Are you familiar with workplace burnout? Most of us know the agonizing feeling of pushing harder to seemingly get nowhere.
Burnout is a state of using a lot of emotional or physical energy, but we feel nothing good is coming from it.
This used-up feeling of going nowhere can affect all areas of our lives. Any of us can get fed up with our relationship struggles, housecleaning woes, exercise programs or civic club commitments.
In short, we’re tired of our same old routines, goals and lack of excitement.
“It’s perfectly normal to feel blah and unexcited about various areas of our lives,” says a psychologist friend of ours we’ll call Wesley. Wesley assists adults from all types of backgrounds in dealing with stress.
“Some of my patients are tempted to quit their jobs, have an affair, or sell their home and move to another city,” says Wesley. “I help them evaluate their burnout concerns and make choices they won’t regret.”
Wesley believes there is a positive side to feeling burnout. It’s a signal we need to make some changes in our lives. Otherwise, we’d be trodding the same path forever.
“It’s amazing how small changes can get you sailing in a new direction,” says a friend of ours we’ll call Faith.
“Getting tired of something forces you to use your imagination and open new doors.”
Here are some tips for reversing burnout:
Get your personal life on track first. Your home life really supports your work life, not the other way around. Freshening up your home with new décor or going on a date night each week with your spouse can help. Make decisions to eat healthier, have friends over or adopt a pet.
Be honest about what bothers you. For example, if you hate your neighborhood, don’t do a remodel on your home. Make plans to move somewhere else, even if it’s just a few blocks away.
Make a list of what’s going right in your life. For instance, if you love the company you work for, but you dislike your boss, look at options for moving to a different department instead of quitting the company. Don’t mess up your good choices to fix the bad.
Burnout causes us to ignore our feelings, but to reverse burnout, we need to pay attention. Ask, “Do I feel unexcited about getting out of bed?”
“My whole week used to feel painful,” says a sales rep we’ll call Craig. “I was making a decent amount of money, but I felt lonely and empty. I had to dig deep to figure out what I could change.”
Craig noticed that he loved traveling within a three-state area of his home. Longer business trips just left him exhausted. He was landing most of his sales near his home state, too.
“I was suffering from jet lag and feeling used by my company,” he says. “When I did the math, my supervisor agreed to let me stay closer to home. Within three months, I’d doubled my sales.”
If things are terribly off track, it pays to try new tactics. For example, if you dislike doing chores at home, hire a small amount of help. If you need some upbeat friends, try joining a new organization. Or volunteer to help young business leaders in your city.
New feelings of happiness and contentment come from engaging in different experiences. Sticking to the same routines, people and work experiences will likely drain you further.
Judi Light Hopson is author of the stress management book, “Cooling Stress Tips.” She is also executive director of USA Wellness Cafe at www.usawellnesscafe.org.