The importance of refueling and avoiding burnout


Your friends, family, and organization all count on you to perform. As more responsibilities emerge, your work schedule begins to blend with your private life. Meanwhile, the daily flurry of digital notifications continues to batter your attention span. It’s in this zone of inhabitance where refueling becomes critical.

If you’re like me, and take pride in your work, you’ll find yourself going to extreme lengths to meet deadlines and provide value for your organization. For some, it’s not something that you can get away from. It’s something innate that’s been built into us. Whether you were the star athlete, academic, or musician growing up, or late-bloomed into a corporate executive, you’ll find an inner drive that pushes you to get up extremely early for your morning routine, conquer the 9-5 like Napolean, and then return home for dinner alongside a well-established evening routine.

For those of us chugging along in prime form, this is okay. It’s when your inner motivation lessens, depression sets in, or other factors unhinge your normal flow where this becomes an issue. A negative impact on your brain chemicals, such as dopamine, can affect your workplace productivity through a variety of mechanisms1. This impact can cascade down to your workplace relationships. As your productivity diminishes, or relationships suffer, so too will your drive. In addition, your health (mental and physical) may also suffer from workplace burnout2.

“I think some of the best pieces of advice for me was when I talked to some of the great players who have had success in this league how much they emphasized the importance of rest, that you can’t just go 100 miles an hour all 12 months of the year every day and just keep going. That is a recipe for burnout.”

Kirk Cousins, NFL Quarterback

It’s easy to be your best self when mental health is in peak form. You’re eager and willing, you’re hitting your targets, and you’re a warrior. Nothing can stop you, except yourself. And that’s when it hits.

Risk Factors for Burnout

The main risk factors associated with job-related anxiety and depression are poor health and lifestyles, unsupportive workplace relationships, job overload, and unrealistic job demands.3

Poor lifestyles choices, such as drug consumption, lack of sleep, or an overall unhealthy diet can impact your ability to churn out tasks and keep things moving. It’s well documented that a malnourished labor force is less productive, and poses threat to a population’s health and well-being.4

Sleep, an essential component of a healthy lifestyle, may be the most critical factor in workplace burnout. Sleep disturbances contribute to decreased employee productivity at a high cost to employers. Unfortunately for company executives, it’s not in their best interests to have you burning the midnight oil on a nightly basis.5

Unsupportive workplace relations are also significant contributors to workplace burnout. If you’re a high achiever, but no one is noticing your efforts, it can drastically impact your motivation. By the way, since you are a high achiever, your workload is likely to increase. Although this isn’t necessarily a bad thing it can develop into one if no one is recognizing your efforts. In addition, unsupportive relationships can also contribute to depression, where findings suggest that even sub-clinical levels of depression represent a significant productivity and economic burden not previously recognized.6


Protecting your mental and physical health is incredibly important to sustain a high level of productivity in the workplace. Ensuring your workplace isn’t contributing to any factors that can increase or lead to depression, lack of sleep, poor diet, are key to ensuring longevity.

Perhaps it’s needless to say, but it’s important to put things in perspective. Many people rely on you day-to-day, aside from your employer. Take a vacation to a place you’ve always wanted to go to, unplug for a long weekend, or take a Friday off every once in a while, as allowed, to keep yourself in optimal form. These short breaks can help ward off potential burnout symptoms.7

It takes wisdom to gain wealth without losing health.

Mokohoma Mokhonoana

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    • Hi Mohinder! Thanks for visiting the site, I’m glad you were able to get some value out of the piece for your work purposes. Absolutely, feel free to use this piece as you need. Have a great day!

  1. Excellent article . I consider your great suggestions on my day- to- day work and life.

    • Hi Majid! I’m glad you enjoyed the article – many more to come. Thank you for reading.

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