Thursday, April 8, 2010

Combating the Burn-Out Crisis

This past winter was rough, and not just because of the abnormally large amounts of snowfall we had here (Maryland)! Work has been crazy busy, personal life has been crazy busy, family life...yep, you guessed it, crazy busy, and so on. I'm sure you can relate. I feel like I have been going nonstop for the past 3 months (or more), and I'm coming close to my breaking point.

As a self-employed business owner, this is scary and overwhelming. Don't get me wrong, I am ecstatic Kalico has been so busy, and I continue to enjoy what I do. In addition, I also love the extracurricular activities I'm involved with, and I enjoy serving as a director on multiple Boards. On top of it all, I do try to manage a normal life, spending time with my husband working on our house, or visiting with family and friends. But sometimes it just all gets to be too much! I'm the first to admit it—I am reaching my "Burn-Out" point, and I'm not entirely sure what to do.

As I talk with more and more people, I've discovered I am not the only one feeling this same way. This winter really took it's toll on businesses as well as individuals. So, I decided focus on ways to overcome this Burn Out mentality. OK, maybe I haven't done all of these things yet, but just writing them down will help motivate me to make some changes, which will hopefully bring me back to my normal self! Here goes:

1. Always take a lunch break! (Not at your desk)

2. Get plenty of rest and sleep.

3. Get outside (especially now that the weather is nice). That fresh air can REALLY make a difference!

4. Listen to relaxing music while working. Lately I've been switching up what I listen to, and it has really helped keep my mind fresh.

5. Set a cut-off time...sure, we all need to work late now and again. But, you get to a certain point when you just aren't productive anymore. Figure out when your stopping point is, then come back to your task in the morning. You'll be likely to get more accomplished.

6. Exercise. If work permits, take a walk during the day (I am going to try to take the dog on daytime walks), get up and walk around the office a bit, do some light stretching. Anything that gets you moving for a bit.

7. Breathe. Sometimes just taking a few minutes (away from your computer, or your current task), to do some deep breathing exercises can really have a calming effect. Plus, it gives your mind a small break to just be and relax.

8. Break your tasks down into smaller, more direct steps. I recently started using a task management software program called things. It allows me to break down each of my tasks into smaller, more manageable steps. I check off each of these steps when I'm done then move onto the next one. It really helps to break down those big To-Do Items into less daunting tasks. Plus, it looks like you've accomplished more at the end of the day!

These are just a few of the things I pledge to try, and hopefully these little changes will help get me back on track! Any additional suggestions are greatly appreciated! How do you cope with burn-out?

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