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Effectively Avoiding Burnout

Do you ever feel constantly burned out, and unable to tackle your long-term goals? Are the challenges and stresses of everyday life interfering with your bigger plans?

If the answer is yes, then psychiatrist Kristen Carpenter, PhD, director of women’s behavioral health at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, has some advice for bringing more balance to your life and tackling the things that really matter. Here are some tips:

Take an hour off

Make some time every week that’s just for you, and it must total one hour at a minimum. You could spend it meditating, organizing, or getting in a workout - even four breaks of 15 minutes in a week is enough. If you never take a step back, you’ll never see the bigger picture and notice where you can be more efficient.

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket

Carpenter feels that more and more young women are developing an all-energy here, no-energy there approach to their lives. For example, they put all their energies into developing their careers even though they know they one day want a family. Instead of putting all your eggs in one basket, evaluate what your goals are in the long-term, both personally and in your career. You can have it all - just not all at the same time. Ask yourself when marriage or kids will become important to you, and just like you did with study and your career, plan ahead to make it happen. 

Know when to shift your focus

If you focus on your career in your 20s, be ready to accelerate your timeline in your 30s if you want marriage and kids. A lot of women underestimate how hard it is to develop a personal life when you’ve previously spent all your time focused on your career. Time marches on, so keep up with dating and make the most of your options in your 30s, like online dating, dating friends of friends, and attending social events where you know there will be new people with whom you can mix and mingle.  

Keep Goals Manageable

Many of us have a long “bucket list” of things we’d like to achieve in our lifetimes. Carpenter says this approach can be overwhelming, and recommends having just two goals per category - personal, professional, family and relationships. Any more than that, and your goals are unlikely to stick. If you have a lot of goals, decide which are most important right now, and which you can reevaluate in 2016. 

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Used under Creative Commons Licensing courtesy of Courtney Emery

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