Avoiding Stress and Burnouts

Back in the day when I was attending the University of Maine, I made sure I kept myself busy each semester. I worked three jobs and went to school fulltime as well. I ended up working about 35 hours a week and took 15 credit hours for two of my last two and a half years of school. Unfortunately, about once each semester, I would come to a point where my brain would shut down and I'd burn out. It didn't matter how much coffe I drank at that point. I needed a mental break from everything. Thankfully these burnouts only lasted about a day or two, but still, it was something that I could have done without. In today's day in age, I imagine that nearly everyone has experienced the burnout and felt that feeling like you want to curl up in a ball and not move for a week. Being burnt out from work is something that is not only unhealthy, it can also be danergous. While it's nice to be able to work a lot of hours and make money, often times it also comes with a price. Here's some ways to avoid being burnt out.

Be okay with saying no

Working on projects can be rewarding, but taking on too many projects at once is a fast track to burning out your brain. Because I had more than one job, it was easy for me to accept different projects, not thinking about how much time I would actually be putting into each one. One of my mottos is if I can't do something wholeheartedly, I probably shouldn't do it. Make sure you are doing your best work. It's better to do one or two projects to the best of your ability rather than taking on five or six and only have them come out average.

Know the difference between a burnout and depression

Living in Maine in the wintertime can be unpleasant due to the lack of sunlight. Seasonal Affective Disorder (it's real) is something that a lot of people deal with throughout Maine, but don't realize it. If your burnout hasn't gone away after a few days, there's a possibility that it may not be a burnout. It could be something more serious. I'm not saying go off and load yourself up with medication right off, but do be careful about determining the difference between a burnout and depression or S.A.D. Often times an occasional trip to the tanning booth (don't go every day) can improve your mood because it replaces the sunlight you've been missing.

Deactivate your work email/facebook/twitter from your phone

It's something simple, but something that too many of us don't do. Be okay with not getting emails on your phone, or facebook updates. It's nice to be connected to the world and be able to respond to emails the second you get them, but at the same time, it can also be overwhelming and stressful. When you get home, make sure you are not writing emails unless it is absolutely necessary. It's nice to be able to leave your work at work and have a normal life when you go home. There are some instances where being connected to the world is part of your job (journalists generally have to be in case there is a breaking story they have to cover) but if you don't have to be connected all the time, don't be. It's relieving when you can go home at the end of the day and not have to worry about emailing people or updating websites.

Drink decaf tea when you get home

This is one of my own methods of stopping stress and burnouts. I don't know what it is, but something about drinking a hot cup of tea is one of the most calming things I can do at the end of a long stressful day or week. It helps me unwind and relax. I would recommend drinking decaf tea so you aren't pumping more caffeine into your body at the end of the day.

Yahoo Finance has a great article that tackles four ways to beat the burnouts that happen at work. I highly recommend checking it out. If I could go back through college and never have a burnout, I aboslutely would. Thankfully, I haven't had to deal with burnout symptoms for quite some time now, and I hope you don't have to either.

How do you deal with burnouts?

Seth P.