Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Burnout Busters

I'm pulling together some content for a workshop I'm giving next week (and ultimately turning into an audio file for sale). The topic is recognizing and combatting burnout.

I thought it is important enough info to blog about...after all, even WAHMs are at risk for burning out.

So what is "burnout" exactly? How do you know when you're at that point?

Burnout is an extreme form of stress. It typically happens when stress is poorly (or not at all) managed, and builds up over time. Having experienced this myself, I can say with certainty, it is NOT a place you want to stay in!

Burnout is physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion. People who are "burned out" tend to be cynical, very sarcastic, more irritable than normal, and impatient. Productivity decreases and there is a lack of job (and even life) satisfaction. It's different than depression, but can certainly lead to depression.

I experienced burnout relatively early in my career, so I know how terrible it feels. And I also was able to identify the reasons I got to that point - and managed to pull myself out.

You can learn from my mistakes, and avoid it all together. Or if you're already there, take heart that you CAN pull yourself out of that low place.


Balance truly is the key. One of the biggest errors I made was focusing too much on one group of patients as a psychologist. In retrospect, I got too caught up in how "good" I was at it, and how effectively I helped the patients. I failed to appreciate the need to counter balance that with a less intense group of people.

And I really didn't care for myself as well as I should have - I exercised, but not consistently. I generally ate well, but not even most of the time. I had no hobbies, no downtime, no time away from the children. And being in the helping profession amplified the problems.

The solution for me was to shut down my practice. As blessings often happen, mine occured when I discovered coaching - knowing that I could still impact people in a positive way while balancing my life gave me an unexpected lift.

What can you do?

Find your balance. Only YOU can determine what that will be, what that will look like. But you can do it! Start with the end in mind - what will your balanced life look like? How much time will you put in different areas?

Find a hobby/diversion. Make it something that is completely unrelated to your work. Make sure that when you are doing your hobby, you don't feel like you have to be "on." You will then be pulled back into "work" mode. Do something entirely for your enjoyment and pleasure.

Create time for exercise and physical activity. It is a wonderful stress buster, and works at a physiological level to combat the accumulation of stress (which leads to burnout).

Find areas to delegate in work. You can't do it all. You may need a new challenge, a new environment, or a new job all together. But concentrate on your strengths and hire out/staff the rest.

You CAN have a balanced life. I've done it. It wasn't "easy" or overnight. But I followed the same tips from above and created a pretty nice thing for myself and my family.

Why don't you get started today?

To Your Continuing Prosperity,

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