How to Create Boundaries in Your Career and Avoid Burnout

We have all been there! You get a new job, position, or gig that feels perfect for you. They provide all the benefits you’ve been looking for, and maybe even include some fun perks in the offer! But once you begin the role, you realize there’s way more responsibilities than that LinkedIn job description listed. Maybe you end up dealing with a micromanaging boss who second guesses your every move. Working overtime is part of the company culture, and if you leave the office on time you feel guilty rather than relaxed. We all know that money is a necessity for our survival, but what happens when a toxic work culture leads to burnout and exhaustion? 

The pandemic has changed our approach to work in many different ways. Upkeeping mental health and self care is the top priority for many now. It is possible to maintain your sanity in a demanding job, but it does require personal boundary setting! A healthy work/life balance is essential, especially when projects or deadlines are demanding more of your energy and time. A happy employee makes for better results in the long run! If you find yourself heading quickly to burnout, take a step back and readdress where too much is being demanded of you. Standing your ground in the workforce can feel daunting, but there are simple ways to create stronger boundaries.

Here are some tips to help you prioritize yourself in the workforce:

Get to Know Your Handbook, and Read the Fine Print

Remember that little handbook you were given your first week of training? That manual can be your best friend when it comes to your job! Go back and reread it, get to know your company policies. This book not only protects the company, but also exists to help you with understanding your employee rights. Knowing your holiday pay periods, allotted vacation times, and included benefits are all important information. This can help you with holding your company accountable with their practices! This handbook is great to refer back to if there’s any issues in the future with workplace practices. 

Use That Vacation Time!

Feeling guilty about requesting that week off for your Tulum trip? Don’t be. Companies give vacation time for a reason, and not using it doesn’t prove that you’re an all star employee. Even if you don’t have a getaway planned, using that time to relax at home is still valid. Overworking yourself does not make you more valuable to a company! It can lead to managers becoming overly reliant on you and a mental and physical drain. Even if you are lounging in bed for a week, your time off is valid! You will feel much better coming back to work rested and rejuvenated after some personal time for yourself.

Use Transparency with Managers

None of us like letting people down, but sometimes a workload is too much for one person to handle! At the end of the day you’re still a human, not a superhero. If your workload feels overwhelming, let your manager know! The sooner you ask for help, the sooner you can possibly get assistance to help you complete your task. It’s not unrealistic to need help, and being able to work well with others is a good thing. Remember to do the best you can with the means that you have, even if you cannot complete the full task. Make sure to vocalize your needs and put them in writing. This ensures that the conversation with upper management was had!

Take an Actual Lunch Break

We can sometimes fall into a bad habit of eating at our desk or in our place of work, especially with intense deadlines! When it’s time for a break, step away from your computer and emails and get outside. Workplaces can feel like a tunnel of stress, and stepping back into the real world can remind us of what is actually important. A short walk during your break or a quick phone call with a friend or family member can be the much needed mood booster. A quick 15 minute meditation can also bring you back to inner peace and stability. If a coworker or manager asks for you during your break time, let them know you’ll see to it when you’re back on the clock. Your breaks are uninterrupted time for you to enjoy, treat it as such!

It can be hard to maintain a self care routine while working a demanding position! Remember that your job does not define who you are as a person. It is a source of means to help you achieve your greater goals. When you’re off the clock, your priority is yourself and the rest of your life responsibilities. Communicate with management when an ask is too demanding. You’ll be surprised at how willing people are to help you the more you practice clear communication, transparency, and boundary setting! 


Featured photo: unknown

Ellen Bowles is a creative, healer, and writer from Los Angeles, CA. Ellen is the co-author of ASTROLOGY SOS: An Astrological Survival Guide to Life, published by Hardie Grant UK and Chronicle Books. She has been featured in publications such as Well+Good, Bustle, PopSugar, and InStyle.

Instagram: @ellensbowles


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