There are 3 levels of burn-out: Singed, Toasted and Deep Fried.
Singed is when you lose interest in a few things or lose track of details. You are listless at times and you have trouble focusing on work. Singed is the starting phase and most likely will be a passing phase. We all feel a bit singed around the edges during long periods of overtime work or when work and family schedules collide and there just never seems to be a moment of rest. During this phase, we start losing our purpose in life and there is not enough of ME and life is all about work, family or something other than ME.
Solutions include: Taking a short break or a long weekend. Revisit goals to see if you are accomplishing what you want or need to. Hit the gym or exercise outdoors as both exercise and sunshine can uplift the spirit. Get more sleep by going to bed earlier or not using the alarm to wake up. Eat healthier loading with veggies, lean protein and back-to-nature complex carbs. Put some fun back into life by scheduling some friend time or a little romance. Maybe ask for different work assignments from the boss or finally start delegating the work you’ve lost interest in doing. Start praying and meditating more or longer. In short, change the routine!
Toasted is what happens when none of the above sounds like it would help. You are bored with work… enthusiasm is gone and you are just ‘tapping keys’ on the computer with no zeal or purpose. Food is not interesting and you have no energy left to call friends. You feel sick a lot and even home offers no relief. Life is one long, uninteresting event of little consequence.
Solutions include: Taking a LONG holiday or even a sabbatical from work. Getting away from everything in quiet (not in the bottom of a bottle). Reexamine your life and only after much rest, realign your priorities and plans. DEFINITELY exercise… a LOT! Start with walking and then walk quicker. Eat a couple handfuls of raw Brazil nuts a day (they help depression and cholesterol in a one – two punch combination.) Take fish oil (one study found it cut depression symptoms by 50%) and eat brown rice and cabbage… anything that boosts serotonin and EPA levels. Talk to friends (not the ones that tell you to sabotage the boss or leave your spouse and hang out with them… they might be part of the cause of your problem). Talking to people helps us cope with our issues. Pray and meditate. Pray unceasingly.
Deep Fried. You can’t even find the energy to pick up the phone to call a friend, look for your running shoes or even buy fish oil. Getting out of bed to go to the toilet is a major event. You are in deep depression.
Solution: Say to the first human being you see, “I need help, call a doctor.” Get a doctor to help you. Once you are feeling well enough to start thinking for yourself, see the solutions to Toasted above. BUT until you are there, follow the doctor’s advice. Remember this… you are loved by God, I love you and a lot of other people love you too. You are needed and valuable. Do what you have to do to take care of YOU. Get healthy. Get well mentally. Get ready for your big comeback.
I’ve seen this last stage several times in friends I wanted to help. Unfortunately, I did not know how to help them at the time and I let them down. If I knew then what I know now, I’d have acted differently. If your family and friends are not helping with there, “Snap out of it!” advice… they are not the enemy. They are just uninformed and, like me, don’t know how to help. Get the help you need from a professional and take care of you. A good start would be to smile. Smile. There is life after being Deep Fried.
Smile Maker of the Week: Great Voice-mail Messages:
1) Hi! John’s voice-mail is broken. This is his refrigerator. Please speak very slowly, and I’ll stick your message to myself with one of these magnets.
2) Hi. This is John. If you are the phone company, I already sent the money. If you are my parents, please send money. If you are my bank, you didn’t lend me enough money. If you are my friends, you owe me money. If you are a female, don’t worry, I have LOTS of money.
3) Hi. I’m actually available to speak now. I’m just avoiding someone I don’t want to talk to. Leave me a message, and if I don’t call back, it’s you.
Michael Podolinsky CSP