What doesn’t kill you, might make you crazy. 5 tips to avoid burnout

3 Apr

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We’ve all had those “I can’t believe I did…” that moments. Some seasons, we have them more frequently than others. It’s been one of those semesters for me. So much so, that I’m beginning to wonder if I’m sabotaging myself on purpose.  Call this burnout. The line between “important” and  “not so important” have blurred into one big IMPORTANT blob. My subconscious mind has taken a stand on what is really important for my life over the next 70 years, and there seems to be little I can actually do about it. Other than apologize profusely for the things I just can’t seem to get together.  So.

 What are the top 5 things every student and professional should do to prevent this burnout, this unintended sabotage and the subsequent embarrassment of apology?  I love lists:

  1. Socialize regularly. Business lunches and dinners do not count. School business events clearly do not count. Grab your jeans a t-shirt and a Frisbee. Get some time in outdoors now that the weather is warmer. Conversation that has no purpose other than verbal detox does wonders.
  2. Exercise. Funny how this one is always on one list or another. Nothing beats a fit of anxiety like getting the heart rate up. If that means a 3 mile jog around the park go for it, if it means a walk up and down a flight of stairs, that works too. Physical activity will give your mind and body something else to focus on instead of panic.
  3. Write! I love this one.  Taking time daily or weekly to discuss (with ourselves) the things that made us glad, or sad can be a great way to relieve some stress. It’s also fun to read back over what you’ve written in years past—you know to see the improvement.
  4. Learn when to stop. How many of us intend to leave the office by 5 and somehow 7 rolls around and there is still “just one more thing…?” Quit it. Leave it. Set a hard cut off time for the end of your day and leave. There is nothing (usually nothing) so life or death important that it can’t wait until you roll in bright and early the next morning. (We know you’re the first one in the parking lot. Don’t deny it.)
  5. Get a vacation. Sometimes a solid getaway is really the only thing left to refresh your mind and save your sanity. Get out of the house, get away from your phone and those incessant emails. Grab your passport and a Groupon Getaways deal– It’s time for a great escape. You’ll be so much better when you get back, you’ll run circles around  your previous overachieving self.

 Calgon, take us away. 

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One Response to “What doesn’t kill you, might make you crazy. 5 tips to avoid burnout”

  1. generationhr January 8, 2014 at 10:26 pm #

    I am too often guilty of thinking “I don’t have time for exercise or to take a break.” Then I rediscover that, when I do make the time (‘finding’ it is a lost cause!), I feel re-energized afterwards and produce more than I do when I don’t take these breaks. I think our American work ethic often leaves us equating breaks with sloughing off and that’s simply not the case. There’s a popular saying among scientists (coined by Wittgenstein?) that the world’s greatest discoveries are made in the 3 B’s – In Bed, on the Bus, or in the Bath – when the mind is otherwise at rest. – Terry Portillo http://generationhr.wordpress.com/

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