I am not a golfer, but I could not help getting swept up in the Master’s Tournament on Sunday. I watched in amazement as the field gave way to the two top players who literally matched each other’s performance at almost every hole; they finished in an unbelievable tie and had to play a nineteenth hole.
Sergio Garcia and Justin Rose were clearly friends, but I doubt that helped mitigate the enormity of such a high stakes, televised event. And they both looked so calm..not robotic, just calm. Garcia eventually won after years and years and years of coming heartbreakingly close. His victory was a wonderful tribute to persistence, sportsmanship and obviously, stress management. I wondered how he was able to pursue this heretofore elusive goal for so, so long without eventually succumbing to burnout.
The Cleveland Clinic tweeted out this interesting article below on burn-out & work related stress this morning. Clearly those who are able to productively process both have a huge advantage in life …and in golf! 😉
From the Cleveland Clinic:
It’s easy to think of stress at work as the enemy, but a healthy dose can give you fuel — and make you even better at what you do. Job-related burnout, on the other hand, empties you out and kills your motivation. If it lingers too long, it also can negatively affect your feelings about life.
The good news about job burnout is that you can take steps to reverse it. You also can avoid it altogether if you pay attention to the signs.
When stress is prolonged
“Workplace burnout involves a prolonged and heightened response to work stress in which a person becomes drained from work demand,” says clinical psychologist, Scott Bea, PsyD.
He says to be on guard if you notice these signs:
•Declining work performance
•Decreasing work efficiency
•Loss of confidence that you can accomplish your goals
•Avoidance of work-related tasks
•Loss of interest
“Engaging in tasks that feel meaningless can promote burnout,” Dr. Bea says. “However, if something in your work effort is consistent with your commitments and values, each day can be an opportunity to live these values in a tangible manner.”
For example, people in caregiving professions can notice positive results with their consistent effort to help others.
It depends on where you place your attention.
“Try to notice the rightness of your work effort and the positive outcomes rather than dwelling on the stressors, obstacles or negative characteristics of work,” he says.
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Emotions are a tip-off
Before you experience job burnout, your feelings will give you some clues that something is amiss. If you’re not sure if you’re just going through a rough patch or heading down the road to burnout, here are seven questions to ask yourself:
1Are you feeling cynical or negative about work, and are these feelings escalating?
2Is your motivation decreasing?
3Is it becoming difficult to perform work-related problem solving?
4Do you feel yourself getting more agitated or angry at work?
5Are interpersonal difficulties at work spilling over into your home life?
6Do you feel depressed as a result of work-related stress?
7Is work-related stress causing you anxiety?
If you answered yes to many of the questions above, there are various ways to address these feelings for a healthier outlook.
Change your perspective
“Come to work intending to ‘give your gift’ as an alternative to approaching work fearfully about outcomes or penalties,” Dr. Bea says. “It helps when we lean into the experience with positive energy and a positive belief in ourselves.”
Here are some other in-the-trenches strategies to fight burnout:
• Establish good self-care. Maintain healthy habits such as exercise, nutrition, interpersonal connections, and limit the use of quick fixes such as alcohol, nicotine or drug use.
• Set healthy limits. Find a way to manage expectations in your workplace so that you do not become overextended.
• Keep a healthy pace. Strive to get into the flow of your work, and take periodic breaks.
• Develop a mindfulness practice. Rehearse being aware of the present moment, rather than getting into thoughts about the future or past in a way that escalates tension.
• Take breaks from electronic devices. Do this at predetermined intervals so that you are not “always on.”
• Attach your work efforts to something you value. Notice how your work makes something in the world, the culture, or in other people’s lives better.
• Be yourself. Do what you can to reduce the strain of having to project some image that is not authentic.
If you are struggling over a prolonged period, you also want to consider the source of your feelings. Is it that you are not a match for this particular career? Or is it that the work, and amount, has gotten beyond your control? It may be time to consider a change or talk with a supervisor about workloads or roles.