Burnout isn’t new and burnout recovery isn’t easy. According to new research from Future Forum, workplace stress has resulted in an all-time high level of burnout.
The World Health Organization defines burnout as an increased mental distance from one’s job, feelings of energy depletion, and negativity, among 10,243 full-time desk-based workers polled in six countries, including the United States and the United Kingdom.
It is the highest level of work burnout since the Future Forum began measuring it in May 2021. Approximately 38% of workers reported burnout at that time.
Burnout is more likely to occur in women and younger workers than in everyone else.
Almost half of 18-to-29-year-olds (48%) reported feeling drained, compared with 40% of those aged 30 and up, while women (46%) reported feeling more burnt out than men (37%).
Regardless, burnout recovery can take a long time, and it will depend on many factors as to how long it takes. To allow you to bounce back quickly from burnout, here are some factors that influence recovery.
How Long Does Burnout Recovery Take?
A person’s recovery from burnout will differ from one to another. “It can take anywhere from a few months to a few years,” says registered psychotherapist Natacha Duke, MA, RP.
Regardless, recovering from burnout can take time, and the duration varies based on several factors.
1. Employment length
The length of time you work under stressful conditions influences the speed at which you recover from burnout. When you have had chronic and low-grade burnout for years, your nervous system may take just as long to recover as it did before. As such, continuing in your existing profession may also prolong burnout recovery.
2. The severity of burnout
It will likely take longer for you to recover from burnout if it is severe. The recovery process may take several months or even years if you are experiencing severe symptoms such as fatigue, anxiety, and depression.
Although many of us recognize the symptoms of severe burnout, we are often unaware that successful, high-performing creatives may also suffer from a more subtle and obscured type of fatigue. Even though we might appear composed at first, we can lose our passion for work and commitment to our organizations as time goes on.
According to Michael E. Kibler, CEO of Corporate Balance Concepts, this type of burnout is the slower, more sinister cousin of burnout.
“Brownout, a term also used to describe part of the life cycle of a star, is different from burnout because knowledge workers afflicted by it are not in obvious crisis,” he explains in HBR. “They seem to be performing fine: putting in massive hours in meetings and calls across time zones, grinding out work while leading or contributing to global teams, and saying all the right things in meetings (though not in side-bar conversations).”
He adds that for these executives, it is not uncommon for them to “operate in a state of continuous overwhelm,” with the predictable result of disengagement.
3. Personal history
Those who have had pre-existing conditions in the past, such as anxiety or depression, may have more difficulty recovering from burnout. Burnout recovery will likely take a longer time.
4. Coping mechanisms
It is also important to remember that how you cope with the issue will play a part in your recovery time. A person is more likely to recover faster if they have healthy coping mechanisms, such as exercising, learning relaxation techniques, and having social support available to them.
5. Personality traits
Of course, we know the resilience of some people is greater than that of others. Those who are naturally resilient will likely recover from burnout faster.
Why? While resilient people experience stress, setbacks, and complicated emotions, they harness their strengths and work through challenges with the help of support systems. Furthermore, resilience empowers them to deal with situations and adapt.
6. The presence of other stressors
Personally, this shouldn’t be surprising. Recovery from burnout may be more difficult if another stressor is present, such as financial problems or a family member with a severe health issue.
7. Availability of support
Having the proper support can also speed up your recovery. Are your friends, family, and employer supportive? Your chances of recovering are better if you have these resources.
According to Deloitte, lack of recognition or support from leadership is the top workplace factor that drives employee burnout (31%).
Having a heavy workload may make a recovery from burnout more difficult. Whether you are bouncing over to your next scheduled meeting or working through your endless list of tasks, your recovery will be hampered, and you will feel more stressed.
Additionally, The Wiseman Group’s study of the most influential people in the workplace found that burnout is not necessarily caused by too much work. Burnout tends to occur when there is not enough impact. After all, almost everyone wants to make a difference, but not everyone aspires to be a job holder.
Burnout occurs differently in different industries.
According to Gallup, four out of ten K-12 teachers in the U.S. (44 percent) feel burnt out at work “always” or “very often.” At 35 percent, college and university workers are the most burned-out group of Americans. This was followed by:
- Professional services
- Government or public policy
- Community/Social Services
10. Degree of autonomy
As a fundamental element of an employee’s experience, autonomy is crucial to their job satisfaction and well-being.
The concept of autonomy in the workplace refers to the ability of an employee to make their own decisions about their work, be in control of their tasks, and decide how their work is accomplished. Consequently, employees may feel constrained, disengaged, and ultimately burnt out when they lack autonomy.
11. Work-life balance
According to Deloitte, A top factor contributing to employee burnout is consistently working long hours or weekends (29 percent).
Maintaining a healthy work-life balance will help you recover faster from burnout. The reason? The more time you spend away from work, the more chances you have to relax, recharge, and pursue your interests.
There are many forms of unfair treatment, including “bias, favoritism, mistreatment by a coworker or supervisor, and unfair compensation and/or corporate policies,” writes Jennifer Moss, author of the new book The Burnout Epidemic: The Rise of Chronic Stress and How We Can Fix It. People who are mistreated tend to burn out and take more sick days as a result.
According to Moss, organizations should implement complaint mechanisms, respond promptly to grievances, and resolve issues promptly. If not, resentment will fester and grow. Furthermore, racial or gender bias must be eliminated, as discrimination increases burnout risk significantly.
How Can You Speed Up Burnout Recovery?
To accelerate burnout recovery, you can do several things to help yourself. Try these:
- Take a break from work. You should take a vacation or some other type of extended break from work if you can. It will allow you to recharge and relax.
- Find out what stresses you out. At work, what causes you stress? You can develop strategies for coping with your stressors once you know what they are.
- Adapt your lifestyle. Take steps to improve your well-being and reduce stress by changing your lifestyle. Examples include eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, practicing relations techniques, and sleeping enough.
- Establish boundaries. Get in the habit of saying no to extra work or commitments. By doing so, you will prevent yourself from feeling overwhelmed and overextended.
- Throughout the day, take breaks. Try moving around or getting some fresh air by stepping outside. Maintaining focus and staying refreshed can be accomplished by taking these regular breaks.
- Give tasks to others. You don’t have to do everything by yourself. You can ask your colleagues or team members for assistance.
- Consider getting professional help. You should seek professional help if you cannot cope with burnout on your own. Identifying the root cause of your burnout and developing coping mechanisms to handle stress can be done by a therapist.
Several factors can affect burnout recovery time. However, you can do some things to speed up the recovery process. To combat and recover from burnout more quickly, you should get enough sleep, practice relaxation techniques, engage in activities you enjoy, and seek professional help if necessary.