Preventing Summer Burnout

Summer is a time that for some people equates to less hours and a little more personal time. However, as I have talked to firms in recent years, I have noticed that there is less down time and more “busy season” all year round. This constant state of busy creates the one thing that can slow down productivity, create turnover and ultimately is the cause of depression among individuals throughout our firms - it is called burnout. Below are 10 simple strategies for preventing burnout in your life:

  1. Breathe deeply - Have you ever noticed your breathing when you are feeling stressed or moving at warp speed? It is probably shallow and tight. Borrow a tip from professional athletes, and take a few slow, deep breaths to relax and collect yourself.
  2. Take a walk - "Take a hike" can be good advice. Not only does it help burn off nervous energy, but you can get some exercise and enjoy the scenery, which can help you think more clearly than you might if you are always tethered to your desk or buzzing about mindlessly.
  3. Eat well - Busy people can be chronic meal-skippers, or too frequently eat junk food on the run. Heavy foods, too many or too few calories, and inadequate nutrition can make you feel like you are short on fuel. Go for the veggies, fruits, grains and lean proteins - - a nutritionist can provide advice and a list of nutritious, high-energy foods.
  4. Drink water - Most people do not drink enough water, and end up feeling dehydrated, tired, cranky and achy. Next time you feel dry or in need of a liquid "pick me up," go for the water bottle instead of coffee or soda. In fact, experts say that once you feel thirsty, you' re already dehydrated, so drink up. An added bonus? Water helps flush toxins away.
  5. Slow down - "Type A" stands for anxious, not admirable. Do not worry; you don’t have to plod along or come to a stand-still. By making sure your mind is actually where your body is, you’ll feel (and appear) less scattered, think more clearly, and be more effective. Good time-management and delegation strategies can help avoid confused priorities and schedule-melt-downs.
  6. Team up - If you’re a burned-out professional, chances are good that there' s at least one thing you' re not very good at: letting other people help you get things done. Whether via delegating to employees, partnering with other firms or vendors, or simply networking for support and advice, sharing the load with other people can help avoid burnout.
  7. Sleep well - A good night’s sleep isn’t a luxury; it is a necessity for clear-thinking and mindful responsiveness (versus mindless reactivity). Aim to get a good night' s rest by watching what you eat before you go to bed, turning off the television and computer, taking a few minutes to slow down and transition from "busy day" to "restful night," sipping some herbal tea and listening to soothing music.
  8. Loosen up - Tight muscles and narrow, critical thinking exacerbate stress and propel you toward burnout. One solution? Find ways to stretch both body and mind. Yoga or other gentle stretching loosens tight muscles, while similar "mind exercises" help lessen chronic perfectionism, judgmentalism and criticism.
  9. Have fun - Laughter is great medicine, so provide yourself with a basket of toys at the office, watch your favorite funny movies, play with your kids or animals, choose to be around people who make you laugh, or just laugh at yourself when you get overly serious or cranky. It' s nearly impossible to wallow in your stress when you' re enjoying a good belly laugh.
  10. Get away - Whether for an hour, a day, two weeks or a month, unleash yourself from your business and concentrate 100 percent on someone or something else. Don’t eat lunch at your desk, don’t call in or do work while on vacation or out for a "vision day," and don' t spend your allotted rejuvenation time busying yourself with chores. Remember the old saying, "All work and no play makes Jack a very dull boy." Clean kennels at the pound, get a facial at the spa, see a movie in the middle of a workday afternoon, read a book, listen to music, take a hike in nature, or take a nap. Just recharge your battery.