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Worked Out: Fighting Burnout with Self-Care

Avoid burnout by making more time for what you need out of life

Ambition and perseverance are both good qualities to have in the professional world and can lead to lasting achievement within your career field. However, constantly striving to get ahead can also lead to job-related stress or burnout, which can cause physical and emotional fatigue, irritability, insomnia, inefficiency, and feelings of detachment or hopelessness. Recognize the signs of impending job burnout, and fight back with self-care.

On the job

We spend a significant portion of our lives at work – almost always more than the time we spend with friends or pursuing outside interests. Work is often an environment that includes a lot of stress through pressure or demands and offers very little personal control. As a result, work is one of the biggest causes of personal stress.

According to a recent Gallup poll of 7,500 employees, 44 percent reported feeling burned out at work sometimes, with 23 percent claiming to feel burned out often or always. Job stress leads to more than just emotional duress; ongoing stress can also lead to absenteeism at work as well as physical health issues and increased health care costs.

The five contributing factors that had the biggest impact on employee burnout were the following:

  • Unfair treatment

  • Unmanageable workload

  • Lack of clear expectations

  • Poor communication

  • Unreasonable deadlines

Chaotic, high-pressure environments are so typical in today’s world that many employees don’t even recognize that job burnout is an issue – it just feels like part of the status quo of working. However, your life involves more than just your job, and identifying and resolving work-related burnout are essential to your overall health and well-being.

You may be experiencing job-related stress if you regularly do any of the following:

  • Dread going in to work each day

  • Worry about work even in your free time

  • Experience stress, fatigue, or problems sleeping due to work

  • Feel cynical, resentful, or distant toward your coworkers

  • Experience physical problems like headaches or aches and pains

  • Feel inefficient, as if formerly easy tasks are now insurmountable

Recognizing the problem – and understanding that it is one – is the first step to formulating a plan of action to combat job burnout. An action plan to overcoming stress may involve any of the following:

  • Get more rest. When you’re short on free time, it can be easy to fall into the trap of staying up too late. As a result, not enough sleep is both a cause and an effect of job burnout. Set a strict bedtime to ensure that you’re getting enough sleep each night.

  • Exercise more. Physical activity is often the last thing you want to do when you’re feeling overwhelmed and short on time. However, exercise is an excellent source of stress relief and can increase your energy while giving you a more positive outlook.

  • Be more mindful. Explore yoga, meditation, or mindful breathing. You don’t have to hike into the Himalayas to find a guru – there are many free apps or videos that will help get you started. Calming activities that help refocus your perspective can help you harness that same sense of wellness during stressful workdays.

  • Find time for yourself. Self-care involves knowing what you enjoy and making the time to do it. When it feels like there isn’t enough time in the day, it can be hard to carve out room for what you love – if you even know what that is anymore. Make a list of activities that make you feel good about your life, and dedicate time to pursuing those things.

  • Talk to someone. People are often reluctant to share their feelings about stress, fearing it will sound like complaining or that it’s simply something everyone experiences. Whether it’s with a friend over drinks or with a therapist, discussing your work situation and the related feelings can often bring a sense of clarity or understanding.

Experiencing burnout at work can often feel like weakness, which makes it hard to discuss or take action against. If you’re routinely feeling exhausted, empty, or unable to cope, then it’s important to make time to take care of yourself in a way that will help you recharge or change your perspective. Although work is an important part of your life, it’s not your whole life and shouldn’t be treated as such. Dedicate the time and energy to a routine of self-care that will translate into a greater sense of well-being and productivity.

If you would like to learn how to become unstoppable like Gigi and find out how to get beyond your limits and fears to really start living with fulfillment, contact her today.

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