Job stress can drain you. You may start to feel you’re getting nowhere. You grow detached.
There’s a word for this: burnout. And it’s bad news for you, those around you, and your employer.
Ignoring burnout could raise your risk for stress-related illnesses, derail your enjoyment of life, and impair your job performance. So take a step back to see how you can improve your circumstances and the way you relate to them. Try this five-step plan:
- Admit you have a problem. Signs of burnout can include chronic fatigue and feeling overwhelmed, irritable, self-critical, or bored. You may have a short fuse. You may suffer from anxiety, depression, or poor concentration and sleep. Your productivity may decline. You may have headaches or other nagging ailments.
- Learn what led to burnout. Do you feel your job isn’t engaging your abilities? Do you feel unable to meet work demands? Do you feel left out or underappreciated?Perhaps you’re coping with changes at work, personal conflicts with coworkers, or stressful demands at both work and home.
- Seek support. Consider talking with your supervisor about issues that trouble you. Ask for feedback or talk about adjusting your responsibilities to make you more effective and friends, family, or your employee assistance program can offer advice and support.
- Focus on healing. There are many stressful things you can’t change—but you can change your reactions, attitudes, and actions. The New Manager’s Tool Kit: 21 Things You Need to Know to Hit the Ground Runningsuggests you address four key areas:
- Physical. Eat a balanced diet, get regular exercise, and practice relaxation techniques.
- Mental. Make the most of strengths, improve on weaknesses, and take regular breaks.
- Interpersonal. Carve out time with the people you love or join a club with enriching activities.
- Spiritual. Take time for prayer, meditation, creative arts, volunteer work, or a support group.
- Keep it from recurring. After you improve your attitude and personal life, take steps to manage stress before it gets to you. Schedule downtime and opportunities to do things you love with people you love. And learn to say no gracefully to unimportant projects that will deplete you.