Burn out – the art of refusing do something for oneself that we would do for others at the drop of a hat. Okay that is my version, here is the Webster’s definition: exhaustion of physical or emotional strength or motivation usually as a result of prolonged stress or frustration.
Empirical studies and investigations into what professions have the highest rates of burnout, depression, suicide and stress levels, show that these jobs all have one central element to their jobs: public contact/service.
These are ten of the most stressful professions in the United States overall:
How to Overcome Burnout and Stay Motivated
1. Figure out which kind of burnout you have.
The Association for Psychological Science found that burnout comes in three different types, and each one needs a different solution:
1. Overload: The frenetic employee who works toward success until exhaustion, is most closely related to emotional venting. These individuals might try to cope with their stress by complaining about the organizational hierarchy at work, feeling as though it imposes limits on their goals and ambitions. That coping strategy, unsurprisingly, seems to lead to a stress overload and a tendency to throw in the towel.
2. Lack of Development: Most closely associated with an avoidance coping strategy. These under-challenged workers tend to manage stress by distancing themselves from work, a strategy that leads to depersonalization and cynicism — a harbinger for burning out and packing up shop.
3. Neglect: Seems to stem from a coping strategy based on giving up in the face of stress. Even though these individuals want to achieve a certain goal, they lack the motivation to plow through barriers to get to it.
2. STOP saying “Yes” all the time and Schedule Downtime– Learn to stay no and set perimeters for your home and work life. Make downtime a daily ritual.
To help relieve pressure, schedule daily blocks of downtime to refuel your brain and well-being. It can be anything from meditation to a nap, a walk, or simply turning off the wifi for a while:
When my children were small, they knew that the first 30 minutes after I arrived home from work, was “Mommy’s Time Out”. I would shower (since I worked in the medical field), grab a cup of coffee, headphones, book and close the door to my bedroom, with a sign on it that said: Momma Bear Hibernating – Enter at Your Own Risk”. This gave me the time to relax and transition between my work environment and my home life.
3. Stop being a perfectionist; start satisficing.
Trying to maximize every task and squeeze every drop of productivity out of your creative work is a recipe for exhaustion and procrastination. Set yourself boundaries for acceptable work and stick to them:
Consistently sacrificing your health, your well being, your relationships, and your sanity for the sake of living up to impossible standards will lead to some dangerous behaviors and, ironically, a great deal of procrastination. Instead of saying, “I’ll stay up until this is done,” say, “I’ll work until X time and then I’m stopping. I may end up needing to ask for an extension or complete less than perfect work. But that’s OK. I’m worth it.” Making sleep, exercise, and downtime a regular part of your life plays an essential role in a lasting, productive creative career.
4. Take long weekends -
Feeling mentally and physically exhausted may also be a sign that “you need to take some time off,”. The break need not be a two-week vacation; rather, when it comes to stress-reduction, “you get a much greater benefit from regularly taking three- and four-day weekends. While you’re away, though, don’t call the office or check your email. You need to let go. Each of us is a little less vital than we’d like to believe.
5. Remember Your Inner Child
We do not have be grown responsible adults all the time. Remember simple things that you enjoyed as a child and act silly. I loved to play in the rain as a child so when it is raining, I put my leash on Big C (he loves water) and we head outside to splash in puddles and play in the raindrops and make mud pies. I dress up at Halloween and hand out candy to the children and scare one or two adults at the same time....I loved the zoo so I head down to our local zoo and visit the animals. All stress reducers.
Principles to Remember