You see I don’t have the time for burnout. For heaven's sake it's the New Year! And, seriously, folks, how on earth can I have burnout when I love what I do? However, apparently a sense of enjoyment doesn’t necessarily cancel out any associated stress.
So, what exactly is burnout and does one go about avoiding it?
I did a bit of research…
Wikipedia tells me: “Burnout is a psychological term that refers to long-term exhaustion and diminished interest in work.”
An article in Forbes magazine details 10 signs of burnout:
- Lack of motivation
- Frustration, cynicism and other negative emotions
- Cognitive problems (eg, inability to concentrate or see the big picture)
- Slipping job performance
- Interpersonal problems at home and at work
- Not taking care of yourself
- Being preoccupied at work…when you’re not at work
- Decreased satisfaction
- Health problems
Wikipedia details the difference between stress and burnout: “Stress ultimately produces urgency and hyperactivity, whereas burnout produces helplessness or hopelessness. And although stress may cause a loss of energy and anxiety disorders, burnout often involves loss of motivation, ideals, and hope.”
Ha! So I’m stressed. Sigh. So what should I do to combat what seems to be my increasing stress levels? This is what I’ve implemented so far:
- Exercise—at the moment it’s swimming in the surf because it’s divine and invigorating.
- Reading—time restraints often mean I’m not as generous with myself as far as reading time goes. Since Christmas I’ve been avidly, maybe even obsessively, reading. It’s helping.
- I’ve planned a beach holiday for February (when my next book has been sent to my editor).
- Diet—it’s proven that an apple a day is VERY good for you. (Man, I wish I liked fruit more)
- Meditation—I know, I know, I’m sure I made this a NY resolution last year, but I didn’t keep it up. Why do I find it so hard? But I mean to try again.
- I’m going to institute a cut off time for technology. I don’t need to obsessively check my email or FB every hour I’m awake.
I’d love to know if others have experienced burnout, stress or just general exhaustion. What did you do to pull yourself out of that funk? Or what strategies do you use to keep that festering beast at bay?