4 Ways To Find Motivation in Times of Burnout

philmckinney | December 11, 2013

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Some days, we wake up raring to get at our day, fueled with passion and creativity to do the work we know sets us apart from the crowd.

Other days…not so much. There are times when even the most inspired and resilient people feel they lack the motivation to even get out of bed, much less set the world on fire. Certain times of the year, like holidays, can bring with them a lot of stress. Between heavy workloads and the heavier related stress, we can feel crushed, exhausted, and completely burned out.

If you or your team are experiencing burn out, there are ways to regain your passion and drive. The Mayo Clinic offers some tips for identifying, understanding, and recovering from work burn out.

  1. Let go of the need to control. There are some things in your job that you can control and others that are completely out of your control. One way to reduce stress is to discern which things are in your power to change. By focusing on what you can change, you can regain a sense of ownership and empowerment, which will help reinvigorate your motivation.
  2. Steer clear of the drama. Dysfunctional organizations can suck the life out of even the best of us. If you make a point of limiting (or severing) those relationships that drain you of energy, you will have more energy to devote to doing what you love. If for some reason you can’t limit contact with the thing that is driving you mad, go on the offensive by seeking out contact with people who inspire and invigorate you.
  3. Physician, heal thy attitude. Nothing says “Gosh, I can’t wait to get to work today” like waking up to an internal litany of everything that is wrong in your life. Most of us are unaware of the internal dialogue that hounds us throughout the day. But this self-talk, especially if it is negative, can have a profound effect on our health and spirit. Turning that Inner Critic into an Inner Supporter can make a huge difference in your experience at work and outside of the office.
  4. Move that body! It cannot be stressed enough–regular physical exercise works wonders not only on the body, but on the psyche. Besides relieving stress, exercise can be a social activity, a chance for meditation and reflection, or a much-needed accomplishment (“Whoo, I did 20 minutes on the elliptical machine!”) when everything else seems to be crashing around you.

The fact is, nobody is going to love their job 100% of the time. But if you find that burn out and stress are killing your motivation, you can do something about it.

In my case, I’m heading to Africa this week to recharge the batteries and for some unconventional inspiration.