Setting the Stage for Burnout
“Why is it that between 25 and 50 percent of people report feeling overwhelmed or burned out at work?
It’s not just the number of hours we’re working, but also the fact that we spend too many continuous hours juggling too many things at the same time.
What we’ve lost, above all, are stopping points, finish lines and boundaries. Technology has blurred them beyond recognition. Wherever we go, our work follows us, on our digital devices, ever insistent and intrusive. It’s like an itch we can’t resist scratching, even though scratching invariably makes it worse.” Tony Schwartz, CEO of The Energy Project and the author of Be Excellent at Anything.
A Recipe for Stress and Burnout
As I found myself becoming more and more attached to my devices and the checking that had developed it occurred to me: I have control over this!! It can feel like I don’t but when I look at how i become unconsciousness and let myself drift into a dysfunctional relationship with these electronic devices… I realize I do!
I heard someone once say, :Think back to what your days were like in the eighties. How did you feel? What did time feel like?” When I stopped and felt the difference between those days and my current life I realized several things. Back then we had built in stopping points, finish lines and boundaries. Time, tasks, what we focused on at different parts of the day seemed more well defined. There was a beginning, middle and end to work and a time for leisure, play, and relaxation. Now everything seems sped up and to blend together with no well defined edges. So it is up to us to reclaim our time, attention and life space!
Remedies for Stress and Burnout
First, recognize that if we take care of our brains then they will take care of us. One important way we can care for our brain is to stop multitasking. It is bad for our brains. We were told it was good but research show that it is not, so we need to stop!! It is hard to break the habit but is an act of kindness for our often overworked brain!
Second, our inner reserves do not replenish themselves. We need to pause and give ourselves healthy breaks that replenish our energy.
Third we need to get a grip on our attention. We are not effective if we scatter or split our attention.
So how can we address these problem areas and turn things around? Perhaps beginning with some questions can help define where each of us can make changes to avoid burnout and preserve our energy, health and sanity!
An honest appraisal of time management can be useful. The average person wastes upwards of two hours a day. Don’t believe it? Keep a log and identify where those areas are for you. Then you will know where you can reclaim time to devote to replenishing your energy reserves through exercise, deep relaxation/meditation.
We have too many things coming at us from too many directions these days. We need a way to slow things down from the inside out for the health of our bodies minds and spirits. Meditation is particularly helpful in this regard as it serves multiple purposes: (1)decreases effects of stress on health, (2) begins to train the brain to be better able to focus and concentrate, (3) builds the ability to remain in the present moment which contributes to efficiency,and enjoyment and satisfaction in life.
Commonsense Boundaries for Burnout Prevention
Where could you draw limits with people or activities to free up time for yourself?
How could you streamline your day and give yourself breaks to regroup and replenish your energy?
Bringing a mindful presence to each activity that you do can do a lot to prevent burnout. Mindfulness can help to create motivation and momentum for integrating other techniques to reclaim your life!
One of the things that I try to remember when things are moving too fast is that I do not want to get to the end of my life feeling like I missed it! When we let things get out of control, are overwhelmed and stressed, we are not present to people or our experience….and are left with a sense of dissatisfaction and loss of fulfillment–like we were not even there!
What are some other ways that you could bring a more sane and healthful approach to your day? Feel free to share in the comment box as sharing ideas and thoughts is helpful to us all!