Preventing Burnout on the Job

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We all face seasons of difficulty in the workplace. Recently, I read a great article by Jenny Rough titled “You Can Prevent Burnout on the Job.”

Richard Boyatzis describes burnout as follows, “I think burnout is the wrong description of it. I think it’s burn up. Physiologically, that is what you are doing because of the chronic stress being placed on your body.”

Ms. Rough’s article provides us a few ways that we can prevent burning out or burning up.

Difficult economic times means, companies are downsizing, which leaves employees with an increased workload and a higher risk for job burnout—which is defined as the gradual erosion of energy and spirit because of chronic job stress.

Here’s how to prevent it:

Heed the signals. “Beware of how stress manifests in your body,” says Ruth Luban, a counselor who specializes in occupational and behavioral health in Santa Monica, Calif. Some experience gastrointestinal distress, while others have insomnia. Treat—don’t rationalize—symptoms.

Practice self-care. Quiet rituals can be simple as 10 minutes every two hours. “Smoking or coffee breaks will only fuel burnout,” Luban says. Try breathing, meditation or walking.

Avoid a job mismatch. Research shows six factors indicate whether there is a fit between a job and a person, says Christina Maslach, professor of psychology at the University of California-Berkley: workload, control over tasks, community, fair treatment, reward and similar values. The greater the mismatch, the greater the risk of burnout.

Talk with someone. “Professionals are embarrassed when they burn out,” Luban says. They tend to withdraw. Talk to your spouse or a friend. Your boss? That’s delicate. Depending on the relationship, consider talking about changing your job description or moving to a different role.

Sometimes it takes work to keep chronic job stress at bay.

 

Live long and prosper.

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