Burnout prevention 101

Burnout story – Dayna is a caring, dedicated manager and single mom with three children, one of them with learning disabilities.  She puts in long hours at work, and cares for her aging parents as well.  She gets home exhausted – and says that after making dinner for the kids, she is often too exhausted to eat.  Taking care of herself is not on her agenda.

Dayna had a burnout last year, the result of working too much, sleeping too little and giving away more than she had to give.   And this was her third burnout.  The first time, colleagues and friends took over, showing how much they cared as they helped her, meeting her deadlines, getting meals ready and looking after the kids.

She rested, recovered and went back to work, picking up her over-demanding life where she had left: work, helping her parents, home and kids.  On her second burnout, friends and colleagues were not as understanding.  And by the third time? Not so much.

Selfless yet selfish – Not everyone burns out, but not taking care of yourself is a sure way to get exhausted, sick  and dependent.  It’s at the same time selfless and selfish.  Maybe you’d expect a good angel to take care of you, or you feel you don’t need that much care, or worse, you don’t deserve care.  If you neglect your basic needs, what’s the cost?

Burnouts are built, one choice at a time – You don’t make time for healthy food and boost yourself with coffee, sugar and junk.  You don’t get enough sleep, regular exercise and have no energy for fun or an occasional social life.  Imagine feeding Fido junk food, giving him coffee when he’s tired, keeping him trapped in his pen (cubicle), and so on.  What would happen?  A burnout doesn’t happen by surprise: you have to make it happen, with a lot of unwise, unhealthy choices for yourself, month after month.

All work and no play is no life – Is it okay to treat yourself worse than you’d treat the family dog?  Being selfless, for whatever reason, has consequences and costs – you, your family, your health, your career and your life all depend on you.  Tired, stressed, overwhelmed and exhausted?   It’s time to do something – today, before you pay the full price.

Self-care is not selfishTaking care of yourself is key to keeping you alive, healthy, focused and functional – so you have the energy and stamina it takes to get through each day, today and tomorrow; to make good decisions and to make things happen.

As you get back to your fall schedule, what can you do to take better care of yourself today and this week?

Don’t neglect yourself: you do it ALL.

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