Stress Management Workshop Key Point: Reversing Burnout

Managing the Symptoms of Burnout

Woman at work is burnt out

Stress Management Workshop Key Point:  Reversing Burnout

Question:  I think I may be burning out.  I find that my work doesn’t excite me any more.  I feel like it is getting harder and harder to get up in the morning.  Can you let me know if I’m burning out, and if so, what I can do about it?

Symptoms of Burnout

Some of the signs that you are burning out include:  diminished sense of humor, change of job performance, skipping rest and food breaks, taking increased overtime and no vacation, increased physical complaints, pessimism and self-medication.  Self-medication can even include having coffee in the morning and beer in the evening, if this is done chronically.

The good news is that you are aware that something has changed and your job is not as enjoyable as it once was.  Certainly, you are aware that you need some kind of change to make your life more enjoyable.  Change may come in many forms.

Solutions for Burnout

We’ve found that people who are in burnout mode, have a tendency to not take breaks or lunch during there day and this simple change can start the process of reversing some of the symptoms of burnout.  So, try to take lunch break every day and when you do take lunch, I would suggest you try to walk outside rather than staying in the confines of your workplace.  If you go out to lunch with a co-worker, don’t talk business.  When you talk business you continue the stress mode of work.  If possible, find a park, or somewhere nearby that has some degree of nature.  Nature seems to be the great equalizer, calming us when we are stressed.

There has been a lot of research around the importance of social support, so I would recommend that you find someone, a partner, friend or even a therapist or support group to start talking about some of the issues you have, with the goal of finding some ways to create more happiness and relaxation in your life.

Write a list of 20 ways that you can nurture yourself more.  For some people, it is taking a warm, bubble bath.  For others, it’s scheduling a weekly or monthly massage.  It’s important to set up things in your life that you can look forward to that remind you that life is more than work.

Dr. Stephen Rechstaffen (author of “Timeshifting”), recommends creating personal pause buttons.  He says instead of answering your phone on the first ring at work, answer it on the second ring and use the first ring as a reminder to take a deep breath in.  He also suggests, setting up an after-work ritual.  When you get home from work, do something that will absolutely relax you, for instance put on some calming music.

It is important for you to get a handle on your stress.  If you are not in burn-out mode, now, it seems to me you may be headed there.  In order to beat burn-out, you’ll need to make some positive changes.  Best time to start is right now. Good luck!


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