Burned out at work? You don't have to stay that way. Take charge of your life at work and at home.
When it comes to your job, do you just not care anymore? Do you feel dried up and used up? Are you as tired on Monday morning as on Friday night? Is your job performance slipping? Is every day a “bad day”?
If you answered “yes” to some of these questions, you may be suffering from job burnout. It’s not the same as job stress, which fills you with anxiety. Burnout does the opposite. It empties you, leaving only apathy. You’re exhausted, you’re fed up and you just don’t care anymore.
Burnout may come from chronic high stress; from working for a boss who just can’t be pleased; from not getting enough rest (or never taking a vacation); or just from working too hard for too long. People with job burnout tend to be cynical and pessimistic, and have problems concentrating. They don’t sleep well, get sick often, find themselves embroiled in conflicts and worry all the time.
If this sounds familiar, try some of these tips:
- Get yourself reorganized. A lot of job stress comes from a feeling of being overwhelmed. You might think you can’t spare the time to stop, take stock and get organized. But you can, and you should.
- Seek solace outside of work. Refill your coffers of compassion and energy by carving out space in your life to volunteer, participate in a sport, indulge in a hobby or just spend some quality time with your loved ones. It’s an investment that will pay off many times over.
- Learn to say no. At least for a while, refrain from taking on new commitments or responsibilities. While you’re at it, delegate some of the responsibilities you have now — even if this means the person you’re delegating to doesn’t do the job as well or as thoroughly as you.
- Take a break. If you can, schedule a significant vacation (not just a long weekend). Do not bring any work along. Unplug from your devices as much as possible.
- Adopt healthy habits. Eat right, get enough sleep and exercise. Consider working a relaxing ritual into your day (such as a hot bath, prayer, meditation or journaling).
Whatever you do, act now. You don’t have to live with the feelings of helplessness and hopelessness that accompany job burnout.
Karen Burns is the author of The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl: Real-Life Career Advice You Can Actually Use. Email her at email@example.com.