Doing Life Together

work-2005640_1920It’s easy to feel overworked and burned out. Jack came home one day, packed a bag and left his family. They were worried sick about his mental state and safety. It turned out that Jack was having a melt-down from too much pressure at work. He got on a plane and checked himself into a hotel to think. But did Jack need to act in such a dramatic way and scare his family? No, he could have clued in his wife that he was reaching a state of burn out and needed help.

If you find yourself dreading going to work and thinking it is time for a much needed vacation or change, consider making a few changes in the work place to avoid burn out.

  1. Establish a balanced workload. You may be conscientious and expect long hours to keep up with work and demands. But maybe it is time to limit those hours and find a life balance. If you don’t, feeling overlooked, exhausted and being less productive will continue to pop up periodically. Eventually, you will crash like Jack did. So think about a few options to help bring balance–adding another position, not working on your days off, use your vacation days, find resources to help you conserve your time and energy, talk to a counselor, etc. The goal is to bring balance into your life. Work, play and a spiritual life need equal attention.
  2. Where you can, take control. Sometimes burn out comes from not knowing how to delegate. So reassess all you are doing and decide if there are things you could assign to other people. And if decision-making is out of your control, then detach from it rather than allowing your powerlessness to lead to anger or despair. If policies need to be developed to help make responsibilities clear, work on those in order to be clear about expectations.
  3. Focus on the rewarding parts of your job. Do you have a good salary, bonuses, incentives, security, possibilities for advancement, etc? Express gratitude for the parts of your job you like. A focus on gratitude is shown to produce an improved mood. Too often we lock in to the problems at work and forget the positive parts of our job.
  4. Build a small community of people at your work place who can support you. Burn out often begins in isolation. A sense of belonging lessens this tendency to feel alone and unsupported. Co-workers can support your frustration while pointing out ways to better handle things. And they can hold you accountable for working too many hours and taking on too much.
  5. Find those who have values in common with you. They can share your struggles from a common ground. If you are fortunate enough to have co-workers who can pray with you, find a quiet corner and do that over lunch or a break. It is amazing how this one strategy can change a bad day to a good one.


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