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Practical Ways to Avoid Burnout and Put Fun Back Into Your Life!
By Michael Stahl   Printer Friendly Version

Amazingly, the National Institute of Mental Health in the United States reports that more than 20 million Americans suffer from chronic nervousness, panic attacks and phobias. With the fast pace of modern day society, people seem to have less time and more frustrations - even with all the technology that is supposed to make our lives easier!

Here are some practical ways you can use in your every day life to avoid and overcome burnout:

  • Start your day with the powerful positive input of high-energy music. Everyone enjoys different kinds of music so you need to use what YOU like. Just be sure you start the day listening to the kind of high-energy music that gets you PUMPED! It could be rock and roll or country or jazz or pop or whatever makes you feel GREAT about yourself. It is important to start the day off with positive energy and enthusiasm in order to effectively tackle the challenges that you might encounter. If you put yourself in a good mood before you have to deal with problems you could be facing, it makes the frustration much easier to handle.

It is not always easy to "hit the ground running", especially at the start of the day, but you will feel better about yourself both personally and professionally. Research has shown that people who use high energy music to start their day and before they face challenging situations have increased productivity by as much as 200%!

  • Do not allow mistakes to ruin you. Do everything you possibly can to fix a problem with a client or associate in order to make them happy. After that, do not dwell on what went wrong; otherwise this can lead to decreased productivity and burnout. If you cannot get over something that went wrong in your life, remember this quote, "Do not blame yourself for past errors. You are no longer the same person who made them and you cannot blame a person who does not exist."
  • Get an "accountability partner" to help you stay focused. You can share with this person your needs, fears and victories. An accountability partner is someone you can trust and feel comfortable enough with to just "be yourself". You should meet with this person at least once a week to talk about your goals, progress, setbacks and thoughts on your personal and professional life. Your accountability partner keeps you on track and moving forward in all aspects of your development. The friendship and discussion you share with this person will help you to look at things objectively, understand yourself better and be more well-rounded.

NOTE: An accountability partner should be a person other than your spouse or significant other.

  • See the funny side of life - allow yourself to laugh and enjoy life without being serious all the time. Laughter helps ease stress and bring mountains back down to molehills where they belong. Learn to see humor in difficult situations. A good, hearty laugh is the best stress releaser of all. Give yourself and the people you work with a "laugh-a-day". Put a "humor board" in your office. Have a designated bulletin board where anyone can post cartoons, jokes or even funny pictures. This gives everyone a chance to ease anxieties.

You can also use what can be called "comic memos". This is where you attach a funny cartoon to the routine, sometimes boring memos or pieces of paperwork that have to be given out. Another idea for easing tension is to choose various people in the office to take turns telling a "joke of the day". The more you laugh, the less you worry and the healthier you feel.

  • Slow down! "Take inventory" of your business, personal life, accomplishments and goals. Take the time to reflect and think. This revitalizes the mind and refreshes the spirit. A survey that was done of nursing home patients with an average age of 80 revealed a powerful fact. The respondents were asked if they would do anything differently with their lives if they could do it over and, if they would change anything, what it was that they would do differently. Ninety-nine percent of those surveyed said they would spend more time reflecting, thinking and enjoying what they had worked to achieve before it was too late.
  • Plan time where you can take off work even if you have to plan weeks or months ahead - make the effort to give yourself a break! Too many people are under the impression that it is impossible to take to a break from the rat race of life, otherwise their jobs will leave them behind. The truth is, if you do not allow yourself time to relax away from work; you will become bitter and unproductive even when you are there. Ultimately, your job will overwhelm you, not because you took a few days off, but because you burned yourself out so badly that you experienced emotional meltdown. Allow yourself some time to relax - guilt free.
  • When you feel overwhelmed, go out to lunch with some friends or associates. Make it a point to not talk about business. Talk about your hobbies, sports or whatever you enjoy. This gives you a release from the "pressure cooker" of stress. Sometimes it just helps to get away briefly in the middle of the day.
  • If you feel burned out on people, eat lunch by yourself a couple times a week. This gives you the chance to just enjoy quiet time and not have to talk if you do not feel like engaging in conversation. There can be tremendous power in silence.
  • Take up an exercise program. Even if you do not have time to go to the gym, you can take a walk around the block a few times each evening or work out with a fitness video at home. Exercise makes you feel good about yourself, cleanses your body of built up stress and makes you sleep better. It takes discipline to work out on a regular basis but the benefits far outweigh the little push it might take to get you going. When you sweat, you release tension and anxiety. Consult your physician to find out what kind of exercise would be best for you.
  • Don't just focus on what you haven't done; give yourself the credit you deserve for what you have done. A sure way to burn yourself out is to always think about what you could have, should have or just didn't do for whatever reason. This brings your self-image down instead of lifting it up. Acknowledge the positive things you have been able to accomplish, give yourself credit for having the courage to face each day and focus on your victories. You should always learn from the past but don't stay there. Keep a positive attitude about the present and be optimistic about the future.
  • Make blocks of time for various tasks. During those blocks of time, do not allow yourself to be interrupted for other things. This will increase your efficiency and reduce the anxiety caused by trying to do twenty things at once.
  • Take a power nap with your feet elevated. During your lunchtime, if you feel tired and are having difficulty concentrating, taking a short 15 or 20 minute nap will help. By elevating your feet, the blood will more readily flow to your brain, which increases the oxygen levels you need to feel well rested and alert.

To get the most out of your short rest time, hold a pen or a set of keys in one hand while you are lying down. Keep the arm holding the object slightly raised but obviously comfortable. When your body reaches a complete state of relaxation your grip on the object will release, causing it to fall to the floor and startle you awake. In just a few minutes, you will get the same benefit of a long, comfortable sleep. A little power nap with your feet elevated can make you feel amazingly refreshed.

  • Do not be afraid to say "NO" when you know that you are either already booked or have all the commitments you can handle. Spreading yourself too thin can lead to dangerous stress and anxiety.
  • Understand that goals do not have to be set in stone. Sometimes situations and circumstances change in your life that put you down a different road. If you find that something is not right for you, it is OK to change paths without feeling guilty or ashamed. This is not failing. This is being mature about your future happiness and what you now know is right for you.

To avoid bitterness and eventual burnout, understand that whatever you choose to do with your career and your life has to be for your well being. No outside influence can know what is better for you than you.

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