Do you ever find yourself completely exhausted from work? I am not talking about the kind of exhausted you feel after working a normal 40 hour week, I am talking about the kind of exhausted you feel when you have pushed yourself to your limit and feel as if you are going over the edge of sanity to insanity. If so, you are likely feeling the effects of burnout. Burnout is not just a physical state of being tired, it is also an emotional and mental state caused by long-term involvement in an overly demanding situation.
This past week I worked many more hours than I normally work. This, of course, can be expected in the type of profession I am in. Let’s just say that I don’t work a normal 9-to-5 job. Yes, sometimes I do find myself working those hours, but then sometimes I find myself working 7-to-7 and then bringing work home. While I do prefer to be busy at work rather than slow, working the 7-to-7 and then having to do additional work at home and on the weekends can really start to get to you. For example, this past weekend I found myself at the office on a Saturday after having worked a 12.5 hour day on Friday. While I knew that I needed to be at work, I found myself feeling emotionally overwhelmed and exhausted from the week. A lot of it was due to the fact that my husband was out laying by a pool sipping on an alcoholic beverage with our friends as I read through a thirty-five page brief that I had already read a million times. Regardless of the reason, it was a feeling I highly disliked.
Side Effects of Burnout:
- Having a negative attitude at work
- Dreading going to work and then wanting to leave as soon as you get there
- Having little interest at work
- Lacking energy
- Having trouble sleeping
- Being easily irritated by co-workers and clients
- Experiencing headaches, body aches, or feelings of illness
- Feeling as if you want to quit or change careers
You might be thinking that stress and burnout sound a lot a like. While the two are related, stress occurs when your work feels out of control and is usually more of a short-term thing. Burnout, on the other hand, takes longer to feel and lasts longer than stress.
While burnout can certainly be an expected thing when you are working long hours with no vacations or resting periods, there are some things you can do to make sure that burnout doesn’t affect your career. Here are some tips:
As Others For Help
If you find your desk piled high with work that you feel you will never finish, ask someone for help. This can be an assistant, a co-worker, or even a friend. Having someone to take the load off of you will certainly help you manage those tasks that you need to do yourself.
Take a Break
Sometimes I find that no matter what I do I can’t seem to be able to take a peaceful break. Either my email is going off, my cell phone is ringing, or people are asking me non-stop questions. This can lead to feeling overwhelmed. The best thing you can do for yourself every single day is to take a break from it all. This could mean eating your lunch out of your office, taking a 10 minute walk outside, or shutting off all electronic gadgets and relaxing.
Exercising always gets your blood pumping and renews your energy levels. I know, I know, you are wondering when you will possibly have time to exercise when you can barely breathe. Trust me, there is always time to exercise. I find that forcing myself to get up in the morning and workout is the best thing for me and leaves me feeling renewed all day long.
Take a Vacation
Remember that your employer gives you vacations days for a reason. Even if you can’t afford to take an entire week off, take a long weekend and go somewhere relaxing with someone you love.
Do Something For Yourself Every Day
I am an avid reader, so when I have a long and exhausting day I love to curl up on the couch with a glass of wine and read. Doing something that you love to do by yourself and for yourself will re-charge your batteries and make you feel less overwhelmed and burned out. If you go through each day without taking the time to do things that you love to do you will surely drive yourself crazy.
Get a Pet
No one can ever be upset when they are around their pets. When I have an exhausting day or am annoyed by the people who are around me, I love to curl up with my two dogs (Taylor and Lyla) and lose myself in their playfulness. Pets have the ability to calm your anxieties and make you feel so loved. If you find yourself completely overwhelmed by work, try getting a pet to ease your stress. Of course, don’t get a pet if you won’t have any time for it. That won’t be fair to the animal.
If All Else Fails, Reevaluate Your Career Choice
If you do the things above and find that they are not helping, maybe you need to reevaluate your career choice and think about whether it is really the right option for you. Surely we are not going to be excited about every single day we have at work, but work shouldn’t be completely awful. We do have the ability to change things that are making us unhappy, so if your career is making your life miserable – CHANGE IT!