insight and will be able to help you identify if you have ever experienced or are experiencing either of these syndromes. Always remember to go easy on yourself, running a small business is hard but it’s a lot harder if your health is not at its best whether that is physical or mental. And if things ever get too much, please speak to a professional.
Have a read of our article on how to prevent burnout while working from home for some more tips, tricks, and information!
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