"I’m currently on sick leave because I’m burning out. How can I recharge and find my next career move?"
Burnout can have serious impacts on our physical and mental health. The key is getting getting what's called "authentic rest"—it's the most important step in your effort to recharge. Researcher and speaker by Dr. Dalton Smith suggests that we are in a rest deficit, and I agree. She believes that we need seven types of rest to be at our most optimal.
The Seven Types of Rest
1. Physical rest (sleeping/napping)
2. Mental rest (taking breaks in our day to do nothing/relax)
3. Sensory rest (unplugging)
4. Creative rest (be curious—read a book, discover the arts, enjoy nature)
5. Emotional rest (stop people pleasing. Say, “I’m not ok” if you aren’t)
6. Social rest (take pauses from draining relationships and refocus energy into positive relationships)
7. Spiritual rest (engage in something bigger than yourself)
Remember: engaging in self-care is not selfish. It’s important that you don’t skip this part. If you spend this time focusing on your next career move instead of creating some blank space, you might end up burning out again.
When you are ready to take that next step, you will be in the right frame of mind to choose a direction—and to ensure you don’t end up in another burnout scenario, make sure you’ve taken time to assess what burned you out in the first place. For example, was it the workload? Toxic relationships? Did you feel like you were working in a field that just wasn’t right for you? Were you lonely?
Whatever the reason, it’s necessary to get clarity on the workplace issues that led you to become unhealthy. If you don’t get clear about what made you sick, then you won’t be able to prevent getting sick again in the future.
Ask yourself: What kind of job lights me up? What environment do I want to work in? Where do I want to work—from home, in person, both? And perhaps most importantly, what kind of company do I want to work for—do they have the compensation/benefits/flexibility/culture, etc. that aligns with my career and life goals?
A hard look at the past will help you make better strategic decisions about your future. But right now, in the present, take some time to rest on your journey to recharge.
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