Burned-Out? Stressed? You Can Refocus and
Revitalize Without Quitting Your Job
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Job burnout is a hot topic these days. In fact, according to a recent report in the New York Times, job burnout is one of the main topics discussed at human resource meetings around the country. It’s no wonder. With less staff doing more work in nearly every industry, people are feeling the drain both mentally and physically.
If your work leaves you feeling tired, unfulfilled, powerless and frustrated, you may indeed be suffering from burnout. But before you do something drastic like quit your job or switch careers, try a simple revitalization program that can renew your energy and rekindle your tired spirit.
The Lost Art of Sabbatical
Nearly every country but the United States practices the art of sabbatical. In a nutshell, a sabbatical is a recurring period of rest and renewal. People typically envision sabbaticals being multi-month retreats to some place of solitude. In the real world, a sabbatical need not be so drastic. In fact, many people can recharge their mental and physical energies in as little as a week.
But what if you can’t seem to get even an extra hour for yourself, much less a whole week? Simple. Renew your energy on a daily basis to overcome your burnt-out state of mind.
Easy Steps to Renewing Your Energy
The first step is to know why you’re feeling so drained of energy. To
determine this, keep a log of your daily activities to identify what’s
causing the burnout. Think about what you can do free up your energy. What are your priorities? Are there any tasks you can delete or delegate? Would anyone notice if you didn’t do a particular item or if you didn’t attend a meeting?
Doing something as simple as making a “To Do” list and prioritizing
your activities can help you take control of your time. Think about what absolutely must get done and how to best structure your day to make sure you have enough time to accomplish these essential activities. To prioritize your tasks, evaluate whether they are helping you meet your goals and objectives.
If you’re consistently doing activities that don’t have anything to do with your goals, then you’re doing the wrong activities or you need to rethink your goals. Too many people take on too many commitments at once and drain nearly all their energy. Realizing that you don’t have to accept every invitation or tolerate every interruption is a step in the right direction. Learn how to tactfully say no and fend off interruptions in order to save your precious energy for more important matters.
In addition to better organizing your time, you need to keep your physical body nourished during times of stress. Very often people react to stress by drinking more coffee, eating unhealthy fast foods and quitting their exercise routines. This is a road to disaster.
Keeping your body nourished with healthy foods will keep your energy levels up—something you definitely need during a burnout crisis. Cut back on caffeine, alcohol, sugar, fat and salt and any foods that make you feel sluggish and tired. Also, regular exercise can help calm your fears, increase your strength and stamina, and raise your energy level. Some great physical activities for controlling burnout are running, jogging, swimming, bicycling, cross-country skiing, aerobic dancing, in-line skating, hiking, and walking at a brisk pace. When the day-to-day grind makes you feel out of control, exercise puts you squarely in control of life and moving forward on your path.
Renew in as Little as Seven Minutes
Can you really renew yourself from burnout in as little as seven minutes? You bet! But it’s not a one-time quick fix. You need to take
revitalization breaks every day. A great way to revitalize is with a beauty break. No matter where you live or work, there’s beauty all around you. During the day, visit a park or some other secluded place filled with nature’s beauty.
The growing field of ecopsychology studies the powerful connection between nature and mental well-being. Many people experience a heightened awareness in nature; their senses are sharpened; they feel
connected to something greater than themselves and a sense of inner peace.
Find a quiet place to relax and enjoy the scenery. As you do this, take deep breaths by inhaling slowly to the count of five and exhaling slowly in the same manner. Repeat this breathing exercise ten times. This helps clear your mind and relieve the chest tightness stress causes. If you spend your days in a bustling city, take a similar break near a fountain, in a beautiful hotel lobby filled with lush green foliage, a flower shop or in a museum. Each place will offer something peaceful and relaxing to focus on.
Another great daily technique is to listen to relaxing music. Our minds are like giant sponges. They soak up everything around us and use those stimuli to determine our mood. Many researchers have even determined that stress hormones rise in response to noise, especially harsh, violent or loud sounds.
When you’re at work, keep a portable cassette or CD player nearby
and some of your favorite relaxation music. Many people escape by listening to classical music or meditation music that’s intertwined with nature sounds, such as a babbling brook, a rainstorm, or waves crashing against the shore.
As you listen to your music, practice your breathing exercises to help soothe your burnout symptoms.
Getting Away From it All
A planned getaway, whether it’s for a weekend or a day, can help you get away from life’s fast pace so you can relax and renew your whole
system. A weekend “away from it all” can work like magic, completely revitalizing your mind, body and spirit. It’s a wonderful antidote to a hectic schedule and lifestyle. You can even plan a getaway weekend at home. Unplug the phone, turn off the pager and renew your energy by giving yourself a couple of days to do activities that recharge your energy.
A one-day getaway can also be renewing and relaxing. Many people enjoy day outings to a spa, the beach or a quiet park. Whatever form of escape you choose, be sure to “get away” to a stress-free, nurturing
environment. Noisy, crowded places can wreck havoc with your nerves and consume lots of energy.
Planning a relaxation and renewal period helps to refill the well. After a day or two away, you’ll feel rested, recharged and ready to assess what changes you need to make in your life.
You Can Survive a Burnout
Once you pinpoint where your energy is being drained and find simple ways to renew yourself, you can overcome job burnout. Many people who implement these simple techniques report a renewed sense of purpose without having to make a drastic life change. The key is to focus—on yourself, your surroundings and your energy—in order keep
your burnout at bay.
Pamela Ammondson is president of Ammondson Communications, a consulting firm specializing in business communications and marketing. She is also the author of Clarity Quest: How to Take a Sabbatical without Taking More than a Week Off, and conducts Clarity Quest
workshops for corporate executives, small business owners, professionals, and entry level employees, as well as the unemployed and searching. For information aboutn Pamela’s Keynote presentations and workshops, please contact the Frog Pond Group at 800.704.FROG (3764) or email email@example.com;