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Burned out? Here’s what to do

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in Career Management,Workplace Communication

stressed businessmanMany people talk about feeling “burned out” casually, but it’s a legitimate psychological issue that can affect your physical health. The price of unmanaged work stress can sometimes even be fatal, says psychotherapist Gary Brown, be­­cause of heart attacks, strokes and other stress-related illnesses. It’s important to get help for yourself and make changes before that level of damage occurs.

Being burned out is not just the result of long hours. It can also happen when people don’t feel that they have sufficient control over their work or the job is a poor fit. Here’s what you need to know to protect yourself from burnout.

  • Recognize the signs of trouble. Some of the symptoms of burnout are physical, Brown says. You may feel constantly fatigued and suffer from headaches and high blood pressure. Other symptoms may in­­clude disrupted sleep, poor decision-­making and memory, depression or sadness. You may find yourself calling in sick a lot and lashing out at peers. You won’t feel motivated or enthusiastic about your job.
  • Don’t ignore it. Ask yourself whether you feel this is a short-term issue, or if things just aren’t going to change, Brown says. “Be honest with yourself—do you need to be working this hard because of your own work ethic, or is this being imposed upon you as a re­­quire­­ment of the job? Once you answer that then you have choices to make about how you deal with it.”
  •  Strive for balance. Develop a vi­sion for what your ideal job looks like, Brown says. Can you take a break during the day? Are you able to schedule some time off? Time away from work can help you feel more refreshed and ready to tackle your work.

Other options may include off­­loading tasks to others to reduce your workload, working a more flexible schedule or working from home. In the meantime, take care of yourself by eating right, exercising regularly and avoiding activities that can be harmful if you overindulge, such as drinking, even if it helps you feel less stressed in the short term.

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