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Need an Rx for Burnout?

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Post Need an Rx for Burnout?   Sat Aug 13, 2011 9:10 am

Dealing Effectively with Burnout

We all know that burnout can lead to serious health issues. For most of us expectations have loomed to an all-time high. Expectations others have us, expectations we have of ourselves and others. In an effort to right-size, many companies have ended up with misshapen employees.

We might find ourselves with a serious case of burnout but are afraid to do anything about it because so many of our friends and colleagues are being laid off and we're afraid to admit to it for fear we could be next. Yet, we find it harder and harder to go to work with a positive attitude. Feelings of despair and resentment have replaced job satisfaction.

Could you be suffering from burnout?

1. I wake up tired every day.

2. I have lost the feelings of satisfaction, accomplishment and enjoyment that originally inspired me to choose this job.

3. I am more irritable and impatient than usual. I often feel not like myself.

4. My coworkers often ask me if I'm all right or whether something is wrong.

5. Vacations give me a sense of relief but as soon as I return to work I feel tired and have no energy or enthusiasm for work.

6. I take longer breaks and lunches than I used to. It is hard to make myself go back to work after lunch or break.

7. Life seems all work and no play.

8. I often feel overwhelmed and too tired to do my work.

9. I look for excuses to stop what I'm doing. I welcome interruptions.

10. I spend time doing non-work activities during the work day.

11. I often feel inescapable fatigue when I am working.

12. I daydream about quitting my job, running away, or winning the lottery.

If you answered yes to three or more, you should take action to reduce your stress at work.

If you answered yes to four to seven, your attitude at work is suffering and serious burnout is on the horizon.

If you answered yes to eight or more, you're experiencing acute burnout.

Ways to Treat Burnout

1. Tend to your spirit. Begin and end each day with meditation, prayer or reflection. Begin a gratitude list; add to it everything you're grateful for. Journal each day about what happened and how you felt about it. Reflect on what you've written.

2. Get physical. Exercise helps ease tension and keeps the body and mind happier. Join a gym. Ride a bike. Swim. Join a sports league. Walk. Don't let any excuse get in the way. A ten minute walk can be accomplished by even the most exercise-adverse person. Find a buddy to walk with. Increase your exercise as you become more fit.

3. Learn to breathe. When things get to be too much, or you find yourself in a stressful situation, pause and take a moment to breathe. Be conscious of your breathing. This is a centering exercise. Once you've found your center, you're much more capable of handling the situation.

4. Prioritize. There are more demands on our time now than ever before. To avoid becoming overwhelmed, prioritize your workload at the beginning of each day, or better yet look at tomorrow at the end of each day. What needs to happen tomorrow? What's the most important thing you need to get accomplished? Put it the highest priority so that even if your "to do" list gets turned upside down at least you've spent your time doing what is most important. Learn to delegate or ask for help if you've more to do than is feasible.

5. Have a life outside of work. Family and friends are your support system. Having someone you can talk to will help you vent your feelings. Spend time with those important to you. Renew your energy by making time for fun activities with family and friends. Find activities you enjoy and engage in them weekly. Volunteer. The best way to feel better about your life is to help someone else's.

6. Get plenty of rest. Make sure the reason you're tired at the beginning of each day is not a health issue. People who suffer from sleep apnea suffer with chronic tiredness which affects all areas of their lives including life expectancy. Track how much sleep you get and how you feel. Most of us still need between seven and eight hours of rest each night to function well during the day. Seek medical attention if sleep is an issue for you.

7. Don't self-medicate. Using alcohol or illegal drugs to feel better when experiencing burnout can have an opposite and negative impact. See a medical professional for advice.

If you've done all these things and burnout is still hanging around, you might want to consider the job could be the problem. Life is too short to do what gives you no pleasure and makes you feel lousy. Spend some time learning what you'd love to do and then get busy exploring where your passion can benefit you and others.

Janice Branch, Senior Training Consultant for InterAction Training, is a seasoned presenter that has all the right stuff to "wow" her participants. Whether it is teaching how to coach, manage, lead, service, sell or train, Janice is the "go-to" person every participant wants to hear from.

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