I am pleased to let you know that my recent interview with Medium / Authority Magazine went live on August 31st. Below are the salient points. The entire article can be seen at: https://www.JaniceLitvin.com/media.
Millions of Americans are returning to work after being home during the pandemic. While this has been exciting for many, some are feeling burned out by their work. What do you do if you are feeling burned out by your work? How do you reverse it? How can you “get your mojo back”?
First of all what are the main causes of burnout? As defined by Gallup, the main causes of workplace burnout include overwork, not enough control over our work or lack of support from managers. I would take it a step further and say that most people come to work with residual unresolved emotional tangles from childhood or from a former boss. These tangles impact their thoughts and behavior at work. On top of all of that, most managers are promoted for technical skills, not emotional intelligence.
How can you tell if you burning out? Here are some of the signs: snapping at co-workers or family members, angry outbursts, sleep problems, digestive issues or feelings of resentment.
If you are experiencing burnout at work, here are five actions you can take.
#1 Perform a Stress Audit
The first tool in my Banish Burnout Toolkit is to perform a Stress Audit. The Stress Audit is a written exercise best done with pen and paper to get the most benefit from it. It helps you understand what your stress reaction patterns are physically, emotionally, verbally, etc.
While you are writing the Amygdala, the fear center of the brain is dumping. When you go back and re-read what you have written the Pre-frontal cortex or rational, analytical part of the brain is engaged. That is the beginning of behavior change: awareness.
#2 Know Your Stress – Spin Your Stress
The second tool is to understand how to reality spin typical stress reactions: over-reaction and over-generalization. For example, if your boss texts you and says, “meet me in my Zoom room first thing in the morning,” what is your initial thought? Mine was always, “oh no, what have I done this time?” That stemmed from a previous boss who had nothing but bad news when he called me into his office.
In reality the thought could be reality spun to something positive like, “I wonder what my boss wants to talk about. She is usually very supportive. Maybe she wants to talk about the new project she was discussing last week.”
#3 Combat Stressful Shoulds
Third, combat stressful shoulds. Do you ever catch yourself saying, “I should do this,” or “I should do that?” Some typical shoulds include, “I should lose weight,” “I should save more money,” or “I should exercise more.”
A “should” statement indicates an expectation you have of yourself that you are not yet accomplishing. The expectation is that you need to be different in some way, better than you currently are. Instead of “should” try using a “preference” statement. For example, rather than, “I should get more sleep,” try saying to yourself, “I would prefer it if I could get more sleep. Tonight I am going to go to bed at 10:00, and I am going to begin my bedtime routine at 9:45.” This way you are setting a clear, specific achievable goal.
#4 Get Outside
Fourth, get outside. One of the fastest ways to turn your mood around is to simply go outside. I realize that some climates have extreme temperatures. However ten minutes outside can do the trick. Did you know that as soon as the sun hits your skin vitamin D is activated?
Known as the Sunshine Vitamin, Vitamin D causes a number of physiological responses in the mind and body. In terms of stress, light improves the communication between various parts of the brain to help you handle emotions. Furthermore, studies have shown that the more time you spend outdoors, the more serotonin you get and the happier you feel. And you also get a boost of endorphins, the feel-good hormone.
The next time you feel down, just walk outside and breathe for 10 minutes. You will notice a difference. As we come upon fall the weather can be perfect for getting outside. Sometimes I sit on my back deck with my laptop and work out there. At other times, I sit out there to read and our family often has our meals out there. It feels very relaxing and can help to combat the stress of intense work.
While we are still working remotely, I love the idea of working outside. And finally get a triple benefit by going for a walk with a friend. You hit three positive happiness chemical sources: getting outside, talking to a friend, and moving more.
#5 Fill Your Day with Sparkle
Fifth, fill your Day with “sparkle” to Find Your Happy. Sparkle moments, a term I penned, are little moments throughout your day in which you can stop to feel happy about something you have accomplished or to acknowledge a positive action you have taken.
When you take a moment to celebrate the little joyful moments throughout the day, you will feel happier. Unless you are afflicted with clinical depression, happiness is a choice. One important way to find your happy midday is to acknowledge an accomplishment. The brain really loves completions and rewards you with dopamine, a happiness chemical.
Stop and acknowledge these moments and pat yourself on the back. There can be many little sparkle moments that make you feel better, like laughing or talking to a good friend. Others include doing a random act of kindness, volunteering, putting on calming music, or giving your partner a random hug. It only takes a moment to infuse your day with sparkle moments.
The full length version of this article first appeared in Authority / Medium Magazine. That full interview can be found at: https://www.JaniceLitvin.com/media.
To learn more about how I can help your teams banish burnout, get in touch at: Janice@JaniceLitvin.com or 415.518.2202.