Avoid Burn Out

by Vikki Nelson


There comes a time when you have to step back, take a look at yourself and your workload, and realize that enough is enough. As much as you may enjoy the challenges and the rewards, every person has limits that can be transgressed only at the risk of damaging health. It doesnít matter if youíre busy paying off debts or stashing money in your retirement fund, if your health is compromised, your productivity will decline, along with the enjoyment youíve been working for.

Look for these warning signs: waking up tired constantly; excessive fatigue and need for sleep on weekends; difficulty falling or staying asleep; sudden weight gain or loss; the constant feeling that you shouldnít take even an hour off work, much less the desperately need vacation; making more mistakes than usual while working; constant aggravation with coworkers, feeling they are underperforming; and nagging physical ailments that you donít have time to take care of.

Now I realize some of these conditions will happen some of the time, but not frequently. And you will know when you recognize them.

When someone is overworked, unawareness of oneís own situation seems to go by the territory. A person needs to know when to pay attention to the warning signs, and to take comments by coworkers and loved ones seriously.

To avoid burn out, learn to work at a more orderly, calm pace. Donít continually rush to finish projects. If you find yourself pushing, step away from what you are doing. Take some deep breaths, in through your nose and out through your mouth several times. Even a few moments of stretching or walking will help.

One day off when you are close to burn out is not enough. If there is any way possible, try to take one of those long Federal holiday kinds of vacations. Start on Friday, by noon at least, and then show up on Tuesday ready to go. I know it sounds like a simple remedy, but maybe thatís all you need for your immediate problem. If you are nearing your vacation time, one week or two weeks, get away. Out of your usual pattern for vacations. It doesnít have to be expensive but it needs to be away from your every day workabout.

Be good to your body when you are relaxing. Go to bed early. Donít watch a lot of TV, overstimulating or otherwise. Eat like you have some sense, wholesome meals, not the fast food places. Look around for that small, home-cooking kind of restaurant. They can be found.

If you canít find the time to take the time off, join some gym or YMCA, or some physical hobby type of activity. Work out with your kids or a pet, join a sporting club. You get the idea. Something entirely different than what you have to do during your workday.