Tips to prevent burnout
If you wake up feeling overwhelmed and dreading the start of your day, whether it involves family responsibilities, work deadlines, or a mounting need-to-do list, chances are you’re bordering on burnout. Burnout seems to be the affliction of our time – people going over a certain emotional, mental and/or physical threshhold and then stalling like an old car on the side of the road. Are we really working that much harder than previous generations? Read on for the answer and the best ways to prevent burnout.
Burnout is perception and perception is reality
Americans today aren't necessarily working harder than generations past but we are juggling more balls, and that makes us susceptible to mental overload. One thing we have to recognize is that burnout comes from the perception that we're doing too much, too fast and without sufficient mental rewards. That is to say we're working hard without really enjoying it.
People who love what they do don't easily get burned out. Not only do they embrace their lives, they also like how they do it – within a clear, only-slightly-uncomfortable zone which has a nice balance between security and excitement. They work hard, they succeed, they achieve, and they enjoy all of it.
Here's how to be more like those that don't suffer burnout:
Get a life plan.
What do you want in life? No small question. But a clear, exciting answer will provide context for your toils and support for your weary psyche.
Get into self-improvement.
Burnout is a state of mind, not circumstantial. Improve on your attitude and you'll be able to handle more than you think.
No need to conjure up the discipline yourself; join a group (not a gym) where you are expected to show up with a fun bunch of people to work out in any way, shape or form on a regular basis.
Sit and be quiet for a good 15 minutes, preferably every day. Try not to think about anything. If thoughts and words come into your brain, just escort them casually back out. Be sure to breathe deep while doing so.
List, preferably on paper, all the things you are thankful for in your life. Don't stop until you've thought of at least 30 items. Do this regularly.
Learn to say no.
A healthy person knows their limits. To them, "not wanting to do something" for someone is the same as not being able to do it. If it doesn't feel right, say no.
Nothing adds to energy and confidence like being nice to someone. But only be nice within the limits of what you're capable of; too much will lead you straight to burnout.
Ease up on the foreign substances.
Drugs and alcohol will put a hurt on your stamina, motivation and self-esteem. Worse, they won't relax you in the long run. Instead, incorporate the previous items for long-term stress relief and mental and physical energy.
Hitting bottom may not be a bad thing
Are we too late? Has the weight of the world collapsed on your shoulders? Good! Therapists and coaches always get excited when someone hits rock bottom. This is the big, exciting opportunity for change. It is only then that real progress can start. No more running down the white water in a boat with no oars, you're going to take control. You have motivation on your side. Now for the logistics.