How to avoid burnout in the New Year

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Dr. Jeff Norman stopped by the studio to talk about a common problem we all have at the end of the year. Feeling that burnout. According to Dr. Norman, burnout has become so common that it now has its own ICD 10 code for medical diagnosis. There, it is defined as “a state of physical and emotional exhaustion.”

Here is Dr. Norman’s description and advice on avoiding burnout:

If you are one of the millions of people already wrapped in the tentacles of burnout you know that it is so much more than physical and emotional exhaustion. You know that the symptoms can range from decreased work performance and increased temper to increased anxiety and decreased libido. Burnout can interfere with every single aspect of your life. As we face the pressures of starting a new year, the number of people experiencing burnout seems to skyrocket.

Too many pressures, too many grand expectations and too many self-imposed demands can leave even the most resilient of us worn out and miserable. I’m here to tell you that there is a better way!

Embrace the three S’s to help you avoid burnout this year!  

1. Simplify  Today we all experience “the tidal wave of too much”. Too much to do, too many expectations, too much to worry about and too much noise! The pressures of new year’s resolutions and the unhealthy focus on our losses instead of our wins can overwhelm us.

In order to un-complicate the new year try this little exercise: Make a list of every worry, demand, goal and expectation you have. Don’t hold back! This list might end up being extensive, and that’s okay. When you finish making the list, carefully consider each item. Which ones are really not that important to you and can be eliminated? Which ones are important to you but have become unnecessarily complex or stressful?

Which ones are perfect or important enough to leave just the way they are? Put an “a”, “b” or “c” next to each item. a) Eliminate the things you can, b) simplify the others, and c) embrace what’s left with excitement! Carefully following your improved blueprint for the new year will be life changing! Be sure to put your list in a place you can see often so that you don’t fall back into old habits.  

2. Self-Care One of the reasons facing the new year can become so exhausting is the tendency most of us have of neglecting ourselves. We stress out more, we sleep and exercise less, eat worse, and we push ourselves harder than perhaps we should. Combat the stress and pressures of the new year expectations by taking better care of yourself: a) Physical: exercise, go for a walk, see your chiropractor, get a massage, focus on the veggie tray instead of the desert tray! b) Emotional: write in a Gratitude Journal, meditate, spend time unplugged from social media, look for inspirational experiences to participate in. c) Spiritual: Life is short! Look for deeper meaning in your everyday activities, read inspirational books, pray, express love more freely, practice forgiveness of yourself and others. 

3. Stretch Yourself As we face a new year, most of us look back over the last 12 months and tally up our wins and our losses…putting way too much focus on our losses. Vowing not to come up short again we create a new plan of attack that is rooted in avoiding failure instead of seeking success. It is important to stretch yourself far enough to fail once in a while. Leave your comfort zone. If you don’t fall down every now and then you are not progressing.

The pain of past failures can push us into a fear based plan of for the new year. “Success” is about winning the game in spite of the failures along the way. “Not failing” is playing the game safely; staying inside your comfort zone, never stretching yourself in an attempt to avoid coming up short.  

Simple yet meaningful changes to your plan for the new year can decrease all the symptoms of burnout as it increases yourself-confidence, self-worth and sense of Joy!  

Dr. Jeff Norman is an expert on burnout and is the author of the popular book “Overcoming 7 Steps to Re-Kindle the Fire and Become Passionately Engaged in Your life”. Go to drjeffnorman.com to download your copy for free!  

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