It was obvious to me and to the people with whom the young man worked that he was experiencing burnout. It is not an unusual condition in this day and time. It could happen to anyone. Rather than being something to cause shame, it should be recognized for what it is and dealt with constructively.
It could be that you may have some of the symptoms the young man exhibited. He didn’t show the enthusiasm he once had and was easily disappointed. When asked to perform tasks within his normal range of responsibilities, he became upset or even angry. He was short with co-workers and seemed to have little respect for anyone. He was moody and not very enjoyable to be around. It was apparent he had a dread of going to work because he arrived late and was absent as much as possible.
If you experience what the young man experienced, then you may recognize other common symptoms such as an almost constant state of exhaustion and a sense of being besieged by people and circumstances. Burned-out people explode easily at seemingly inconsequential things. They display cynicism, negativity and irritability and are unduly suspicious. If the burnout continues, they engage in an increased, ill-prepared degree of risk taking that could harm themselves and others.
So how did the young man successfully deal with his burnout? He did the things that anyone can do in order to get a grip on such a situation and get renewed.
He talked with someone. One of the strongest things a person can do is seek help when needed. It takes a weak person to never admit the need for advice from others.
He reset his priorities and revisited the things that initially enthused him. Rather than continuing to focus on things he couldn’t control, he began to focus his time and energy on the things he could control.
He still has dreams and goals, but has accepted that life and reality intervene and if we hold too tightly to “the only way,” it will cause major disappointments and block alternative possibilities. He learned that if we don’t “adjust the picture” as we go, then we are setting ourselves up for major frustration.
He quit taking himself so seriously and began to take seriously the possibility of being more creative with his work. If we can’t laugh at ourselves a few times each day and if we can’t look at old things with a fresh pair of eyes, we will not find enjoyment, and others will not find us enjoyable.
He began to notice the strengths of others rather than focus entirely on their weaknesses. This helped him appreciate others and do something he had not done for quite awhile, which is to be grateful and thank people.
He decided to rededicate himself to his work and to put more effort into enjoying relationships and activities away from work. The activities away from work should always include some type of regular exercise, such as walking, and a constant eye on good eating habits and sleeping habits.
He renewed his spiritual life and his prayer life. There is a reason there has never been a civilization in recorded history that has not had some type of religion with which to connect with God. All humans are born with an inherent knowledge of God and we find more meaning in life as we concentrate on that relationship.
Keep in mind that burnout is a condition that evolves slowly over a stressful period. If you cannot treat the condition as the young man did, then you may need to evaluate your life direction, career choice and relationships. Burnout is usually an indication that one’s life is out of balance, and only you can take the steps needed to get it back in balance.
Carl Mays, author of over a dozen books and speaker at over 3,000 events, can be contacted at 865-436-7478 or firstname.lastname@example.org. His books, including A Strategy For Winning, People of Passion, Anatomy Of A Leader, Are We Communicating Yet? and Winning Thoughts, are available in stores, on www.carlmays.com and Amazon.com.
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