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Dealing with Burnout

How to help yourself and your employees during stressful times.

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“Stick a fork in me.” What a great phrase to say when you are suffering from a mental burnout. I am not talking about a 30-day stay with rest under monitored medical situation — that is serious stuff, and I hope none of you go that far. What I am talking about is burnout from being too involved with your business.

Maybe you are an overachiever, always trying to fit that 10 pounds of something into a five-pound bag. When your physical body can no longer do the job, your co-workers might see your burnout happening, but they may not pull you aside to talk to you about it. And it isn’t just work — a level of stress and fatigue could be coming from taking care of elderly parents or an ill child. Individuals who suffer with depression may be more likely to also suffer from burnout.

Related: Fear of Failing

One of the symptoms of burnout is constantly forgetting little things such as your car keys, but also forgetting that you forgot about forgetting, which is also known as “realizing.” Getting to your car or truck and then realizing that you not only forgot where the keys are, but you also forgot to search for the keys while you were inside the building. Your temper is quick to light and can be volatile Your mind seems to lash out at anybody close. You can’t take in any more information or details. There can also be the opposite in symptoms, such as staring into thin air but with a brain lock, not able to get back in gear.

What you need is some downtime — not necessarily a vacation, which can create it’s own type of stress. Just as you may take some time off for a cold, why shouldn’t you take off some time to heal your mind. You need time to unwind, rest, and turn the switch off. This is not the time to take up marathon running, but it is time to take a hike, go swimming, or go outside and feel some sunshine on your face. No news and no computer — go watch an episode of Family Feud or Wheel of Fortune and don’t keep score.

Related: How to De-Clutter Your Desk and Help Your Mind

Try not to answer calls from the office during your resting period. If that idea alone causes more stress, perhaps  set a schedule for phone calls from the office from 10:00 AM to 11:00 AM only. Don’t run a virtual business office from your house — remember you are out sick. It is time to rid of your mind clutter and rest.

Needing time to recoup is not a sign of weakness. There is no need to be running on empty to finish any job.

Read more in our series of Mental Health and Business articles.