How to Avoid Burnout in a High-Stress Environment

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How to Avoid Burnout in a High-Stress Environment

Burnout seems like a colloquial term for feeling tired or temporarily feeling disinterested in your job. And that doesn't sound so bad. But in fact burnout is a real and serious phenomenon among entrepreneurs.
Career burnout can manifest as a growing distaste for your line of work or frustration with your current venture, as well as an emotional and physical response. Among other symptoms, you may experience changes to your sleep and appetite patterns. You may become more irritable and depressed. You could even be more susceptible to disease.
High stress, managed improperly, can wreak havoc on both your personal and professional life. Before you know it, the job and environment you once craved could become more like a hellish prison sentence, forcing you to decide to either continue your misery or abandon your original goals.

Some of the strategies that can be used to avoid such a circumstance include the following:

Identify the root causes and eliminate them

This may sound obvious, but don’t underestimate its power as a strategy. Each day, take notes on what you do, how much time you spend and how you feel about the way you spent that time. Chances are, you’ll identify a selection of tasks that disproportionately contributed to your stress. You might find you've spent far more time on them than you realized.
Your main strategies here are to:
- Automate the work - by finding a software tool that can handle the task for you.
- Delegate the work - by training another staff member or hiring someone new to handle those specific responsibilities.
- Rework your processes

Manage stress through healthy lifestyle choices

Physical exercise helps you manage stress both as a short-term measure and as a long-term measure (by lowering your blood pressure and improving your overall health).

Take breaks (and a vacation)

Whenever you can, let yourself take breaks (even if that means sneaking in a nap at the office). You’ll see a boost in productivity, and you’ll foster a more positive relationship with your work. Eating healthier foods can give you long-lasting energy throughout the day, and regular sessions of meditation are shown to dramatically reduce levels of stress.

Know the symptoms

Finally, learn to recognize the signs and symptoms of burnout. They tend to start out being somewhat innocuous, growing more intense over time, and include:
- Persistent feelings of exhaustion
- Feelings of self-doubt and recurring frustration
- Feelings of cynicism or the tendency to be overly critical at work
- Loss of motivation and/or dread about coming to work in the morning
- Isolation or the feeling that you're alone
- Use of food, drugs or alcohol to cope with your frustration.
- Avoidance or abandonment of your responsibilities
- A change in sleep or eating habits

Stress can be a burden to both your personal and professional life, especially when not properly managed. Fortunately, when you’re equipped with the knowledge and awareness necessary to nip the problem in the bud, you just have to invest your time in the strategies that can make it happen.