Almost everyone experiences stress at work from time to time. When stress is chronic, however, it can lead to burnout. Signs of burnout may include headaches, chronic fatigue, depression, boredom, and decreased productivity.
If you think you’re experiencing burnout, there are several things you can do to take care of yourself:
- Look for ways to make positive changes. For example, treating co-workers the way you would like to be treated may improve your relationships at work.
- “Let go” of things you can’t change. There are many things in life that aren't under our control. When you focus too much on how unfair or upsetting these things are, you might be wasting time and energy better spent elsewhere.
- Organize, prioritize, and plan. If possible, schedule the most difficult tasks during your high-energy times of the day. Break large tasks into smaller "chunks" to make them more manageable.
- Network at work. We all need social support. Find coworkers with similar interests, both personally and professionally, and make time for those relationships.
- Develop your own reward system. Give yourself credit (and some kind of treat) when you do a good job; while you're at it, praise co-workers for their accomplishments as well.
- Take care of your body. Exercise (if only a brief walk at lunchtime), eat regular and healthy meals, get enough sleep, and learn a relaxation technique.
- Get a physical exam. If you're experiencing physical symptoms such as headaches or stomach problems, your doctor might suggest some helpful treatments.
- Get help. A counselor can help you develop a personalized stress management plan.