By Jim Wong, CPA | November 9, 2016

No matter how much you love or hate your job, often times there can be the potential for burnout. The term “Burnout” is a psychological stress characterized by exhaustion, lack of enthusiasm and motivation. Burnout most often occurs when you’re feeling that you are putting more into your position than you are getting in return. The stress can come from working too many hours, taking on too many projects or not being able to leave work at work.

The good news is burnout doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with your level of job satisfaction. Rather, it tends to be the result of simply not taking enough time for yourself.

There are many obvious signs of burnout such as fatigue, loss of motivation, negativity and more. However, there are a few signs that some stressed-out professionals might not associate with burnout. For example forgetting important things, having difficulty in relationships and poor self-care.

Most people are not immune from burnout. The people who best manage this type of stress know how to spot the warning signs. Once you have identified the warning signs, you can then take a course of action to best relieve and/or prevent burnout.

I recently read an article in Forbes that discusses ways to beat burnout. I knew that it was a relevant topic, especially as we enter in to the year-end and holiday season. Accounting, finance and technology professionals have many work and personal demands this time of the year.

Take a look at the 7 Ways to Beat Burnout below.

1. Make sure to disconnect. 
Making yourself constantly available to work can lead to a constant barrage of stress and anxiety. We all know that person who is constantly on their phone for work, even at family parties, on vacations and more. Instead of being ‘that person’ who is married to their job and stressing about work 24/7, try scheduling certain times to check emails or respond to voicemails when it doesn’t interfere with family activities. The author of this article suggests checking on work tasks when your children have sports practice on the weekends. It’s all about balance, so it’s important to find what works best for you and your schedule.

2. Listen to your body. 
Oftentimes, stress and anxiety can bring on aches and pains that might have gone unnoticed before. It’s no surprise that if you get a headache at the same time every day at the office and are constantly feeling a sense of nausea, it could potentially be linked to burnout or stress from work. Be sure to listen to your body.

3. Schedule “me time.” 
I know what you’re thinking, “If I was able to relax, I wouldn’t be faced with burnout!” This is partially true, but it bears repeating—the importance of taking time to relax is incredibly important. Many of us simply cannot relax, however, it could be beneficial to schedule time to do so. For example, making time to read a book or go for a run can turn into a great way to clear your mind.

4. Put down the sleeping pills. 
According to the article, anything that interferes with the brain’s natural sleep process has “dire consequences” for the quality of sleep. Instead of popping a sedative, try making a cup of tea or turning off electronics before bed. Relaxing activities before you go to sleep will allow for a peaceful sleep more effectively than a handful of sleeping pills. Of course, if a person has serious sleeping issues, seeking professional medical advice is the best course of action.

5. Do some spring cleaning. 
Taking the time to get organized can sometimes allow a burned-out professional to see that their workload is a bit more manageable. Simply organizing a few desk folders, deleting old emails or clearing off a littered desk can be a small change with a big effect.

6. Step away from your desk. 
Even though it might seem impossible to step away from your desk when the work starts piling up and the inbox starts filling up, studies show that it’s quite beneficial for people to do so. In fact, our brains work best working for an hour followed by a 15-minute break. That 15-minute break can be a good time to step away for a short walk, grab a coffee or simply give your eyes rest from the computer screen. You can even start with a five-minute break at first and ease into a 15-minute break.

7. Lean on your support systems. 
No matter how tempting it seems to withdraw from others, it’s important to spend time with friends and family who can help you remove yourself from work. These are the people who will be there even when your job isn’t. Be sure to cherish those moments with loved ones.

These are only a few of the ways for professionals to beat burnout at work. Do you have other suggestions? Comment below and let us know.

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