The Internet is full of stories about people who have walked away from productive careers to enter another line of work or even stop working altogether. You’ve no doubt read your fair share of them. They cite issues such as unsustainable hours, lack of satisfaction or insomnia and other physical ailments. Whatever the reason, they all relate back to one overriding condition: job burnout.
Your career is an important part of your life. You spend most of your waking hours on the job, and you’ve worked hard to get where you are. But your body and mind might be starting to send you signals that something has to give. Maybe you’re not sleeping through the night as well as you used to. Perhaps you find yourself a little too quick to snap at your husband or children for no reason at all.
As defined by the Mayo Clinic, job burnout is “a state of physical, emotional or mental exhaustion” that results in self-doubt about your abilities and performance. Exhaustion is like a runaway train that begins slowly but builds on its own momentum until it’s difficult to put on the brakes. Incorporate strategies to maintain balance and keep your career and personal life on the right tracks.
- Have fulfilling outlets outside the office. Work is subject to the law of diminishing returns. Your effectiveness is inversely proportional to the number of hours you put in. When you spend time in leisure activities like hiking, reading or cooking, it gives your mind a chance to rest and recharge so you can resume fresh the next day.
- Take breaks. This seems like such fundamental advice, but our multitasking society often takes misplaced pride in going on and on like the Energizer bunny. Even robots break down if they’re overworked. Try taking a real lunch break or a mid-afternoon walk. For better or worse, the job will still be there.
- Learn to meditate. You don’t have to sit in a lotus position and chant. Meditation is simply a method of focusing your thoughts to reduce the “chatter” and achieve balance. With practice you’ll be able to take mediation breaks at your desk or just about any time you need one.
Lack of control is a frequent cause of job burnout. Taking care of yourself is a way to ensure that you, not your career, stay in control.