For the past week and a half, the words “rest” and “burnout” keep coming up.
Every conversation I’ve had this week has included the discussion of burnout and the need for rest from it. And just about every article I’ve read has mentioned the importance of rest and avoiding burnout.
Perhaps this theme is circulating because it’s now summer time (my favorite season!). Summer is typically thought of as a season of down time and rest.
But perhaps it’s circulating because so many of us have been working so hard we’re starting to experience the effects of burnout.
I have several new clients coming to me because they’re experiencing burnout in their current jobs and recognize a need for a change. I also can easily experience burnout if I don’t take time to rest.
And just last month, the World Health Organization redefined burnout as an actual syndrome linked to unmanageable chronic workplace stress.
There’s been a lot of buzz about this new medical classification of burnout since it was announced. Perhaps this is also the reason the topic of rest keeps coming up.
Hidden Signs of Burnout You Shouldn’t Ignore
The syndrome for burnout includes several physical, emotional, and cognitive warning signs:
- Inability to concentrate
- Feeling like you’re constantly failing
- Making careless mistakes
- Re-upping a bad habit (i.e. if you previously quit smoking but started up again due to the stress from your job)
- Dizziness and headaches
Do any of these things describe how you’ve been feeling lately?
If so, first, do what you can to find the time needed to get some rest! Second, you might need to consult a physician.
Then, you might want to consult a career coach to help you make some changes either in your current job or to a new job.
Quote: “If you don’t make time for your wellness, you will be forced to make time for your illness.” Unknown
Burnout is Toxic
In fact, if you want to live longer, a recent article says one of the 30 things you can do to live longer is to establish more balanced work hours.
The article criticizes the fact that our current work culture has made it acceptable to work over 40 hours a week, to work through lunch and breaks, and to come in early and leave late.
Another article states if management has little or no concern for work-life balance on a daily basis, this is one of eight signs your workplace is extremely toxic.
This means you feel like you have to sacrifice your personal life and family for your job on a regular basis. Which is evidenced by more hours per week, little to no vacation time, and 24/7 availability for work communication.
How to Reduce Burnout by Making Good Decisions
This lack of balance has become our “new normal,” and it needs to return to the “old normal” if we want to be productive both in our jobs and our personal lives.
Of course this is easier said than done. It will require a culture shift in the world of work. While the shift has begun, it still has a long way to go before the pendulum will swing back to what’s considered realistic.
But there are things you can do as an individual to start making this shift in your own personal and professional life.
This includes learning how to negotiate win-win scenarios with your current supervisor when asked to take on additional responsibilities.
This is something I help several of my clients with. In fact, I’m currently working with a client on this very thing.
It also includes learning to make good decisions when seeking new opportunities. Always choose those opportunities that support your personal mission statement and turn down those that don’t.
Think about what you value above a just the monetary return on an opportunity.
Quote: “There are four types of wealth:
Financial wealth (money)
Social wealth (status)
Time wealth (freedom)
Physical wealth (health)
Be wary of jobs that lure you in with 1 and 2, but rob you of 3 and 4.” @entrepreneursquote
It’s Okay to Rest and Do Nothing
It’s okay and necessary to do what it takes to recover from your burnout. This means getting the rest you need, and also spending some time just doing nothing.
If you’re like me, it’s hard to just do nothing. But The New York Times published an article by Bonnie Tsui which assures us we’re doing something important when we aren’t doing anything at all. Tsui says,
“We need to rest, read, and reconnect. It is the invisible labor that makes creative life possible.”
I had the opportunity to do so a week and a half ago. Every summer I take a weekend to myself to drive up to Kentucky to the Abbey of Gethsemani for a silent retreat.
I spend a weekend in silence reflecting on the first half of the year, reading, and thinking about how to be more intentional in the remaining half of the year.
It is so tranquil and renewing to my mind and soul. I always come back rested and refreshed. (Click here to read more about what a silent retreat looks like and how to sign up for one yourself).
Since tomorrow is the 4th of July holiday in the US (and not a stressful one like the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays), I encourage you to spend this holiday and this weekend getting some quiet time and some rest, both alone and with your family.
Doing so will give you the clarity and energy you need to make some necessary changes moving forward in your career.
Whether it’s learning to manage your manager, carving out some work-life balance, or making a career change to something healthier.
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