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Last Updated on October 12, 2017

How to Fix Burning out at Work and Get Back on Track

How to Fix Burning out at Work and Get Back on Track

Anyone that has held a job for a few years, even six months, may have encountered burnout. Burnout can be physical or mental exhaustion.

The passion that once flamed for the job has burned out and you are left dreading the feeling of going into work. You may have anxiety or are constantly overwhelmed. The constant stress has you in fight or flight and your energy is gone.

Burnout is more than working hard, burnout affects all areas of your life. At work, your productivity goes down, you may feel cynical and resentful at the job and you can’t seem to find the answers that are usually right in front of you.

At home, you may have a short fuse with your family and struggle to wake up and get out the door. At night you may zone out completely and have a hard time focusing on what matters.

Why Do We Burn Out

A typical job schedule in the United States is 40 hours a week. You may work a little less some weeks and a little more other weeks. Some people work a lot more than 40 hours a week, every week.

When you spend this kind of time in one place, it is easy to see that a person can burnout. To be more specific, some of the reasons people burn out are:

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  • Job repetition
  • Low salary
  • High volume of workload
  • Staying in the same place for too long
  • No room for advancement
  • Lack of social connection

There are many contributing factors to burnout, and it can vary by person. Burnout for one person may come a lot later than someone else. The breaking point for each person can change. It is important to recognize the causes and the symptoms of burnout so you can make a shift.

What Everyone Is Wrong About Burning Out

Before we dive into how to fix a burnout, I want to bust the myths many have about burning out. Only by understanding burn out more will you be able to fix it from the root.

Myth #1: Because you’re burned out, you are weak or cannot handle stress.

This is not the case, in fact, burning out is the opposite. It is your body’s way of showing you that it is time to slow down so you can handle the stress.

When you burnout, your body and your mental brain can become cluttered. When you recognize this, you can make a shift and reevaluate what you are working toward. Our natural instinct is to blame ourselves. However, no one is made to handle that stress load for long periods of time.

When you look at successful entrepreneurs and see the load in which they carry each day, you have to recognize that they have tools in place to support them and a team to help. No one person, can do it all.

Myth #2: You should keep burnout a secret.

If you keep burnout a secret, you are risking your well being. I am not asking you to stand on top of your desk at work and scream out loud saying that you are tired. What I am saying is to find a partner to communicate with. This can be a co-worker, a friend, or your partner.

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The Burnout Fixing Plan

Fixing burnout could be a simple self care routine that you implement each day or it can be jetting off for a week of unplugged vacation time.

There are many strategies that can support you and here are a few of my favorites.

Set a Goal and Stick to It

Take a look at your current goals, do you have too many things to focus on, but lose the focus for the most important things? Maybe what mattered two years ago when you took this job no longer matters now.

Either way, take a look at your goals and assess what you want to keep and what you want to let go.

Activity breeds more activity. When you start to get busy, life gives you more things to do. You have to get clear on what matches your goals and is aligned with your long term plan.

Get More Sleep No Matter What

Late night work may have seemed productive for some; but the reality is it hurts more than it helps. Let go of the late nights and hit the pillow sooner.

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When you get more sleep, you can better handle the problems that life throws at you. Instead of reacting, you can create a plan and start shifting.

If you are afraid of not getting enough done, take a look at your priorities and start looking at what is on your plate that does not matter.

Go to bed early and wake up early before everyone else. You can get 8 hours of sleep and work for 90 minutes uninterrupted in the morning.

It may take practice, yet when you show up each day and make this a new habit, it will become easier.

Don’t Skip Breaks

A vacation allows you to temporarily leave the stressor. When you get into an argument with your partner, you may allow yourself to walk away before you resume the argument to make sure you don’t yell.

This applies to work too. If you find yourself on a short fuse, take time off. If your natural instinct is to shut everyone out and become a hermit when times get tough, take a break. Separate yourself from the stressor.

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The break will help you regain your focus and you can spend some time shutting off your brain to reset.

Reset Your Body, Reset Your Brain

Right now you may be thinking, I can’t just leave my job this week. I have two major projects due and I have a coffee date planned. That is okay, start small and build up.

Start tonight by setting an alarm on your phone an hour before bed. When the alarm goes off, write down your number one priority for tomorrow, plan out your day, and brush your teeth. Go to bed fifteen minutes earlier and get more sleep.

Taking care of yourself is the best thing you can do for yourself if you are feeling overwhelmed.

More by this author

RebeccaLynn Bologna

MBA, Mom mentor and Business coach

How to Declutter Your Mind to Sharpen Your Brain and Fall Asleep Faster How to Fix Burning out at Work and Get Back on Track What the Most Successful People Do in the Evening Real Passion Will Never Die Out? False.

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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

You go to the gym to train your muscles. You run outside or go for hikes to train your endurance. Or, maybe you do neither of those, but still wish you exercised more.

Well, here is how to train one of the most important parts of your body: your brain.

When you train your brain, you will:

  • Avoid embarrassing situations. You remember his face, but what was his name?
  • Be a faster learner in all sorts of different skills. No problem for you to pick up a new language or new management skill.
  • Avoid diseases that hit as you get older. Alzheimer’s will not be affecting you.

