Anti-Burnout Challenge, Day 5: Make a Connection

On the fifth and last day of our exercise, get in touch with your friends, family, and community to remind yourself what’s most important.

This is Day 5 of our five-day anti-burnout challenge. Day 1 was about shutting down; Day 2 was about self-compassion; Day 3 was about completing the stress cycle; Day 4 was about reconnecting with your purpose.

Part of the problem with burnout is that it drains joy in all areas of our lives, not just work. You don’t want to do anything at the end of the workday, even when it’s something you know from experience would bring you pleasure. Today, push back by reminding yourself that life isn’t just about work and stress; it’s about making connections with people.

Today’s anti-burnout challenge: Make a connection.

How to Make a Connection When You’re Burned Out

When you’re burned out, it might seem like an undertaking to socialize or open up to others. But you don’t have to commit to something big that might cause you more stress—say, a formal dinner or an all-day outing. It can be as simple as sending a postcard to a long-distance friend (or a short-distance friend), a 10-minute phone call with a relative you don’t talk with often, or even just sending a funny GIF to someone you know would appreciate it. The goal is to remind yourself that you’re here to be a part of a community in some way. Just one rule: If you reach out to a work friend, you can’t talk about work!

Bonus challenge: Connect with someone by alleviating their stress. It may seem counterintuitive to offer to help others when you’re trying to fix your own burnout. But we all feel better after helping someone—it takes us out of ourselves for a moment and reminds ourselves of our true value.

This could simply be making a connection with someone and letting them vent about something if they want. Or it could be taking some small task off someone else’s plate—just make sure not to offer to help out with something that will add significant stress to you or that is an ongoing commitment. Maybe it’s just doing the dishes if that’s normally not your household role, or offering to do a small work task for someone who is overloaded.

Why You Should Connect With Someone

Forming deeper connections with others and feeling a sense of community can help you manage your stress in more healthy ways and improve your psychological well-being by giving you a stronger sense of purpose. And alleviating another’s stress is particularly useful when the source of your burnout is cynicism or isolation, argue ​​Yu Tse Heng and Kira Schabram in Harvard Business Review.

“When feeling alienated, focusing on yourself may lead you to withdraw further, while being kind to others can help you regain a sense of connectedness and belonging in your community,” they wrote. “Even just taking a few minutes to comfort a colleague or listen to their concerns led to a reduction in burnout associated with cynicism.”

Tell Us Your Own Anti-Burnout Techniques

If you’ve been following along all five days of our challenge, by now you’ve: practiced shutting down, given yourself a moment of compassion, completed the stress cycle, connected with your purpose, and connected with someone else. What else has helped you with burnout? What challenge do you want to try next? Share your experiences in the comments below.

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Michael Hickey

By Michael Hickey

Michael Hickey is a contributor to Associations Now. MORE

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