With society’s pressure to perform and continuously climb the ladder of success, many of us are left feeling overwhelmed and downright exhausted.
Feelings of burnout can occur in both your professional and personal life. It can lead to a decline in your physical and mental health. But it can also take a toll on your finances if it goes unchecked.
What Causes Burnout?
The World Health Organization now recognizes burnout as a condition resulting from chronic workplace stress. Health professionals look for three primary symptoms:
- Feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion.
- Increased mental distance or feelings of cynicism to your job.
- Reduced professional productivity.
There are many contributing factors to burnout, including an overwhelming workload, lack of support from those around you, and a general feeling that you don’t have control.
How Burnout Can Impact Your Finances
Burnout is physically and emotionally draining and can often lead to poor decision-making in all facets of life, including your finances.
For example, you may start to:
- Choose convenience over your budget. If you’re already exhausted, you may pay more for services like grocery delivery or takeout to make your life easier. While the occasional use isn’t a cause for concern, these convenient solutions for more mundane tasks can quickly add up.
- Make large purchases designed to relieve stress. If you’re longing for an escape from your reality, you might find yourself signing up for lavish vacations or paying for expensive products to help alleviate stress. But these are only temporary solutions that won’t solve your underlying problems.
- Splurge on yourself as a type of reward. There’s a difference between saving for a goal that celebrates your accomplishments and tricking your mind into thinking you “deserve” to indulge in the moment.
- Use shopping as a form of retail therapy. Many people turn to shopping as a coping mechanism when things aren’t going their way. And online shopping has made this habit exponentially worse since you can get instant gratification without even leaving your bed now.
While these things may give you immediate satisfaction, they can also cause you to quickly drain your bank account or even rack up long-term debt.
Ways to Overcome Burnout and Save Your Finances
The key to overcoming burnout is to recognize it’s happening and tackle it head-on. Here are some actionable ways to push through feelings of burnout without spending a small fortune in the process.
Take a moment to self-reflect
You can’t begin to understand why you’re feeling burned out if you don’t take the time to evaluate stressors in your life.
Dump all of your thoughts onto paper. Write down everything that makes you feel stressed or anxious. Then, figure out how to reframe them, so they don’t feel near as daunting.
Let’s say you have a monthly report that causes knots in your stomach each month. Instead of waiting until the end of the month to tackle it all at once – and spending the entire month worrying about it – you could dedicate small increments of time each week to work on it.
Make your budget a priority
No matter what’s going on in your life, you need to stay on top of your finances. By creating a budget that works for you, you can start to eliminate one of the most common stressors: poor financial habits.
Consider exploring these proven budgeting techniques:
- Cash envelope system. By using cash instead of mindlessly swiping your debit or credit card, you’ll feel more connected to the money you’re spending – meaning you’ll likely spend less overall.
- Pay-yourself-first budget. This method focuses on paying down debt and dedicating a specific amount to your savings goals before you do any other spending for the month. This ensures you won’t frivolously spend your entire paycheck without realizing it.
- Money-saving challenges. Monthly challenges like the “no-spend challenge” can help make saving a priority while being a fun and motivating tool.
You might find that focusing your attention on your budget can help bring back a feeling of control that you’re lacking when stuck in burnout mode.
Reduce your workload
Occasional overtime or tight deadlines shouldn’t put you on the path to burnout. But if you constantly find yourself being overworked and underappreciated, you need to take steps to reduce your workload and overall stress.
This includes learning how to say “no”. This is especially hard if you’re naturally a people pleaser. But it can increase your productivity and help you avoid taking on more than you can handle.
Focus on your current projects and responsibilities. How can you improve them? What can you delegate to others? Don’t be ashamed to ask for help. Most people are willing to lend a helping hand when they know someone is struggling.
Use your voice and let those around you know what you need from them.
Take time to recharge from the everyday stresses of juggling work and your home life. But don’t feel the need to spend a ton of money in the pursuit of self-care.
Self-care might simply be reconnecting with the outdoors or spending quality time with those who mean the most to you.
For some, it might include showing up to an exercise class, meditating in the mornings, or getting a monthly massage. For others, it might be rediscovering a hobby or passion that provides a creative outlet.
Make yourself a priority and take the steps needed to overcome feelings of burnout before they become all-consuming with long-term financial implications.