Dear Aunty B,
It’s 16 weeks to Christmas and I am totally burnt out. How will I last that long?
First, are you stressed out or suffering from burnout? They are two very different things.
In a nutshell, stress is all about feeling overloaded but there is a chance that things can get under control. Burnout makes you feel empty, beyond caring and helpless and is often the result of overwork and long-term stress. If you are suffering from burnout, 16 more weeks of work without a break is not an option. It is time to take action.
Stop thinking ‘Once I get through this week it will be fine’ because it never is. Trust me. I tried that and it doesn’t work. Stop what you are doing. You need renewal.
- Make your health a priority
- Get a medical checkup
- Set realistic goals and have a realistic workload
- Learn to say ‘no’
- Learn to delegate
- If you are in a customer/client-facing role, try and move out of the position in the short term while you recover
- Identify triggers for stress
- Pace yourself
- Eat properly
- Drink plenty of water
- Take a lunch break
- Aim for eight hour’s sleep each night
- Avoid drugs and alcohol
- Get some exercise (yes, horizontal folkdancing is excellent)
- Build your support network
- Talk to your family, friends and trusted associates about how you are feeling
- Block off chunks of time in your diary for headspace
- Commit to four week’s annual leave and stick to it
- Look at changing your behaviour, not waiting for everything around you to change
- Work towards a better balance between work and your personal life
Greg, if you do not see an immediate improvement, take some sick leave. Burnout doesn’t go away unless you deal with it.
FYI Burnout: Signs, Symptoms and Prevention http://www.helpguide.org/mental/burnout_signs_symptoms.htm