PEOPLE AT WORK COLUMN: Burnout

CHANGE your lifestyle, change your life. This is a prescription I would like to give to all bone-tired working moms who have a nagging feeling that perhaps somewhere out there is “the good life.”

You see, “working” and “mom” are two words that are highly combustible when mixed together. The secret to keeping these volatile elements stable is to be able to determine how much of each element should be poured into the flask of life to produce a wonderful elixir for the good life. Otherwise, working moms get burnout.

Now, how do you know you are burning out? Here is a Burn Out Quiz from Dr. Tony Alessandra, author of the Online Platinum Rule Behavioral Assessment as taken from his free email newsletter, “Dr. T’s Timely Tips.” Give yourself the following points as you take the quiz: 10 points if you strongly agree with the statement; 7 points, agree; 3 points, disagree; and 0 points, strongly disagree.

1. I always seem to feel fatigued throughout the day.

2. I find myself talking less and less in business and social meetings.

3. My memory seems to be deteriorating—I’m forgetting more and more.

4. Even after a good night’s sleep, I still feel tired.

5. I find it very difficult to really relax-my mind always seems to be in full gear thinking about work.

6. At the end of each day, I feel that I’m further behind than when I started the day.

7. I seem to be more irritable and cranky lately. I am not as patient with others. I have a short fuse and blow up easily.

8. I am spending less and less time on physical activities and hobbies—or with my family and friends.

9. I seldom seem to be pleased with what I’ve already accomplished. I feel that I should be accomplishing more.

10. I either operate at full speed ahead or at dead asleep—no middle ground.

Then, score yourself as follows: 0-15 points – You either don’t do anything or you’ve really got your act together; 16-50 points – You’re doing well. At this level, you’re highly unlikely to suffer from burnout; 51-80 points – You’re on thin ice and just about ready to fall in. You’d better change your lifestyle quickly because burnout is knocking down your door; 86-100 points – I’m glad I don’t work for you or with you. You are a walking time bomb. If you do not make immediate adjustments in your behavior you may be burned out by the time you finish reading this article.

For those who scored 50 points and more, a lifestyle change is in the offing. And I don’t mean just taking a few hours off every day. Four years ago, I was entrenched in a lifestyle I had created for more than 20 years—ten hours at work, four hours on the road, barely two hours with my husband and daughters, every weekday of my life. It was no way to create loving relationships and a good life for my loved ones and myself. That lifestyle had to go. I quit cold turkey one fine day in May and never once regretted the decision since then. I changed my lifestyle, I changed my life.

Somewhere out there is “the good life” waiting for you. Don’t keep it waiting for long for life is too short to be lived without love.

Author: Regina Galang Reyes. Published in Metro Working Mom August 2004.

Photo credit: www.sxc.hu

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