First Step to Mitigate Burnout

First Step to Mitigate Burnout

In last week’s video, I gave you the very specific signs, the signals to be aware of that indicate you are on the verge of burnout – what to be watching for physically and mentally before you actually hit burnout. Especially if you’re seeing some of those signs happen at a greater frequency, that should be your signal. So today, if you are experiencing those, you’re aware, acknowledging them, you need to immediately change course to mitigate that burnout. Your number one action is to communicate with your manager.

Burnout is a workplace syndrome.

It’s when your work is not under control and you don’t have ways to manage the stress directly, again, tied to work. So, the first step that you should be taking is communicating with your manager. Do not assume that your manager has any idea of what you’re going through. Not even to know exactly what type of tasks, responsibilities, or what’s on your plate. Even though they have a general sense, they don’t know what you’re day in and day out looks like.

They’re most likely not aware of how many hours you’re working, and much less are they aware of how you’re feeling. So when you go to approach your manager, I want you to think about these three C’s. It’s communicate with collaboration, not complaining. Communicate with collaboration, not complaining. Be prepared to come in and say, “Look, I’m really excited about these opportunities. Here’s what I have on my plate. I’d like to talk with you about these so we can collaborate, maybe find out the priorities, and where some things could maybe shift in order for me to avoid getting really burned out. I’m starting to work extra hours, I’m noticing that I have more anxiety or I’m getting more frustrated, and I want to make sure that we’re not getting to the place of burnout.”

Sitting down to collaborate, stating the facts, how many hours are you working? What are the projects on your plate? And then collaborate on how things could be prioritized or delegated or shifted to another time, delayed in order for you to avoid getting to that absolute burnout. So make sure that in your communication it’s with collaboration, not complaining. You never want to approach your manager by saying, “Oh my goodness, I’m so burned out. I need to do this, I can’t handle this.” We never want you to exhibit, first of all, signs that might indicate you just can’t handle it. Right? And certainly, if you’re on this verge, it’s not to say that you are not a strong person.

But when you approach it via complaining, it can come across that you’re not capable. Also when you’re complaining, depending on your manager’s personality and how they respond or react to things, they may take your complaining as a sign that you’re blaming them for your situation, or the situation. So make sure that you approach the conversation with facts, state how much you love working there, you love working on their team, but this is, these are the facts of what’s in front of you. And how can you collaborate together to find a solution that’s going to work for you, your manager, and your organization overall.

Communicate with collaboration, not complaining.

When You’re on the Verge of Burnout

When You’re on the Verge of Burnout

When I experienced complete and total burnout over seven years ago – and I’m talking the kind of burnout where I swore I was quitting my job if I was ever going to survive – that year leading up to my burnout, I blamed everyone. I blamed my boss for giving me the promotion that I swore was the ultimate cause of my burnout. Then I went on to blame my co-workers who appeared to not have as much work as I did, or I even blamed stay-at-home moms for posting fun trips at Disneyland while I was stuck in an airport.

And of course, I blamed my husband. He had a business from home where he didn’t have to get ready and commute like I did. I blamed everyone for my burnout. Well, almost everyone! I forgot to blame one really important person – me! I never once blamed myself, like it wasn’t even a consideration that I was responsible for my burnout.

But of course I was; I was the one who was saying yes to what was being put in front of me.

I was the one who was making choices to put myself in the center of these circumstances that were causing burnout. If you are experiencing symptoms of burnout or you’re getting closer to it, I’ve got to tell you: it’s your fault. You are the person who’s causing the burnout, the burnout is to be blamed on you. Look, I’m not here just to point fingers at you today, I’m going to actually offer some tips about what you can do about this.

The first tip is to acknowledge that you are the person responsible for the burnout – but here’s the good news. If you’re the person who made the choices to get you to the burnout, you’re the same person who can make choices to get you out. You have the power to get out of this situation. Now we’ll talk about some tips on how to do that.

