Amazingly, the National
Institute of Mental Health in the United States reports that more than 20 million
Americans suffer from chronic nervousness, panic attacks and phobias. With the
fast pace of modern day society, people seem to have less time and more frustrations
- even with all the technology that is supposed to make our lives easier!
Here are some practical
ways you can use in your every day life to avoid and overcome burnout:
- Start your day with
the powerful positive input of high-energy music. Everyone enjoys different
kinds of music so you need to use what YOU like. Just be sure you start the
day listening to the kind of high-energy music that gets you PUMPED! It could
be rock and roll or country or jazz or pop or whatever makes you feel GREAT
about yourself. It is important to start the day off with positive energy
and enthusiasm in order to effectively tackle the challenges that you might
encounter. If you put yourself in a good mood before you have to deal with
problems you could be facing, it makes the frustration much easier to handle.
It is not always easy to
"hit the ground running", especially at the start of the day, but you will feel
better about yourself both personally and professionally. Research has shown
that people who use high energy music to start their day and before they face
challenging situations have increased productivity by as much as 200%!
- Do not allow mistakes
to ruin you. Do everything you possibly can to fix a problem with a client
or associate in order to make them happy. After that, do not dwell on what
went wrong; otherwise this can lead to decreased productivity and burnout.
If you cannot get over something that went wrong in your life, remember this
quote, "Do not blame yourself for past errors. You are no longer the same
person who made them and you cannot blame a person who does not exist."
- Get an "accountability
partner" to help you stay focused. You can share with this person your needs,
fears and victories. An accountability partner is someone you can trust and
feel comfortable enough with to just "be yourself". You should meet with this
person at least once a week to talk about your goals, progress, setbacks and
thoughts on your personal and professional life. Your accountability partner
keeps you on track and moving forward in all aspects of your development.
The friendship and discussion you share with this person will help you to
look at things objectively, understand yourself better and be more well-rounded.
NOTE: An accountability
partner should be a person other than your spouse or significant other.
- See the funny side of
life - allow yourself to laugh and enjoy life without being serious all the
time. Laughter helps ease stress and bring mountains back down to molehills
where they belong. Learn to see humor in difficult situations. A good, hearty
laugh is the best stress releaser of all. Give yourself and the people you
work with a "laugh-a-day". Put a "humor board" in your office. Have a designated
bulletin board where anyone can post cartoons, jokes or even funny pictures.
This gives everyone a chance to ease anxieties.
You can also use what can
be called "comic memos". This is where you attach a funny cartoon to the routine,
sometimes boring memos or pieces of paperwork that have to be given out. Another
idea for easing tension is to choose various people in the office to take turns
telling a "joke of the day". The more you laugh, the less you worry and the
healthier you feel.
- Slow down! "Take inventory"
of your business, personal life, accomplishments and goals. Take the time
to reflect and think. This revitalizes the mind and refreshes the spirit.
A survey that was done of nursing home patients with an average age of 80
revealed a powerful fact. The respondents were asked if they would do anything
differently with their lives if they could do it over and, if they would change
anything, what it was that they would do differently. Ninety-nine percent
of those surveyed said they would spend more time reflecting, thinking and
enjoying what they had worked to achieve before it was too late.
- Plan time where you
can take off work even if you have to plan weeks or months ahead - make the
effort to give yourself a break! Too many people are under the impression
that it is impossible to take to a break from the rat race of life, otherwise
their jobs will leave them behind. The truth is, if you do not allow yourself
time to relax away from work; you will become bitter and unproductive even
when you are there. Ultimately, your job will overwhelm you, not because you
took a few days off, but because you burned yourself out so badly that you
experienced emotional meltdown. Allow yourself some time to relax - guilt
- When you feel overwhelmed,
go out to lunch with some friends or associates. Make it a point to not talk
about business. Talk about your hobbies, sports or whatever you enjoy. This
gives you a release from the "pressure cooker" of stress. Sometimes it just
helps to get away briefly in the middle of the day.
- If you feel burned out
on people, eat lunch by yourself a couple times a week. This gives you the
chance to just enjoy quiet time and not have to talk if you do not feel like
engaging in conversation. There can be tremendous power in silence.
- Take up an exercise program.
Even if you do not have time to go to the gym, you can take a walk around
the block a few times each evening or work out with a fitness video at home.
Exercise makes you feel good about yourself, cleanses your body of built up
stress and makes you sleep better. It takes discipline to work out on a regular
basis but the benefits far outweigh the little push it might take to get you
going. When you sweat, you release tension and anxiety. Consult your physician
to find out what kind of exercise would be best for you.
- Don't just focus on what
you haven't done; give yourself the credit you deserve for what you have done.
A sure way to burn yourself out is to always think about what you could have,
should have or just didn't do for whatever reason. This brings your self-image
down instead of lifting it up. Acknowledge the positive things you have been
able to accomplish, give yourself credit for having the courage to face each
day and focus on your victories. You should always learn from the past but
don't stay there. Keep a positive attitude about the present and be optimistic
about the future.
- Make blocks of time for
various tasks. During those blocks of time, do not allow yourself to be interrupted
for other things. This will increase your efficiency and reduce the anxiety
caused by trying to do twenty things at once.
- Take a power nap with
your feet elevated. During your lunchtime, if you feel tired and are having
difficulty concentrating, taking a short 15 or 20 minute nap will help. By
elevating your feet, the blood will more readily flow to your brain, which
increases the oxygen levels you need to feel well rested and alert.
To get the most out of your
short rest time, hold a pen or a set of keys in one hand while you are lying
down. Keep the arm holding the object slightly raised but obviously comfortable.
When your body reaches a complete state of relaxation your grip on the object
will release, causing it to fall to the floor and startle you awake. In just
a few minutes, you will get the same benefit of a long, comfortable sleep. A
little power nap with your feet elevated can make you feel amazingly refreshed.
- Do not be afraid to
say "NO" when you know that you are either already booked or have all the
commitments you can handle. Spreading yourself too thin can lead to dangerous
stress and anxiety.
- Understand that goals
do not have to be set in stone. Sometimes situations and circumstances change
in your life that put you down a different road. If you find that something
is not right for you, it is OK to change paths without feeling guilty or ashamed.
This is not failing. This is being mature about your future happiness and
what you now know is right for you.
To avoid bitterness and
eventual burnout, understand that whatever you choose to do with your career
and your life has to be for your well being. No outside influence can know what
is better for you than you.