Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays, because it’s about giving “thanks” and being in gratitude. It’s a time when we gather with loved ones, share meals, and express appreciation for the abundance in our lives. While this tradition often centers around personal blessings, it’s equally relevant in the realm of career development, especially when it comes to overcoming burnout!

I’ve been sharing a lot about burnout recently, because when we’re in the fog of it we can’t hit our full potential. Burnout, that pervasive feeling of emotional exhaustion and disconnection, can be a major roadblock on your career path. It’s an issue that many professionals face, especially post Covid, but the power of gratitude can provide a way out. Let’s explore how cultivating gratitude can help you overcome burnout and reignite passion for your work.

Gratitude for Self: Reconnecting with Your Purpose

One of the primary drivers of burnout is a sense of purposelessness. You may find yourself working tirelessly, meeting deadlines, and completing tasks, but without a clear sense of why it all matters. This is where gratitude for self comes in.

Begin by acknowledging your accomplishments and recognizing your strengths. Every project you’ve completed, every skill you’ve developed and every challenge you’ve overcome has contributed to your growth! When you genuinely appreciate your efforts, you reconnect with your purpose, which is energy giving. This self-gratitude can rekindle the spark that made you passionate about your career in the first place.

Gratitude for Others: Building a Support System

Burnout often thrives in isolation. Feeling overwhelmed and disconnected from colleagues or mentors can exacerbate the problem. Expressing gratitude to those around you can be a lifeline.

Take a moment to thank those who’ve supported you in your career journey. It could be a mentor or coach who provided guidance, a coworker who offered a lending hand, or a leader who recognized your efforts. When you express gratitude, you not only show appreciation, but you also strengthen your support system. Knowing that you have people in your corner can provide the emotional resilience needed to combat burnout.


Gratitude for Challenges: Finding Growth in Adversity

Burnout can also stem from the feeling of being stuck in a monotonous routine or facing continuous challenges without seeing progress. That can lead to overwhelm and procrastination. However, challenges, when viewed through the lens of gratitude, can be opportunities for growth.

Consider the difficulties you’ve encountered in your career. Perhaps you’ve faced tough projects, encountered workplace conflicts, or navigated a career pivot. Each of these challenges has provided valuable lessons and opportunities for personal and professional development. By reframing these challenges as opportunities for growth, you can approach them with a sense of gratitude for the wisdom they bring.

    The Healing Power of Gratitude and Stress Reduction

    One of the most potent ways gratitude helps combat burnout is by reducing stress. Burnout is often accompanied by heightened stress levels for extended periods of time, which can negatively impact your physical and mental well-being. Gratitude, when practiced regularly, has been shown to reduce stress and increase feelings of well-being.

    When you take time to express thanks for the positive aspects of your career, even in the face of burnout, you shift your focus away from stressors and toward positivity. This shift can lead to lower stress levels, improved mood, and increased resilience.

    The Practice of Gratitude: How to Get Started

    1. Keep a Burnout-Prevention Journal: Dedicate a few minutes each day to jot down things you’re grateful for in your career. This will shift your emotional state, because we cannot hold two opposing emotions at once. Also, this practice can shift your focus away from burnout triggers towards an abundance mindset.
    2. Express Thanks to Colleagues: Don’t hesitate to verbally express your gratitude to colleagues, superiors, and team members. A heartfelt thank-you (especially highlighting their impact) can foster stronger professional relationships and reduce personal stress. When we give to others, we experience elevated joy, and giving in the form of verbal appreciation can do just that.
    3. Gratitude Meditation: Incorporate a gratitude meditation into your daily routine. Spend a few minutes at the start and end of your day reflecting on the things you appreciate about your career and life. You can take it a step further and do some mindfulness breathing with this practice as well (also referred to as heart breathing).
    4. Set Gratitude Goals: As you work to overcome burnout, include gratitude-related objectives. For instance, commit to expressing thanks to one coworker each week. Or, provide gratitude-centered feedback to an associate.

    Let’s also remember that gratitude isn’t just reserved for Thanksgiving dinner. It can be a year-round practice to reignite your passion and energy for your career. As you reflect on your journey and the challenges you’ve faced, remember to express gratitude for the lessons learned, the support received, and the growth experienced. By doing so, you can find the strength to overcome burnout and continue on your path to career fulfillment.

    Happy Thanksgiving! May gratitude light your way toward a more fulfilling career and life.