If you’re looking to get out of burnout, first of all, you’ve got to start saying no. All of these opportunities, all of these requests that are coming your way, are you saying no to any of them, or to at least the ones that are really pulling at you? And I get it; in a professional environment you can’t act like a little kid, stomping your feet and saying, “No, I won’t do that!” Of course not.

But are you having a professional conversation, an open dialogue where you could potentially say, “No, thank you,” and evaluate what’s on your plate, or see if these requests align with the company’s priorities or your professional development? If not, you need to go have those conversations. The second piece is, if you can’t say no, if you do need to commit, then are you asking for help? Look at what’s in front of you. Are there resources that you should be tapping into, to get some assistance so you don’t burn out?

A little side tip on this: don’t assume people know you need help; you have to ask.

Don’t assume that your boss has any clue what’s really on your plate. Don’t assume your spouse is going to help you with a household chore. You have to ask; again, the power is yours. Go out and ask for help. The third thing I’d like to call to your attention is, are you focused on perfection? Do you have things that you’re working on, things that you’re doing, responsibilities that you have, where you’re trying to make it perfect?

Is that perfection, whether it’s draining your resources for time or energy, one of the things that is leading to burnout? If so, I’m going to invite you to go back to one of my videos about four or five weeks ago that addresses perfection. That’s the video for you, to help you get ahold of this burnout! If you have any other tips on how to either avoid or get yourself out of burnout, please post those in the comments below.

Check the Negativity

Check the Negativity

You may have that one person in your life that is constantly delivering negativity at you, almost like it’s daggers. Or you’re anticipating an upcoming event, where the feeling is going to be really dark and heavy. Or maybe just even yesterday, you had something happen where it killed your positive vibes. Whatever the circumstances are, I want to help you check that negativity so that you can move forward!

In my process, the first stage is all about awareness – and the very beginning of it is awareness on your part. So regardless of the event, the negativity that’s coming at you, you get to choose how you feel next. I know it’s way easier to blame the person, the situation, but take hold of the power that you have to determine how you are going to feel. Don’t let that other person or event control you; take that empowerment of choice and decide how you feel next.

Once you’ve got that awareness, the next awareness is knowing that the situation probably has nothing to do with you.

I know you’ve heard that before, but are you living that? Are you recognizing that the other person may just be having a bad day, that you happen to be in their path, their line of fire, on the receiving end of the negativity? The final stage of awareness – and this one is going to challenge you, and I want you to take on the challenge – is to have empathy for that other person. We have no idea how they learned to deal with negativity. They may be doing the best that they possibly can with the resources they have.

So let’s just have some empathy for them and recognize they’re doing their best. Once you’ve got that awareness, the next phase is to get into action. And immediately, I want you to build a surround sound of positivity. There are lots of different ways to do this, and it looks different for everyone, but I’m going to give you a few of my favorites. Go outside; biologically, being outside in the fresh air and the sunshine kicks in those endorphins and immediately allows you to feel that optimism, that moving forward feeling.

If you can’t get outside, listen or read something that’s positive, whether that’s an affirmation, a podcast, but just building in those positive words, it will physiologically change how you’re feeling. And finally, do you have a positive person you can reach out to? Someone you can go talk to. But my warning label is, it’s not to go talk to them to complain or bitch about the situation. It’s your Yoda; that person that as soon as you hear or see them, you’re automatically feeling that better energy.

Now, if you have someone that is in your life causing this negativity around you, if you can, eliminate them immediately. But for those people that you can’t, maybe it’s a family member or a co-worker you have to be with, start limiting the amount of time that you spend with them. Try to isolate yourself and only be with them on an as-needed basis.

And I want to leave you with, if these steps, these strategies, this process doesn’t work for you, please do not stop here. There are so many resources out there. I had an ongoing situation with a boss of mine where every single day, I had the daggers of negativity coming at me. And these steps helped me on most days, but there were days that were really rough. And instead of me getting sucked into that negativity, I chose to reach out to another resource, get new ideas.

I’m encouraging you to do the same; check the negativity and keep moving forward.

