Do you feel unmotivated at work? Do you wish it was Friday on Mondays? Do you feel perpetually behind in your work? Those are all characteristics of being burnt out. Burn out will have you irrationally angry, unable to focus and unable to perform like you used to. This long-term stress can have physical manifestations too. Headaches, high blood pressure, and exhaustion are just a few of the many side effects of burnout. Luckily burn out is 100% preventable, not easily preventable but it is preventable.
What is your job description? Is that what you are doing when you are going to work every day? If you find your self taking on way more than your title’s responsibilities, something needs to change. Maybe it is time to talk to your boss about a raise or start delegating tasks to others. Most likely no one has any idea that you are overwhelmed with your work load. Communicate your concerns with evidence and have a clear action plan before talking with a manager.
If changes in your work load don’t change how you feel about the job, it could be time to move on. Think about that decision long and hard before doing it. I know burn out makes you want to chuck your papers in the air and say “F” it, but you will probably regret that later.
Time management skills, lists, and actions plans will give you that sense of control you have lost. My husband and a close friend of mine are experts at this. My husband dissects each problem into small do able lists and just starts to check everything off one by one. My friend is a bullet journal fanatic, everything she wants to do is planned out. They taught me some problems aren’t so big after you write them down.
Once you have everything on paper you will notice some things aren’t your problem. Meaning, there is no action you can take on it or it is the responsibility of someone else. Talk about relief, you might cut your to-do list from 25 things to 10 by just writing them down.
My favorite subject: Stress management. My whole career is about reducing stress in people physically and mentally. Before I give tips, I do need to mention, maybe you feel overwhelmed because you are dealing with bigger issues than just a stressful job. Go get a check up with a mental health professional, just like you would do for a physical illness.
Tip 1 is rest. Like real unplugged rest. Put your out of office reply on your email and don’t check it. Delete your social media apps for the weekend. Maybe even take a day off mid-week. Then with all that new free time do nothing related to work. Just enjoy having that time to be with yourself or your family.
Tip 2 is exercise. I am not saying you have become a gym rat, just go for a long walk to start with. Exercise reduces stress and helps you sleep. Plus, if you have kids or dogs you can exercise with, it will get out some of their energy too.
Tip 3 is hobbies. Take at least two hours a week and do something that is not related to your work. I am getting into gardening. Not only does it distract me from my stress at work, but it looks pretty too. In the past, I have also tried paper art and baking. It’s just about giving yourself breaks during the week with something you enjoy.
Connect your body and mind. Know when you are pushing yourself too hard. When you are mindful of your mind and body you can catch yourself before you fall off the “burnout” cliff. There are mindful activities you can do to check in with yourself. Meditation, massage, and yoga are probably the most well known ways to be mindful.
Another way to be mindful is watching what you consume. Did you have 6 cups of coffee during the day, followed by a glass of wine when you got home? Burn out will have you eating mindlessly and not taking care of your body. Being mindful of what you are putting into your body will help with sleep, fatigue and mood.
If you are just going through the motions every day, try my 4 steps. Analysis, Control, Reduce Stress and be Mindful. Keep burnout out of your life. Because like I always say, we deserve more than just surviving.