Burn out interventions

If this sounds like you, then you are heading for a burn out. Work is important but should not be the be-all and end-all of your existence. You need to nurture and allocate time to all aspects of your life in order to be truly fulfilled. Here are a few tips that will help you deal with burn out:

1. Believe in taking breaks

Give yourself a break . If you've been working 100 hours a week non-stop, you need to take a break now. Go on a vacation, or a long walk or even something as simple as an afternoon nap. This will rejuvenate both your brain and body.
Schedule some free time. Give your free time the same importance as your work and schedule regular social, recreational, and relaxing activities for yourself. Keep sometime for yourself everyday. This could include just drinking a cup of tea, taking a walk, reading or yoga . You can also relax by cleaning the house, or maybe get your car washed. Getting away for sometime will help break the monotony of work..
Take time off. Build time off into your organisation's culture and structure. Even a five-minute walk in the office can refresh you. You can also go on a sabbatical - maybe do a course or a short-term programme.

2. Re-evaluate your lifestyle
Ensure that you are following a healthy lifestyle: You have so much work and so little time. Even meal times have gone for a toss. You either rush through breakfast or skip it entirely, lunch is again a rushed affair and you don't even have time to think about dinner. Ask yourself when was the last time you sat down comfortably in office and took 30 minutes to sit, relax and enjoy your lunch? Do it today. Also, limit your caffeine and alcohol intake. Though these are energy boosters, try to restrict your intake to two cups of coffee or tea.
Get enough sleepworkaholic: If you are a workaholic , chances are that you are also suffering from lack of sleep. You are lucky if you get home on time and manage to snatch 5-6 hours of sleep, otherwise you end up sleeping on the office couch. You may not realize it now, but you are causing great harm to your health. An average adult requires between 8-10 hours of sleep. If you continuously compromise on your sleep, you will find a marked deterioration in your ability to perform well.
Get adequate and regular aerobic exercise : Regular exercise will keep your mind and body in shape. If you don't have the time to go to a gym or exercise at home, try walking around the office, use the stairs instead of the elevator, walk to the nearby room instead of sending e-mails. You can be innovative and may be cycle to work if you live close by. Or go for an after dinner walk.

Pamper yourself: For women, shopping is a good indulgence. Or enjoy a good meal out in your own company or with friends. Alternatively, men can go to the gym and work out or get a massage done. Whatever you do just go out, have some fun and totally exhaust yourself.
Keep in touch with old friends: Do you find time to meet old friends? Probably not, considering the long and taxing hours you put in at work. It is very important to make and keep relationships outside of your work environment. Don't become isolated in such a way that you don't have support when you need it.

3. Reassess your working style
Re-evaluate your goals and prioritise. Make a list of your long-term and short-term goals. Evaluate the demands placed on you and see how they fit in with your goals. The next step would be to identify whether you can meet these demands comfortably. If you are over-involved, reduce the number of commitments. If people demand too much emotional energy, become more unapproachable and less sympathetic. Involve other people in a supportive role.
Learn to say no. Time and again I tell people that saying no is acceptable. Do not take more than you can comfortably handle. You do not have to accept every personal or professional invitation. Selfish as it may sound, put your needs and self before that of others.
Keep a track of your working hours: Keep a track of all of the hours you spend working, including nights and weekends. Keep this information in a journal or diary and set a time limit for yourself. For example, put a cap on the number of hours you work weekly. When you exceed this limit, take some time off.
Maintain your privacy: Difficult as it may sound, demarcate between your home and office. As far as possible try to leave your work at office. At home, use the time to unwind and relax, something that you have probably forgotten to do. Some people find it helpful NOT to give out home phone numbers to clients. While it may be tempting to be accessible, it is important to set realistic limits and maintain some private space for yourself.

4. Manage Stress
Use techniques of stress management: It could be really anything that you like. From the very effective technique of relaxation, breathing yoga, meditation , to some form of physical exercise. Find what keeps you centered and powerful and stay connected to that. For some, spiritual beliefs and practices are critical. For others, creating and spending time with family takes precedence, while many others prefer to work "on the front lines" and stay connected to the issue they are working on. Whatever your motivating force, keep those channels open.
Try open ended writing: Write down a response to the statement, "I know I am reaching my limit when& " or "A sign that I am exhausted is& " Keep that information in a place where you can see it frequently. Check with yourself how best you would be able to cope with such a situation. Write it down and then refer to it often. Also share this information with your colleagues, so that you learn to recognise their signs of exhaustion and burnout as well. When you do start exhibiting those signs, act with alacrity and take concrete steps to relieve your stress.

Acknowledge your own humanity: You have a right to pleasure and a right to relaxation. Do something for yourself for a change.
Burn out normally occurs slowly and over a long period of time. It may express itself physically or mentally. Often burnout will manifest itself in a reduction in motivation levels and quality of performance, or in dissatisfaction with your job. Follow these simple steps to avoid burnout. Take charge now!