3 Major Signs of Career Burnout, and How You Can Prevent It

Prioritize your well-being.

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Courtesy of Alexmalexra / Shutterstock
Courtesy of Alexmalexra / Shutterstock

Entrepreneurs and executives are “corporate athletes.” They are prone to over-training, injury, and burnout just like professional athletes. It’s important to understand that the same drive that makes us successful, is also the same that will break us down.

Career burnout is real, and our health and well-being are critical to our long-term success. In order to achieve success in our personal lives and the workplace, we must manage our health as well as we can.

Burnout at work is demonstrated through negativity, apathy, and lack of general interest. Are you short with a co-worker? Did the big sale that you lost not move you? Are you sloppy with your work? High-achievers often take on a heavy workload, and long hours — ignoring the signs while doing so.

Pay attention to these 3 signs of burnout before it’s too late:

  1. Insomnia. This affects me more than any other. When I lose sleep, I lose energy and become irritable. Even when I am completely exhausted, I find myself waking up in the middle of the night.
  2. Forgetfulness. Often when we have too much going on, we have trouble paying attention or retaining information. This can even lead us to take on more work, as we don’t realize someone else already finished the task.
  3. Agitation. Did you bite the head off someone that made a simple mistake? What about ridiculing yourself or others for a sub-par performance?

Once you identify the symptoms you can make a change. Improving my health was one critical decision that kept me from career burnout. It forced me away from the overwork that was contributing to it, allowing me to focus on improving my health.

When I identified that I was indeed burnt out, I decided to make a change and took to managing my health. I focused on three key areas: nutrition, exercise, and sleep. When I corrected these areas, I found that I had more energy, and felt better overall. This then translated to both my personal and professional life, and my performance at work began to improve, eventually reaching optimum performance.

1. Nutrition is the Foundation of Good Health.

We all know that we should drink plenty of water, and just how important it is to eat our vegetables (thanks mom and dad) — but this isn’t that easy to do when we’re at work. It’s hard when our whole day is spent at our desk, and the only thing to eat is the honor system box full of processed foods. A simple idea to get started is to pack a colorful assortment of vegetables along with your lunch. If we have a variety of color, we likely will include foods that our body needs.

2. Exercise is Critical.

Exercising, more consistently, is always one of the top goals for the group of executives I lead. Finding time for the gym, while balancing our busy lives, is not easy. Instead of focusing on the gym, you can first work to simply move more throughout your day.

What can you do to incorporate more movement throughout your day? You can:

  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator
  • Park as far away as you can
  • Use a stand-up desk

These are just a few examples of adding more exercise to your day. Now, they all make your day a bit less sedentary but don’t replace true heart rate increasing exercise. We all still need regular cardio and strength exercise, especially for our muscles, joints, and heart. Make “Gym Workout” an appointment in your calendar that you cannot break.

3. Sleep is the Third Component of Optimum Health.

Sleep is my personal favorite, and it’s the easiest way to measure how I’m doing. I find that if I sleep better, everything is better. When we are getting proper rest, our bodies have the energy to operate effectively throughout day, resisting the need to resort to mid-afternoon caffeine or other tactics to keep going.

Some of us have trouble falling asleep, while others wake up and stay up. No matter the type of sleep issue you have, there are solutions. If this is an issue for you, track your sleep, identify the problem, and then work to fix it — this is incredibly important to your overall health.

Health is critical for our success at both home and work. We all need to remember, the foundation for all health starts with what we put into our body, how much we move our body, and how much recovery time we give our body. When we’re mindful about these three areas of our health, our chances of burnout are low.

Originally published on Quora.

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