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How to Beat Burnout and Return to You Before 2022

Updated: Oct 30, 2021

By Judy Schoenberg and Linda Lautenberg

Does this fall feel different to you?

We’ve heard from so many colleagues and women we work with at EvolveMe that stress and burnout are at a peak compared to years past.

Living with constant uncertainty for nearly 2 years has put pressure on women's careers. We’re doing more on the job and at home. And while working remotely during this time has meant greater flexibility, it’s also meant greater isolation, impacting our mental health -- and our ability to cope with burnout.

More than half of employees are considering a career change right now. A key reason is that In the midst of work and life disruption, employees feel managers don’t understand them and the issues they’re facing outside of work. In fact, empathy is considered a top leadership skill right now for employee attraction and retention.

This is particularly true for female employees, who bear the brunt of caregiving responsibilities - for children, parents, or both. Burnout leads to stress and exhaustion and can cause women who are working to opt out, and those who were thinking of returning to work to give up before they even get started.

After a McKinsey & Company / Lean In study on burnout came out, we ran an EvolveMe + LinkedIn poll that concluded, based on 1k+ votes, that the primary sources of burnout were:

  • 24/7 work days blurring the lines of work and home

  • Lack of direction and confidence

  • Lack of support and recognition

In our conversations with women across industries and roles, we’ve identified one overarching issue.

Women are at the bottom of their own list.

Does this sound like you?

  • You’re putting everything - and everyone - else before yourself -- kids, husband, work, friends, anything!

  • You live in service to your company, your family, your volunteer roles, even your pets.

Is this getting you where you want to go in your career?

When you shift your thinking to put yourself 1st and make yourself a priority, only then will you feel in charge of your career. Don’t blame yourself -- your feelings are not your fault.

As women, we’re conditioned to support others -- it often gives us a sense of purpose. But when we’re not refueling our own tank, we’ve got nothing left for ourselves.

Here how you can recharge:

#1 Ask for help. We often feel we have to be perfect and do it all on our own -- if we don’t, it’s a sign of weakness, right? Nothing can be further from the truth. When you have self-compassion and ask for support, you give other women permission to do the same. Just the act of reaching out can improve your mindset.

#2 Connect with other women. Working remotely has its advantages, giving us the flexibility we need. But the downside is a lack of connection. Take time to have coffee, take a walk or attend a live/virtual event with other women in the same boat as you.

#3 Limit your digital devices “after hours”. If the 24/7 work culture is depleting you, create your own boundaries. Devise a rule for yourself such as not picking up your phone past 7p. Instead replace it with something that brings you joy like reading a book or spending time with your family and friends.

#4 Add breaks into your schedule. When you schedule yourself in back to back meetings without a cushion for a break or a meal, you won’t have energy to focus. Make time for a walk or exercise during the day. Create buffer time in your schedule so you appear in it too!

#5 Take time off to invest in you. Companies are starting to offer employees to take a pause from their routines in the form of a sabbatical, sometimes with a stipend or reduced salary. Even if you don’t have the opportunity to take a sabbatical, think about one step you can take to carve out space for yourself for professional or personal growth.

Burnout is progressive and if you’re feeling that your levels of stress are beyond what’s normal for you it’s time to act.

If this sounds difficult, not to worry! You’re not alone. Sometimes we get in the way of our own happiness. If you want to get a head start on beating burnout, check your mindsets with this free training: 6 Mindset Traps that Sabotage Career Transition in Midlife.

At EvolveMe, we want more for you. More meaning. More headspace. More fulfilment. Don’t forget to put your own oxygen mask on first!


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