Self Help-Burn Out


  • Recognize the problem. Watch for signs of stress such as forgetfulness, fatigue, sleeplessness, changes in appetite, increased physical sickness like colds and headaches, withdrawal from social situations, increased mood swings or emotional outbursts.


  • Balance your lifestyle. People subject to negative stress are often perfectionists, idealists, and workaholics, who can never really please themselves. Identify other areas in you life you would like to develop besides your career, then get involved in some stress- relieving activities.


  • Build positive social supports, and control negativity in your environment. Seek out projects in which you'll work with people who have a positive attitude. If you have to work with a negative person, limit the amount of time you must spend with the person, and stick to those limits. Look for positive affiliations in your social relationships or club memberships.


  • Gain control where you can. Ask to be involved in decisions that affect you. Seeking flexible hours for work to accommodate your needs for exercise, for example, may also be an option. If you are not in control of your schedule, ask for help. Asserting yourself and expressing your needs help reduce the negative emotions of fear and anger.


  • Work smarter and not longer. Begin with staying and ending on time with all appointments. Schedule realistic breaks between working or studying. Allow yourself enough time to get to places. Pressuring yourself with tight deadlines increases stress and reduces you effectiveness.


  • Quit doing something. If you are overcommitted, say "no" and mean it the next time you are asked to do another favor that will greatly raise your stress level. If possible, cut activities out of your schedule that are causing you stress.


  • Control thoughts that you are indispensable. To control stress, you must learn to accept your mortality, your vulnerability, and your limits.


  • Employ personal strategies to avoid or cope with burnout. Do something for yourself each day. Eat well and get enough sleep. View mistakes and setbacks as learning experiences. Acknowledge your strengths and achievements, and reward yourself. Identify your life purpose, and pursue activities that are compatible with your mission.


  • Employ interpersonal strategies. Identify the people, places, and activities in your life that make you feel good. Stay away from relationships that drain you.


  • Use stress-management techniques. Fantasize a mini-vacation. Take a break during your day and close your eyes, imagining yourself in a favorite peaceful place. Go to the beach and feel the sand and warmth of the sun. Listen to the birds and the waves. See the calm beach scene. Five minutes there, and you will be mentally and physically relaxed.


  • Do what you love, or get career counseling. If we work too hard at what we love, we get tired. The solution to that is rest. If you are not happy with what you are doing, you may need to look for something else.