Latest posts by Larry Goss (see all)
- Harvard Researcher Challenges the Paleo Diet - May 14th, 2016
- Feeling “Burned-Out”? Here’s help from a survivor. - May 14th, 2016
Burn-out is the mortal enemy of Vitality. If you’re suffering from burn-out, your life is out of balance by definition. Burn-out is much more than a cliché’, or something to take foolish pride in which demonstrates your commitment, dedication and persistence to a cause. It’s a state of physical, psychological and mental exhaustion, and a warning signal of lifestyle choices that need attention immediately. Your health, along with your relationships and psychological well being, are threatened. It may seem like burn-out “just happens” to us, but the reality is that it comes from a combination of factors and environmental conditions, each of which is unique to our own situation, which creates a potent brew. The good news is that we can change this trajectory. There are things that we can do to combat burn-out and get our lives back into balance.
Tchiki Davis, M.A.,Ph.D, is a University of Berkeley graduate and expert on well-being technology and self-described burn-out “survivor”. She’s reflected and written about her own personal experience of burn-out as a Ph.D. student at Berkeley. Like many who find themselves burned-out, her reasons for this condition were not fully apparent as they were occurring, she was just really, really busy achieving her goals. In her case, she was not only writing her Doctoral dissertation, she was also getting another advanced degree in a different field, and fund raising for her new start-up business all at the same time. Here are some of the signals and lessons she’s learned about how to spot the path to burn-out and some suggestions on what to do about it:
- Your personality may be a risk factor: You see yourself as highly motivated and persistent. You take great pride in showing off your dedicated work ethic to your co-workers and superiors. You “live to work”, working long hours and regularly miss out on non-work time with family and friends. If this is you, you may be at risk of burn-out.
- What to do: Apply your hyper-focused planning skills to your own life and schedule in some recurring non-work time with friends and family to help achieve better balance.
- Social comparison is a risk factor: If you believe you are surrounded by people who are amazing at the same thing you’re supposedly amazing at, you’re likely doing an internal comparison and working harder and harder to demonstrate your own mastery.
- What to do: If you can work in an environment where everyone has mastery of different skills, or more defined responsibilities, you will be less likely to fall into this comparison trap.
- Local culture can be a risk factor: If you find yourself in a local culture, such as a business or university, where everyone is expected to be, or known to be, a star you’re at risk of feeling pressure from outside forces that you must work harder and harder to keep up with the pack.
- What to do: Recognize that no one has the right to diminish you or make you feel inferior. We all have certain gifts, knowledge and skills that may be different and better than others. Be aware and acknowledge that everyone can grow and change, and practice self acceptance and self compassion.
- Broader culture can be a risk factor: Davis uses the example of Silicon Valley, home to some of the most successful technology companies and smartest individuals in the world, to demonstrate how an entire community can set the bar of success unreasonably high. It may be inspiring and invigorating, but it may also lead to burn-out if you feel you’re not keeping up.
- What to do: Set boundaries for yourself. Take control of the situation and decide how many hours are acceptable to you in order for you to maintain a work-life balance. Ask yourself where the deal breakers are. Then be assertive about protecting those boundaries.
Dr. Davis also has some advice for reversing burnout, but warns that burn-out doesn’t happen overnight and it isn’t resolved immediately. It may take chunks of time to reset your well being. But the sooner that you acknowledge that you’re heading down this dangerous road, the sooner you can get your life closer to balance.
The original article by Dr. Davis can be found here on LinkedIn.
Published in Tags: Burn-out