How do you feel at the end of the day? Like you’ve been on a hamster wheel all day, running as fast as you can but still can’t manage to get ahead? We Americans seem to have a passion for being busy.
Have you noticed how many “energy” drinks are now on the market? A Gallup poll found that people in the United States work longer hours and take less time off than most everywhere else in the world. That is a sure recipe for burnout, anxiety and fits the saying of burning the candle at both ends.
Do you feel so overwhelmed you never relax? Do you drag yourself to work and have trouble getting started? Do you lack satisfaction from your achievements? Do your coworkers think of you as irritable or impatient? You may be facing burnout. Ok, let’s look at three steps to dealing with burnout.
Your first step is to realize that burnout is more common than most people think. In a recent poll, less than 40% answered they had time during the week when they felt relaxed and happy. That means 60% of us are never relaxed. Another poll found 47% of Americans thought they don’t get enough done or accomplished during the week. That means most of us, at some point in time, feel overwhelmed and overworked. To translate this, a majority of Americans are subject to burnout.
Now that you know that you are not unique in facing burnout, your next step is to accept your need to slow down. It is easy to fall into the guilt trap of I have to work harder; I have to do more for the kids, or I am just not doing enough. Remember, every machine has its limits, and your body is no different. Pushing a car faster than it is designed to go or loading a truck with more tonnage than it can carry will not result in getting there faster or with more cargo. The result will be a broken vehicle on the side of the road. Can you tell yourself you need to find a way to slow down?
A way to help yourself reach this realization is to create a list of the benefits of slowing down. Slowing down will help you see what really needs to done today. Slowing down allows you to focus on what you do best. Slowing down will help you stay healthy. Slowing down helps you make better decisions. Slowing down improves the quality of your work, boosts your personal effectiveness, and reduces mistakes.
Have you convinced yourself that it is time to slow down? Now, it time to set boundaries. Yes, you have to design boundaries. “Setting boundaries” is a term used to describe the process of defining your expectations and being consistent about enforcing these expectations. Knowing your boundaries can help you deal with the difficulties of your job as well as providing a space for your family and friends to be a more present part of your life.
How easy it for you to say no? “I encourage people to remember that “No” is a complete sentence.” is Gavin de Becker’s advice. Warren Buffet notes, “The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say ‘No’ to almost everything.” A significant piece of setting boundaries is giving yourself permission to say no rather than saying yes every time.
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary’s definition of burnout is “exhaustion of physical or emotional strength or motivation usually as a result of prolonged stress or frustration.” Burnout is both physical and emotional. Have you included in your weekly schedule a time for a personal reset? Going to church and prayer are a great way to put life in perspective, reset your emotional clock, and avoid burnout.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30