By Michael L. Stahl & Ryan S. Gallik - The Mental Hygiene Project
As we discussed in the last newsletter, burnout has now become a major issue in workplaces across the world. At the Mental Hygiene Project, we seek to provide prevention, mitigation and avenues for treatment for mental health injuries of all kinds – including burnout.
Here are seven more easy-to-use techniques to avoid and overcome burnout:
♦ If you feel burned out on people, eat lunch or dinner by yourself a couple times a week. This gives you the chance to just enjoy quiet time and not have to talk if you do not feel like engaging in conversation. There can be tremendous power in silence.
♦ Take up an exercise program. Even if you do not have time to go to the gym, you can take a walk around the block a few times each evening or work out with an online fitness routine. Exercise makes you feel good about yourself, cleanses your body of built up stress and makes you sleep better, focus more clearly and be more productive in all areas of your life.
♦ Don’t just focus on what you haven’t done, give yourself the credit you deserve for what you have done. A sure way to burn yourself out is to always think about what you could have, should have or just didn’t do for whatever reason. This brings your self-image down instead of lifting it up. Acknowledge the positive things you have been able to accomplish, give yourself credit for having the courage to face each day and focus on your victories. You should always learn from the past but don’t stay there. Keep a positive attitude about the present and be optimistic about the future. The past should only be a point of reference, not a place of residence.
♦ Manage your time by making blocks of time for various tasks. During those blocks of time, do your best to not allow yourself to be interrupted for other things. This will increase your efficiency and reduce the anxiety caused by trying to do twenty things at once. Of course there are always times when emergencies happen and you are forced to divert your attention to something else. Just use solid time management to the best of your ability and don’t procrastinate.
♦ Take a power nap with your feet elevated. During your meal break, if you feel tired and are having difficulty concentrating, taking a short 10 or 15 minute power nap will help. By elevating your feet, the blood will more readily flow to your brain which increases the oxygen levels you need to feel well-rested and alert. To get the most out of your short rest time, hold a pen or a set of keys in one hand while you are lying down. Keep the arm holding the object slightly raised but obviously comfortable. When your body reaches a complete state of relaxation your grip on the object will release, causing it to fall to the floor and startle you awake. In just a few minutes, you will get the same benefit of a longer, comfortable sleep. A little power nap with your feet elevated can make you feel amazingly refreshed.
♦ Do not be afraid to say “NO” when you know that you are either already booked or have all the commitments you can handle. Spreading yourself too thin inside and outside of work can lead to dangerous stress and anxiety.
♦ Understand that goals can and may change depending on your environment and your experiences. Sometimes situations and circumstances change in your life that put you down a different road. If you find that something is not right for you, it is OK to change paths without feeling guilty or ashamed.
This is not failing. This is being mature about your future happiness and what you now know is right for you. To avoid bitterness and eventual burnout, understand that whatever you choose to do with your career and your life has to be for your well-being. No outside influence can know what is better for you than you.
For questions or more information on the Mental Hygiene Project or Psychological Empowerment 360, contact Ryan S. Gallik or Michael L. Stahl through www.mentalhygieneproject.com.