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How to Sidestep Burnout at Work

By Sandy Schroeder

A little work stress is normal, but sometimes it can build. When that happens, little things may seem major, and one issue leads to more. Then burnout may spill over into everything else, and impact health over time.

People in high stress jobs are more likely to encounter burnout. Dumblittleman says teachers, police, doctors, nurses, social workers, attorneys, accountants and fast food workers are all prime targets for burnout. Whenever there are issues beyond a person’s control, burnout is more likely. If you feel frustrated or very negative at work, watch for these signs.

  • Major changes in your eating and drinking
  • Feeling like you have to drag yourself to work
  • Snapping at your co-workers
  • Never feeling like smiling or joking
  • Not seeing the benefits in your job

It can be tempting to just power ahead, but ongoing work stress can have serious health consequences such as insomnia, depression, anxiety, heart disease, or diabetes.

Sidestepping Burnout

Taking steps to deal with stress can make all of the difference. If you spot the signs, don’t just wait for them to disappear. Change the situation.

Step away for an afternoon - Sometimes just being away can clear your head and give you a better view of your job. When you return, the situation may be clearer. You may see new ways to do your job, or other solutions that will help.

Lighten the load – If tasks have multiplied, offload work. Delegate wherever you can. As you regain your balance, you can pick up speed.

Get outside and get moving – Just inserting a few brief walks into the day can lift your mood and help you see the bigger picture. Some of my friends say they have their best ideas when they are out walking.

Unplug and refocus – Shutting down electronics for an hour or two may give you time to collect your thoughts and establish a better groove.

Pause to breathe – Whatever helps you relax, can ease stress. Meditate, listen to music, have coffee with a friend, try tai chi or yoga sessions.

Reach out to communicate – Most of us know someone who just keeps moving, and never complains. Don’t be that person. When stress builds, speaking up and talking it through with the people around you can make a big difference. Releasing the tension, and sorting through the issues often helps people help each other.

Laugh a little – Being able to see the funny side can go a long way to ease stress. Sometimes it works to help everyone relax. Other times it can help someone vent a little. A friend of mine who loves her job, but can get stressed out, says humor often saves the day for her. It becomes the safety valve she needs.

Figure out what safety valves work for you and unload stress whenever it shows up.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Boulder, Colo.

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