How To Not Let The Daily Work Grind Get To You•
Wake up. Brush your teeth. Take a dump. Have a shower. Dress up. Hail the hectic commute to work. Work. Take a lunch break. Work some more. Come home. Eat dinner. Sleep. Repeat.
Sounds exhausting and depressing, doesn't it? That's because it is. Job burnout has a high prevalence, and is seen in nearly all professions. From corporate employees to physicians, nearly everybody, at some point during their career graph, experiences a mental slump that feels too heavy and burdensome to overcome. We surrender to it.
"As a metaphor for the draining of energy, burnout refers to the smothering of a fire or the extinguishing of a candle. It implies that once a fire was burning but the fire cannot continue burning brightly unless there are sufficient resources that keep being replenished."
Maslach, C., Schaufeli, W. B., & Leiter, M. P. (2001). Job burnout. Annual review of psychology, 52(1), 397-422.
The key to preventing and treating the burnout is to regularly replenish ourselves. We must learn to find balance, and consistently and systematically refuel. Work-life balance, in the sense of spending less hours at work, and more simply living your life may not be a practical solution for most of us. But, there are things we can do while at work to make the daily grind less sapping.
Break the monotony: Monotony is a silent killer of the spirit. The best way to not let the daily grind get to you is to not make it a routine. You can do this in many simple ways: carpool with a friend instead of taking the Metro, head out of the office for lunch break, change your work hours for a while, switch up your work desk (redecorate, set up a new station, have a walking meeting).
Have a workout regime: Exercise is an under-appreciated tool for a healthy, fulfilling life. The physical benefits of being active and plenty, and well-known. But, what we don't acknowledge enough is that working out is also one of the most effective stress-busters. Job burnout is precipitated by high stress. Manage the latter, while you stay healthy!
De-clutter: Declutter your desk. Declutter your car. Declutter your home. Having clean, organising working and living spaces will automatically put you at ease, at least a bit. It saves time and mental hassle when things are in place, and easy to access.
Learn to say no: Late nights, and unrealistic deadlines are not, and should not be a part of a healthy work environment. Learn to make your boundaries clear. It's okay to say no to that one little extra assignment that your boss promises you won't take more than 15 minutes of your time (you damn well know that's a lie), or to staying back late on a regular basis without any real pay-off. When you learn to say no, in work and in life, your yes commands more respect. Live by that.
Steer clear of office politics: Who is getting a promotion based on whose nepotistic attitude is not your problem. Who gets invited to the boss's dinner parties is none of your business. Your only concern is the work your produce. Of course, if you find yourself paying a price because of somebody else's politic, stand up for yourself. But, don't waste your energy playing mind games where it doesn't impact you directly.
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