First Step to Mitigate Burnout

First Step to Mitigate Burnout

Last week, I gave you the very specific signs, the signals to be aware of that indicate you are on the verge of burnout – what to be watching for physically and mentally before you actually hit burnout. Especially if you’re seeing some of those signs happen at a greater frequency, that should be your signal. So today, if you are experiencing those, you’re aware, acknowledging them, you need to immediately change course to mitigate that burnout. Your number one action is to communicate with your manager.

Burnout is a workplace syndrome.

It’s when your work is not under control and you don’t have ways to manage the stress directly, again, tied to work. So your number one first step that you should be taking is communicating with your manager. Do not assume that your manager has any idea of what you’re going through. Not even to know exactly what type of tasks, responsibilities, or what’s on your plate. Even though they have a general sense, they don’t know what you’re day in and day out looks like.

They’re most likely not aware of how many hours you’re working, and much less are they aware of how you’re feeling. So when you go to approach your manager, I want you to think about these three C’s. It’s communicate with collaboration, not complaining.

Communicate with collaboration, not complaining.

So be prepared to come in and say, “Look, I’m really excited about these opportunities. Here’s what I have on my plate. I’d like to talk with you about these so we can collaborate, maybe find out what are priorities, where some things could shift, in order for me to avoid getting really burned out. I’m starting to work extra hours, I’m noticing that I have more anxiety or I’m getting more frustrated, and I want to make sure that we’re not getting to the place of burnout.”

So sitting down to collaborate, stating the facts, how many hours are you working? What are the projects on your plate? And then collaborate on how things could be prioritized or delegated or shifted to another time, delayed in order for you to avoid getting to that absolute burnout. Make sure that in your communication it’s with collaboration, not complaining. You never want to approach your manager by saying, “Oh my goodness, I’m so burned out. I need to do this, I can’t handle this.”

We never want you to exhibit, first of all, signs that might indicate you just can’t handle it. Right? And certainly, if you’re on this verge, it’s not to say that you are not a strong person. But when you approach it via complaining, it can come across that you’re not capable.

Also when you’re complaining, depending on your manager’s personality and how they respond or react to things, they may take your complaining as a sign that you’re blaming them for your situation, or the situation. So make sure that you approach it with facts, state how much you love working there, you love working on their team, but these are the facts of what’s in front of you. And how can you collaborate together to find a solution that’s going to work for you, your manager, and your organization overall.

Communicate with collaboration, not complaining.

Stop Trying to Beat Burnout in Isolation

Stop Trying to Beat Burnout in Isolation

By the spring of 2021, over half of American workers reported feeling burned out – absolutely no surprise! After coming out of over a year of a pandemic, with the shift and blending of work and life and additional workload so many felt. And look, burnout is not to be dismissed. It is an officially diagnosable condition in which there is workplace stress that is not being successfully managed. Now, you maybe have experienced burnout, you’re experiencing it now, or maybe you will in the future, but burnout is bound to hit.

So I encourage you, that burnout cannot be solved in isolation.

When I was going through the 13 months that led to my burnout, to where I said, “I have to quit my job,” thankfully I didn’t – but that was my belief, is that I had to quit my job. That was my solution to the burnout, because I hadn’t figured out how to manage that workplace stress. And during those 13 months, I was trying to solve it completely in isolation. The only person who knew remotely what I was going through was my husband, Matt.

I didn’t talk to anyone, I had such a fear that if I shared the struggles I was going through, the stress that I had, with my colleagues or with my manager, that I would be looked upon as weak; that I would have been looked upon that I wasn’t capable of achieving the next level, which I wanted to eventually be there. I didn’t want to tell friends and family, because I felt like I was just bitching and moaning about my job – where I had lots of really positive things going on, but it was killing me at the same time. And that burnout in isolation never got solved.

It wasn’t until I hit that absolute moment where I then reached out for help. I got out of my isolation and I literally texted someone and said, “I need help.” In those beginning months of working with my coach, I began to actually share my story; I started opening up with my colleagues about what I had been going through. And shocker, so many of them had gone through the same things!

