Opinion: How to Keep From Burning Out At Work

Stacy Ann

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In the professional world, we are often asked to give more than we can take. Workloads pile up and until someone has a breakdown, they’ll keep getting more because that’s the glass ceiling. The more you give the more you will be asked to give.

For example, several years ago I was working at a startup and my colleague was given more and more accounts until she had almost double the workload of the rest of us. She didn’t perform any better or have different metrics, she simply didn’t say no at any point.

It wasn’t until she got extremely sick and broke down sobbing at work that they finally hired someone else.

Shouldn’t someone have been paying attention? After all, she was being treated unfairly and could, in no way, handle double the accounts and provide the same level of customer satisfaction.

Often times when a business is starting out they need to cut corners so employees are often overworked, but it’s not just in start-ups. I’ve seen this in huge organizations as well.

We are asked to give more and take less time for ourselves. Our mental health often isn’t accounted for and the overachievers and people who stay late are praised, which in turn makes it feel like we should be staying in the office until the wee hours of the evening.

It’s a statistical fact that America is one, if not, the most overworked country in the world. If you feel overwhelmed at work you’ve come to the right place, as I’ve identified four basic tips to help you start putting your mental health first to enhance your quality of life, and most likely, your job performance.

Identify your limits

Where are you beginning to feel the anxiety and stress creeping up? Is it when your boss asks you to stay late for the 5th or the 50th time? Is your boss asking you to work on the weekend? Everyone has their limits. Identifying your limits early can not only set you up for success but will set appropriate boundaries with your supervisor. Guard your personal time but have an open dialogue. Tell your boss that you have made plans prior to his ask but tell him you want to help and ask if you can set time aside the next week to connect. You can be kind, gracious, and hard-working without giving in to every ask.

Set Boundaries Around Your Job Expectations

What are you expected to be doing? If your quota is $45,000 a month and you have a set goal in writing then that should be your goal/expectation. This can come into play in jobs that are in a sales environment. Sales Managers usually have a personal team goal and they will often pressure you to contribute to those as well. Remember that you can only do so much and if you’re hitting your own goals don’t let that stress get to you. It’s their job to try to motivate the team, but only YOU know what you should be contributing individually.

Beware of Overcommitting

You want to be a team player and to be liked and respected by your colleagues. There is nothing wrong with that. However, if you say yes to every request that comes your way you will most likely become overwhelmed. People will ask you to do things but they have NO idea what you have going on. If you don’t respect your own time then why would anyone else respect it? You are allowed to say you need to check your calendar and even to say that it’s not going to fit into your schedule

Take A Vacation

And by this, I don’t mean taking a vacation, responding to emails, feeling guilty for leaving, and fixating on work.

No. What I’m talking about is a real vacation where you unplug, have an out of office, and realize that your employer isn’t going to jump off a cliff without you. Many companies are offering unlimited PTO these days if not at least 15 days of PTO. If you are made to feel guilty for taking time off, your employer most likely doesn’t have your best interests in mind, and it may be time to re-evaluate.

The only person who is going to put you first… is you. Identify your limits, set boundaries, and practice self-care time to ensure that you are healthy, happy, and productive.

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I am a writer & relationship consultant that primarily deals with narcissism, overcoming abuse & trauma, and self-love. Contact me @ Blog: carriewynn.com Instagram: carrie_wynnmusings

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