So how to train your brain and improve your cognitive skills?

1. Work your memory

Twyla Tharp, a NYC-based renowned choreographer has come up with the following memory workout:

When she watches one of her performances, she tries to remember the first twelve to fourteen corrections she wants to discuss with her cast without writing them down.

If you think this is anything less than a feat, then think again. In her book The Creative Habit she says that most people cannot remember more than three.

The practice of both remembering events or things and then discussing them with others has actually been supported by brain fitness studies.

Memory activities that engage all levels of brain operation—receiving, remembering and thinking—help to improve the function of the brain.

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Now, you may not have dancers to correct, but you may be required to give feedback on a presentation, or your friends may ask you what interesting things you saw at the museum. These are great opportunities to practically train your brain by flexing your memory muscles.

What is the simplest way to help yourself remember what you see? Repetition.

For example, say you just met someone new:

“Hi, my name is George”

Don’t just respond with, “Nice to meet you”. Instead, say, “Nice to meet you George.”

Got it? Good.

2. Do something different repeatedly

By actually doing something new over and over again, your brain wires new pathways that help you do this new thing better and faster.

Think back to when you were three years old. You surely were strong enough to hold a knife and a fork just fine. Yet, when you were eating all by yourself, you were creating a mess.

It was not a matter of strength, you see. It was a matter of cultivating more and better neural pathways that would help you eat by yourself just like an adult does.

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And guess what? With enough repetition you made that happen!

But how does this apply to your life right now?

Say you are a procrastinator. The more you don’t procrastinate, the more you teach your brain not to wait for the last minute to make things happen.

Now, you might be thinking “Duh, if only not procrastinating could be that easy!”

Well, it can be. By doing something really small, that you wouldn’t normally do, but is in the direction of getting that task done, you will start creating those new precious neural pathways.

So if you have been postponing organizing your desk, just take one paper and put in its right place. Or, you can go even smaller. Look at one piece of paper and decide where to put it: Trash? Right cabinet? Another room? Give it to someone?

You don’t actually need to clean up that paper; you only need to decide what you need to do with it.

That’s how small you can start. And yet, those neural pathways are still being built. Gradually, you will transform yourself from a procrastinator to an in-the-moment action taker.

3. Learn something new

It might sound obvious, but the more you use your brain, the better its going to perform for you.

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For example, learning a new instrument improves your skill of translating something you see (sheet music) to something you actually do (playing the instrument).

Learning a new language exposes your brain to a different way of thinking, a different way of expressing yourself.

You can even literally take it a step further, and learn how to dance. Studies indicate that learning to dance helps seniors avoid Alzheimer’s. Not bad, huh?

4. Follow a brain training program

The Internet world can help you improve your brain function while lazily sitting on your couch. A clinically proven program like BrainHQ can help you improve your memory, or think faster, by just following their brain training exercises.

5. Work your body

You knew this one was coming didn’t you? Yes indeed, exercise does not just work your body; it also improves the fitness of your brain.

Even briefly exercising for 20 minutes facilitates information processing and memory functions. But it’s not just that–exercise actually helps your brain create those new neural connections faster. You will learn faster, your alertness level will increase, and you get all that by moving your body.

Now, if you are not already a regular exerciser, and already feel guilty that you are not helping your brain by exercising more, try a brain training exercise program like Exercise Bliss.

Remember, just like we discussed in #2, by training your brain to do something new repeatedly, you are actually changing yourself permanently.

6. Spend time with your loved ones

If you want optimal cognitive abilities, then you’ve got to have meaningful relationships in your life.  Talking with others and engaging with your loved ones helps you think more clearly, and it can also lift your mood.

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If you are an extrovert, this holds even more weight for you. At a class at Stanford University, I learned that extroverts actually use talking to other people as a way to understand and process their own thoughts.

I remember that the teacher told us that after a personality test said she was an extrovert, she was surprised. She had always thought of herself as an introvert. But then, she realized how much talking to others helped her frame her own thoughts, so she accepted her new-found status as an extrovert.

7. Avoid crossword puzzles

Many of us, when we think of brain fitness, think of crossword puzzles. And it’s true–crossword puzzles do improve our fluency, yet studies show they are not enough by themselves.

Are they fun? Yes. Do they sharpen your brain? Not really.

Of course, if you are doing this for fun, then by all means go ahead. If you are doing it for brain fitness, then you might want to choose another activity

8. Eat right – and make sure dark chocolate is included

Foods like fish, fruits, and vegetables help your brain perform optimally. Yet, you might not know that dark chocolate gives your brain a good boost as well.

When you eat chocolate, your brain produces dopamine. And dopamine helps you learn faster and remember better. Not to mention, chocolate contains flavonols, antioxidants, which also improve your brain functions.

So next time you have something difficult to do, make sure you grab a bite or two of dark chocolate!

The bottom line

Now that you know how to train your brain, it’s actually time to start doing.

Don’t just consume this content and then go on with your life as if nothing has changed. Put this knowledge into action and become smarter than ever!

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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