This week’s blog post is a guest column by George Mears, a brain fitness expert, educator, and counselor. One of his primary areas of study is neuroplasticity, the brain’s ability to change and improve over one’s lifetime. He believes in the power of games, puzzles, memory activities, and other brain boosting practices to encourage brain plasticity and minimize brain health deterioration. He shares his thoughts and favorite brain fitness exercises at Brain Wellness. He’s currently writing a book based on experiences with his clients that examines the connections between brain plasticity and dementia. If you would like more information, visit his website: brainwellness.info
Strategies for Avoiding Career Burnout Without Sacrificing Your Success
Burnout is a common problem faced by busy professional workers. According to CNBC, at least 23% of full-time workers feel burned out very often and another 44% experience symptoms of burnout occasionally. From unmanageable workloads and tight deadlines to the stress of being contactable at any hour of the day, workers are under more pressure now than ever before. Be preventive against burnout by working some self-care strategies into your routine before it affects your work or personal life. Thankfully, there are several great ways to manage stress without sacrificing career success or time with family. Here are some tips to get you started down the right path.
Delegate Whenever Possible
Are you trying to do everything yourself? Consider handing off some of those less important tasks to someone else. If you’re a business owner or a leader in your workplace, delegating will empower your team, build trust, and help you learn who is best suited for certain projects. Keep in mind that delegating is a skill. If you typically tackle everything on your plate without asking for help, passing the baton can take some getting used to. Start with those tiny, tedious tasks that require little skill, and work your way up to delegating larger, teachable tasks that someone else can complete after a quick lesson from you.
Don’t let the delegation stop when you get home. It’s time to pass on some of those household cleaning tasks, chores, and errands. If you’re living with others, split up the household chores so everyone pulls their weight—and try to look the other way when things aren’t done exactly how you like! You may also want to hire a house cleaner to take over some of those time-consuming tasks and give your home a biweekly deep clean. According to Home Advisor, the cost to clean a home in Pittsburgh typically falls between $93 and $205. This is a small price to pay for such a significant reward. Knowing someone is coming in to clean can be a huge stress reliever when you’re overwhelmed with work and tired at the end of a long day.
Create a Job You Love
One of the top causes of professional burnout is feeling bored, limited, or held back in your current role. But you don’t have to quit your job and search for work elsewhere to bring a spark of motivation back into your career. Believe it or not, you can turn your current job into your dream job with a few proactive steps. Fast Company recommends identifying the parts of your job that you love and creating projects that will let you use your skills more often. Make creative, solution-oriented suggestions to managers and leaders that will shift your job responsibilities and produce motivating projects. Jump on exciting opportunities, be the first to volunteer for new projects, and let everyone know you would love to take on some new responsibilities. Transforming your job into something you love will enhance your life in countless ways.
Develop Healthy Habits
How you spend your personal time can also have an impact on your overall levels of stress and job fulfillment. Make sure you’re exercising regularly, eating healthy meals, and getting enough sleep. The risk of burnout is much greater without these three pillars of health holding us up. Practicing self-care is important for managing stress and keeping our energy levels high, so work some healthy habits into your daily schedule.
Fortunately, you don’t need a lot of extra time in your day to practice healthy habits. Make healthy swaps in your diet—like choosing sparkling water over soda or veggie sticks instead of chips—and meal prep on the weekends so you have a week’s worth of healthy dinners ready to pop in the oven. When it comes to exercise, find small ways to fit more physical activity into your day. Take the stairs at work, park a couple of blocks away from your office, or get up to refill your water bottle more often (if you don’t have a reusable bottle, you can find one at Target for under $15). Practicing healthy habits will help you sleep better, too, so you’ll waste less time in bed trying to fall asleep.
Find an Immersive Hobby
An enjoyable hobby can make you feel more fulfilled and confident, which can help you develop better harmony between your work and home life. Try out some hobbies that interest you, especially activities that are engaging and immersive, like archery, rock climbing, photography, or playing an instrument. A hobby that requires immense focus will keep you from thinking about work projects during your off time. If you’re super busy, look for casual hobbies you can jump into whenever you have some free time at home and save those more involved activities for the weekends. Regardless, try to schedule hobbies into your day so you can prioritize your personal time instead of treating it as an afterthought.
Learn Relaxation Techniques
Another important thing to schedule into your busy day is time for relaxation. Taking time to rest and relax is essential for managing anxiety and avoiding the damaging health effects of chronic stress. Relaxation exercises can be great for this. For example, progressive muscle relaxation (PMR) involves contracting and releasing different muscle groups one at a time to relieve tension in the body. Similarly, deep breathing exercises involve controlling the breath to calm the nervous system and trigger a relaxation response in the body. You can even do many of these relaxation techniques at your work desk—no one will notice! When you start to feel stress creeping up on you, take a couple of minutes to focus on your breath and bring your heart rate down. You may also want to try meditation or yoga in the evenings to end your day feeling centered and peaceful.
Many people are tempted to run away from burnout by making dramatic career changes or moving for a fresh start. After all, the grass is always greener! But your problems with stress and overwhelm are bound to follow you to your next role. Instead, take steps to improve your current situation and find ways to manage feelings of frustration and lack of fulfillment. This will help you rekindle your passion for your career and find the energy to keep reaching for success.
Would you like to know more about other ways to support brain clarity, memory, focus, and stamina? Wellness Made Simple is here to offer products and strategies to support optimal health and function for your three “brains” (mind, heart, and gut). Learn how to take the best possible care of yourself in the context of your lifestyle and preferences.
Wellness Made Simple helps you to simplify the way YOU do well…for life!