Or I heard, “Colleen, I wish I knew you were going through that. I would have been able to jump in and help in this way, or have supported you in a different way.” So, don’t stay in isolation; have conversations about it. I also encourage you to approach your manager.

Don’t assume that your manager has any idea that you are currently burning out, or that you’re on the verge of it.

Now, look, it is not about going in and just complaining. It’s about stating the facts, stating how it’s impacting you and others, and offering ideas for collaboration on a solution. When I was ready (which I should have done much sooner, I didn’t do it until about 15 months later), I went into my manager and said, “Look, I have this workload, I’m traveling approximately this percent of time per month, which means I am now only sleeping about four hours a night. I’m only seeing my family one or two nights and the weekend, and I’m starting to notice that the productivity and my quality of work is going to suffer, and I don’t want that to happen. So here’s an idea..” I had an idea that I would work from home on Fridays, which was almost unheard of for most companies 7-8 years ago.

But that was my recommendation, and my manager, without hesitation, said, “Absolutely, I’m good with that! If it means keeping you here at our company and continuing to have the same, if not better productivity and quality, that, I’m willing to accommodate that.” I was so scared to have that conversation when I was in the middle of burnout.

So I’m encouraging you today, don’t wait! Schedule the time, prepare yourself, stating the facts, how it’s impacting you and the organization, and ideas for collaboration. Start preparing that today, and have the conversation. Again, burnout cannot be cured in isolation – have the conversation, ask for help, and get it solved sooner rather than before it’s too late!

3 Ways to Build Resilience

3 Ways to Build Resilience

3 Ways to Build Resilience

Shortly after celebrating my 10 year anniversary with my company, my manager spent nearly eight months ignoring me; disregarding my physical existence, wanting to see me leave the position, the office, and our company. I could have easily quit. Those eight months were some of the most challenging, emotionally and professionally, challenging times that I have ever endured.

But circumstances led me to stay; I found out that several other employees had gone through similar circumstances with this manager, and I decided not only for myself, but to support these others as a leader, that I was going to be resilient and stick it out. I wanted to show my resilience in finding a solution, finding a way that myself and others would not have to go through this type of experience.

Resilience is a really challenging concept, it’s challenging in the word itself.

You will absolutely have times that you face difficult circumstances, situations that you believe you can never overcome. Like, “This is it, I’ve got to call it in, I can’t do it.” But I’m encouraging you to find that resilience that I know you have inside of you, to continue to fight and push forward toward whatever it is. For me, to find that ability to stick it out, number one, I had to believe that I could figure things out.

I have to believe, have the confidence in myself that even though this seemed impossible, that I could do it. I didn’t know how, I just knew that I would be able to do it. I just had to have that internal dialogue, that confidence, that pep talk. Now every day I would wake up and say, “Okay, I know I’m going to be treated in this way, but I’m going to show up for other people.” But as soon as I would walk in, I would have a dagger thrown into my chest.

So the second way I was able to have that resilience to stick it out was through my community; my support group. Whether that was through peers at my organization, through coaches that I had, through my parents, my spouse, or my friends. I turned to my community for that support. Those connections helped me stay resilient. They helped me have that confidence when I wasn’t having it anymore. They helped me see what could be on the other side.

That’s the third thing that I had, was additional ideas and additional resources. The skills that I had, the coping skills, the mechanisms that I had always relied on to overcome stress, to fight through things such as this – they weren’t working. You know, three months, six months in, what I knew to work in the past was no longer working in this situation. But again, instead of giving up, instead of saying, “Well, I tried everything..” I knew I hadn’t tried everything. So I reached out to that community to say, what else could I be doing?

That’s when I was introduced to other resources that absolutely helped me stick it out, until there was a resolution at the end that allowed me to feel really good about my choice to be resilient, to create change.

What do you need to fight against right now? What do you need to have that confidence in your ability around, to have that community, that connection, and the additional resources, the places to go? What situation are you up against, where those things can help you stay resilient? To stick with it and fight through to the end, so that you know you will come out with the best solution for you.