Our culture, our bosses and our customers revere a strong work ethic, making it all the easier for us to lose a sense of work-life balance and veer toward burnout.
Chronic stress over an extended length of time will eventually harm job performance and our mental and physical well-being.
The American Psychological Association defines burnout as “emotional exhaustion and negative attitudes and feelings toward one’s co-workers and job role.” It can leave you feeling hopeless, fatigued, drained, and frustrated and ultimately cause low commitment to the job and absenteeism.
“Our bodies and brains are designed to handle [stress] in short bursts and then return to normal functioning,” said Dr. David Ballard of the Association’s Psychologically Healthy Workplace Program, in a Forbes article. “When stress becomes chronic, this narrow focus continues for a long time and we have difficulty paying attention to other things.”
Here are some suggestions to help maximize your energy, creativity and productivity:
- Know when you’re most productive. Tackle your most challenging projects at that time of day.
- Schedule regular breaks to eat away from your desk to take a walk, meditate or listen to music.
- While daily routine can be assuring and make you more productive it can also become mind-numbing. Sometimes it’s good mix up your process and add some new challenges.
- It’s great to give your best effort but perfectionism can be strain. With some tasks it’s fine to go with what’s “good enough.”
- The downside to having digital devices, or an “office in our pocket,” is a temptation to work 24/7. Set and enforce rules on when you’ll stop taking calls, texts and emails.
- Sprinkle regular long weekends throughout the year. Schedule them on your calendar where there are long stretches between holidays and vacations.
- Find restorative and pleasurable experiences. Make a date with family members or close friend, or find a place of sanctuary for quiet reflection, meditation, music or yoga.
- Focus on why work matters to you and its meaningful rewards. Go beyond the most obvious rewards of pay and recognition and reflect on the ways you serve the community.
This guest post is by Caren Burmeister. Caren is a retired newspaper reporter turned freelance writer who enjoys yoga and caring for her two fat cats.