Maintaining an excellent work-life balance is difficult in the modern world, and a lot of us are very bad at it. Two thirds of both sexes say their work significantly impacts their stress: so much so that a quarter of us have taken a sick day that was actually a ?mental health day? to recover from work stress.
A failure to maintain a healthy work-life balance causes almost one million American workers a day to miss work. Just take physicians as an example: Doctors under the age of 35 burn out at a rate of 44%.
How do you know if you have job burnout? Look for these burnout symptoms associated with its five stages:
In this stage, you?re seeing serious problems at work or at home, but you know things can get better. You write letters and talk to superiors, giving suggestions for improvement. You largely accept the problems because you assume they?ll get better.
You?re no longer optimistic. Nothing seems to be improving. Your job stress is high, but you figure no other job would be any better, so why think about changing? You feel helpless.
At this point, your work-life balance begins to really suffer. You?re just trudging along, trying to accomplish the demanded tasks;, but you have little energy for anything else.
Frustration and Anger
You feel like a failure. You feel ignored and useless. You may start having serious problems with workplace anger. Now your work-life balance is in trouble because you?re obsessed with frustrations at work that bleed into the rest of life. A lot of people quit at this point.
Exhaustion and Apathy
You?re done. You can see no way to improve the situation. There?s no way out, so far as you can see. You might as well just keep getting up and going to work (after all, you?ve still got to eat) but you really don?t care.
Things are so bad that you?re driven to look for help. You?re physically, emotionally, and mentally exhausted. You don?t know how to recover from the exhaustion, but you’re aware that something is going to give if you don’t get help.
If any of that sounds like you, how can you avoid going farther down the path? How do you maintain a healthy work-life balance?
Ask for Help
Don?t wait to do this. You might ask help of a superior, of a spiritual guide, or of a mental health professional. But even talking to a friend can be helpful, especially at the early stages. The people closest to you can probably see what?s happening before you can. If your friends or family are worried, consider getting professional counseling help.
Make Room For Downtime
Burnout affects your brain: you can think of it as essentially running on high constantly. If you did that with an electrical device, it would burnout quickly. Give your brain a few minutes every day to return to normal. This might be as simple as going out for coffee (without the smartphone), taking time to read a book, taking a walk, or even taking a nap.
Everything you say ?yes? to just saps your emotional and physical strength. You only have so much capacity to make decisions, create, or problem solve. It probably seems like everything will crash and burn if you say no to anything, but you have to. It feels painful the first few times, but every time you do it things get easier.
Sometimes the key to a healthy work-life balance is understanding what?s truly important. Sit down and write out what you?re doing, how much time it?s taking up, and how valuable it is to you in the long-term. You might find that something you?re neglecting, like exercise, is actually far more valuable than spending that extra 30 minutes at work.
Break Things Up
When you look at any task as one giant lump it can feel overwhelming: which can lead to more panic and worry. Try breaking things up into smaller pieces. Not only is it less daunting that way, but you?ll also feel a sense of accomplishment as you conquer each item.
Life burnout is no laughing matter. If you?re feeling overwhelmed right now, in fact, don?t be afraid to seek out help. It could quite literally save your life.