There’s no doubt I love New York and I love being a Software Engineer. There’s infinite things to do and cool neighborhoods/restaurants/museums/random fun stuff to checkout all the time in NYC. In addition, I am constantly enamored by the myriad of learning opportunities and friendships software continues bringing into my life. With that said, as a Software Engineer in New York, I find myself constantly fighting burnout.
Sometimes I feel like I’m burning the candle at both ends when trying to balance working full time, challenging myself and learning new things, maintaining a social life, going to meetups, working out, family obligations, and getting adequate sleep. Even though Stride proactively tries to prevent employee burnout, keeping my overall happiness regularly in check requires a delicate balance.
As a result, I am becoming more self aware to acknowledge the concept of burnout, recognize the burnout signs in myself, and taking actionable steps to help prevent burning out.
Burnout is real.
Burnout is a psychological term referring to long-term exhaustion and diminished interest in work. The term came about in the 1970s when psychologist, Herbert Freudenberger, published a paper about the effects of work’s excessive demands. These effects, Freudenberger concluded, caused exhaustion and produced “physical symptoms such as headaches and sleeplessness, ‘quickness to anger,’ and closed thinking.”
Signs that you or someone you know may be burning out:
- general fatigue / lack of energy
- mood changes
- being disengaged
- general unhappiness
- problems sleeping
Steps to prevent burnout:
1. TREAT YO SELF
- have a spa day
- buy your favorite ice cream / snack / treat
- buy an item on your Amazon wishlist
- go to a Broadway show
- check out a museum you have never been to; a lot of museums have a free day
- go see stand up comedy
- just do something special for yourself
2. Disconnect from Technology
“WHATT!!?!?!?!?! but software is my job and my gram feed be poppin right now.” I know, I get that, and it’s hard for me to put the phone down too. But, maybe it’s time for a digital detox? Studies have shown that disconnecting from technology helps you rest.
- try not allowing electronics in your bedroom
- try going without your phone for a certain period of time and access how you feel
3. Take a vacation
- take a trip to a country you’ve never been to before. (Anyone interested in going to New Zealand?)
- go on a hike
- take a day trip
- have a fun staycation
- take a meditation class
- go to yoga
- hit the gym
- join a running group
- go rock climbing
- go for a long walk or bike ride
- sign up for those dance lessons you’ve always wanted to take
- go to a dance party
6. Get in touch with Nature
- go camping
- visit a botanical garden
- take a walk in one of NYC’s many parks
7. Be Social
- join a new meetup group
- try a cooking class
- volunteer — what better way to lift your mood than to help others! Giving === a lot of getting :)
- walk dogs at local shelters
- help out at a soup kitchen
- spend time with the elderly
- teach kids how to code!
- get out there and talk to people. There are so many people to connect with who have interesting stories to share
8. Work less
- if possible, leave by a certain time each day no matter what, e.g. — by 5 p.m.
- try not to bring work home with you
9. Attitude of gratitude
- try to be mindful of your attitude
- it helps sometimes to recognize how lucky we are. There are people who are going through severe struggles.
- appreciate the little things in life
- pay it forward
10. Get enough sleep
- plan for days of rest — It’s okay to do nothing. In fact, doing nothing is sometimes amazing
- be mindful of your caffeine intake. Limit or perhaps monitor it
- remove electronics from the bedroom
- try to get home earlier to make sure you have enough time to unwind and be in bed by a certain time
- use a sleep tracker app — try to become more aware of your sleep patterns
11. Seek help
- it’s okay to ask for help. Don’t be afraid to reach out to those around you for support.
- educate yourself — There are plenty of resources at your fingertips about burnout and preventing it
- go to therapy — There is never shame in seeking support and in learning or in self improvement
I hope this helps 💖.
Whenever I am feeling a possible burnout, I am always uplifted by thinking about the many things I can do to empower myself. Getting out there, trying new things, treating myself, etc., helps keep me in check when I find myself teetering on the brim of burnout. I can usually alleviate burnout by planning a vacation, planning enough fun activities for myself, and sometimes by slowing down when I am doing too much.