Preventing Burnout


December 20, 2018

We live in a burnout culture.  How many people in your life talk about running out of energy, losing motivation, and being “out of gas”?    This might even be your own situation as well.  Burnout is a very real problem, and it can be serious.  People lose job growth, relationship success, emotional health and physical wellness with burnout.  Let’s look at some ways to nip burnout in the bud and to have a healthy balanced life.

Take a realistic look at how you are doing.  Just ask yourself if you tend to have problems getting up in the morning, dragging in the day or having a positive attitude.  If you are great in all of these, God bless you!  But if you experience these, you could be at risk for early-stage burnout.  So many of us have to almost be in ICU to do something about burnout, so respect these little signs before they become big signs.

Add the “vital” and prune back the “not vital.”   And before you’re into burnout territory, get out that calendar and figure out what a 5 day week with nights off will look like (with a few exceptions that must be justified).  Most of the time, that means adding rest, time with people who are gains and not drains, fun and meaningful activities.  And to make time for that, then “not vital” activities need to be lessened, for example, too much time with the draining folks, social media, tv, and gaming.  This creates a good balance in the schedule.

Take the attitude that “healthy selfish” is OK.  It’s, unfortunately, true that no one is having a “protect you from burnout” meeting for your benefit right now.  You have to own and value this.  But healthy selfishness isn’t about being self-centered or narcissistic or not being concerned with others.  It’s about understanding that you can’t have a full life, give to others and make a difference in the world for a long, long time if you don’t keep burnout at bay.  So say “no” to demands on your time and energy that you just don’t have the bandwidth for.  The right people will support you, and the wrong ones will just go away and make someone else feel guilty.

There’s something you can today about burnout, and this works!  Best to you.

John Townsend, Ph.D.

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