Preventing a burn out

Are you feeling:

  • helpless
  • worn out
  • detached or loss of emotions
  • disengaged
  • tired
  • sick ?

Warning! You may be suffering from or on the road to being burned out. It is not uncommon to work excessive hours just to meet the monthly bills or throw in a little extra time at the office just to get noticed for that promotion.  You may have the feeling that your efforts go unnoticed or your efforts are not enough.  When is enough, enough?  Compromising your health and emotions are not worth the anxiety and pain, but what else can you do?

What is burn out?

First, define how you are feeling both physically and emotionally, and what your behaviors are.  Have they changed and are interfering with your daily activities? Do you feel like you have too much going on, or are you feeling empty.  If you have the feeling of too much, you may be stressed where as the feeling of not enough is being burned out.

When you are burned out, your life and actions feel empty.  There seems to be no hope and loss of motivation. Life may not seem worth living and you may start feeling depressed.  Often times at first, you are not aware that you are burned out.

What causes burn out?

Burn out has many causes, but mainly is derived from your job.  Whether you are a mom who has four kids and countless duties to take care of in the home, or the next rising CEO who puts in endless hours without recognition, burn out can effect you.  However, your job is not the only thing that can cause burn out.  Burn out can also be caused by outside activities and certain personality traits can make you prone to being burned out.

If at work you:

  • feel as though you have little to no control over your work
  • feel as though you receive little to no recognition for your work
  • feel like your work is the same and does not challenge you
  • feel as though your work environment is chaotic or stressful

you may be feeling burned out.

If outside of work you:

  • feel like you don't have enough free time
  • feel as though you are lacking sleep
  • feel like you have to many responsibilities
  • feel as though you have no support

you could also be experiencing burn out.

If you have these characteristics:

  • perfectionist
  • pessimism
  • controling
  • Type A personality

you may be prone to being burned out.

Some of these you cannot change.  For example, the fact you work excessive hours in order to pay the bills is a situation that is hard to avoid.  Or even your need to make sure the work you do is perfect is often a beneficial characteristic.  However, how can you adapt to these sitations and make these characteristics fit better into your life.

How to prevent burn outs:

  • Relaxing routine

Begin your day with a stretch or a cup of coffee and the morning paper.  Start your day with a task that will ease you into the tough day ahead.  You can even try writing in a journal before bed or listening to music to calm your mind and to help you drift to sleep.  Natural noises and soft music are often best for background noise.

  • Healthy living

Try eating healthy food.  Of course we are not talking about a diet, but snacking on grapes as opposed to chips leaves you feeling more fresh and energized.  Sometimes a brisk walk down the street will allow you to clear your mind and allow you to relax and relieve stress.

  • Create boundaries

Sometimes it is ok to say no.  Taking time to yourself is essential for many reasons.  If you overexert yourself, your performance in work and at home will decrease.  It is a cycle.  Therefore if you focus on one or two projects or tasks at a time, you can be sure that your best effort is put forth.

  • Manage stress

If you learn to manage stress, it will help you feel more in control and help you function.

How to cope:

If you have already been hit, here are a few tips as to how to turn the situation around.

  • Be active

Addressing the situation is always the first step with any problem.  How do you feel?  Why do you feel that way? What are the contributing factors? If you start out by addressing the problem, you are taking an active approach to solving it.  From here you can talk to friends, family or your boss at work to lay out some possibilities of how to turn the negatives into positives.

  • Be clear

Reviewing your job description is not a bad idea.  It will refresh your memory and you may find that you have more variety in your job than what you have been working on. Often times we get into a routine or habit and neglect certain duties.

  • Ask

If you are able to, ask if there is anything else you can do to help.  Are there any other projects you can work on?  Can you provide input on any of the new projects?  Not only will this give you something new to think about but it provides new ideas for the company and the rest of the team as well.

  • Take time off

Sometimes the best way to fix a problem is to remove yourself from it.  Although this is not a permanent solution, it certainly helps to think about something else for a while and to refresh yourself from the daily grind.



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