12 Ways To Keep Your Sanity When Your Sh*tty Job Is Burning You Out

by Yasmin Gopez

Sometimes in our lives, we feel as if we've hit a dead end.

It can feel like we're backed into a corner where sh*t keeps coming at us, and there's no choice but to let it hit us in the face over and over again.

We all have different reasons for taking it: a promise of a better position, a raise, a better office, better assignments and so on. But at the end of the day, we find ourselves exhausted, feeling completely drained and miserable, and we haven't even hit 30 yet! We ask ourselves, is it all worth it?

A few years ago, I moved to a city where I had to start life again, find a new place and get a new job.

I ended up in an entry-level administrative position that only mildly made use of my communications degree.

My job was to answer the phone whenever it rang, handle accounts receivable and collections, field complaints, keep inventory and all other mundane office tasks.

To make matters worse, I had to work with another senior admin who took it upon herself to micromanage and stalk me to make sure I did my job. She also delegated her work for me to do and always took credit for it.

It was far from the ideal job, but at the time, I had to consider that businesses were recovering from the 2008 recession, and I should consider myself lucky that I had a job at all.

Fast-forward to three years later, I was still in the same position with more responsibilities, and as a result, I've become even more anxious and exhausted.

Merely a few kicks before I was completely broke, and knowing it wouldn't get better, I decided to leave the job.

Looking back, I do remember that there had been a few things that helped me keep my sanity intact:

Don't check your work emails after work hours

It's tempting to do so to stay on top of things, but you're not really doing yourself a favor if you keep checking work emails on your downtime.

Not only does it keep your stress level on the surface, it also adds to your frustrations.

Separate your work and personal email, so when you're on your off hours, you only see non-work-related, personal messages.

Set aside time to be idle

Whether it's during the lunch hour or after work, set aside at least an hour to think of anything other than work.

Think of what you should do for vacation, new things you've always wanted to try or read a comforting book. Let your mind escape from what's burning it out.

Cut off unhealthy relationships

Even though they're outside of work and not related to what you do, unhealthy negative relationships take a toll on our self-esteem and outlook, which in turn, affects how we perform in general.

Whether it's an unsupportive boyfriend or an unsatisfying f*ck buddy, just end it. You cannot afford to add more stress to your life.

Treat yourself at least once a month

Eat a macaron, schedule a one-hour massage or go for a swim. Comfort yourself with a few things (within your budget) that you know for sure will make you happy and relaxed.

Take on a new hobby

Ever wondered how piloxing works? Why don't you try it? Take part in activities that will not only entertain you, but will also channel all the negative energy into a reward of either a tighter ass, or a beautiful project outcome.

Get busy on a Sunday

I used to get up Sunday mornings and fret about how I'd have to go back to work the next day.

Instead of thinking negatively and ruining what's left of your weekend, bring your Sunday to a climax. Get together with friends, host a cookout or attend a fun event downtown.

Have so much fun that you'll forget what tomorrow is in the first place.


I tried out volunteering when my work anxiety was at its peak. I decided I needed to be around activities that remotely resembled what I do, but offer so much of what I love, so I volunteered to teach ESL at a local college.

I loved it, and I didn't mind getting up at 8 am on a Saturday just so I could teach for three hours.

Seeing the students pay so much attention and express gratitude brought me so much bliss.

Turn the music up and let loose

Whatever type of music you're into, turn up the volume and sing along or dance to it. It doesn't matter if you dont know the lyrics or if you have two left feet. Just have fun.

Set up a sanctuary

Whether it's a place to go to (e.g. chapel, garden) or just a "virtual" sanctuary (wherever you think is safe and comfortable), have a safe haven where you can pray, meditate or just sit idly and breathe.

It's good to envision being in a place where you feel protected and immune to the real world's troubles from time to time.

A friend of mine I used to work with at that same company (and has since left it, too), and she started doing yoga and now swears by it.

Steer clear of passive aggressive coworkers

One minute they're biting your head off, the next they're taking you out and buying you froyo. Passive aggressive people are toxic and unpredictable.

Working with an unreliable person adds to the frustration of trying to get the job done in the first place. It leaves you in constant fear of being thrown under the bus, as some of these people tend to blame shift and deny accountability on botched work.

Talk about it

One thing that made my anxiety really bad when I was working was I felt alone and misunderstood.

I felt like nobody really got me, so I didn't talk to anyone about what I was feeling.

When things got worse, I talked to other coworkers (who I trusted) and realized I'd been putting up with so much for so long. Even just having someone to listen gave me a great deal of relief.

Leave that toxic job

If you have tried everything and it still feels like you're suffocating, don't be afraid to move on. Realize that you have so much potential and you have what it takes to be a great member of any company.

You're willing to put in 100 percent and you deserve to be wherever you need to be. Don't settle; work to live, not the other way around.

After I left my job and found a better one, I realized how much of myself I put in jeopardy for putting up with the taxing and unrewarding job.

I thought I was trying to prove myself as a mature and capable professional to that company, but some things are just not worth it. Now, I get to go to bed and wake up with a sense of calm and peace of mind, and I've never felt better.

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