Are You Burnt Out? 5 Strategies to Manage Modern Day Stress

Prevent Burn OutAre you Burnt Out? Would you know if you were? How do you Prevent Burn Out? Read on for 5 strategies to help you prevent Burn Out and manage modern day stress.

Stress. org found that too many U.S. employees feel Burnt Out, hence overworked or overwhelmed at least some of the time. 

Stress is a regular part of life; so common and inescapable we readily accept it. But it’s vitally important to know that some stress is acceptable but continuous stress is unacceptable and should be prevented. The stress that is bad for you is only bad if you are bad at managing it.

Know your foe. Name it and you can tame it.

Understand the Two Kinds of Stress to Prevent Burn Out

Acute stress

Acute stress is specific and short-lived (textbooks call it eustress). It results from specific events that involve something new, a novelty, something unpredictable—it’s changeable and we don’t know the outcome. A threat to our ego also causes acute stress. Such as, criticism, rejection, or a failure of some kind. This is “in the moment” and “on the spot” stress that can be good for you. It keeps you focused and competitive. It stimulates action. If you are meeting with an important client or facing a momentous job interview the right amount of stress can be the asset that makes you practice, keeps you sharp and makes you successful.

Chronic Stress

This is stress resulting from repeated and continuous exposure to situations that prompt the human stress response, also known as the fight or flight response. Scientists have shown that our stress response system was designed to help us survive short-lived life-threatening physical danger.

Modern society no longer poses any physical or life-threatening dangers. The saber-tooth tigers are gone. Modern-Day Stress response triggers are not life threatening but our stress response kicks in as designed. Rush hour traffic, long lines, leaving work but not the workload, 24-hour email all this triggers our stress response as if it were a saber-tooth tiger charging. The fight or flight response was not meant to be activated throughout the day. When our stress response is over stimulated chronic stress results. 

I call this Modern-Day Stress. It’s pervasive, not well understood and too easily accepted as part of being successful. If you are successful it’s just understood and accepted that you are under stress. This culture of socially acceptable stress won’t help you Prevent Burn Out. You must help yourself here!

The Effects of Modern Day Stress & How to Prevent Burn Out

To Prevent Burn Out we must grasp that we are not equipped to handle long-term, chronic stress. People who feel stressed are more likely to neglect themselves, forgo sleep and become less productive and feel like life is out of their control. Self-care is the last thing you think about.

At home and work stress can affect your bottom line. Stress leads to more stress and increased health care costs. The physical and emotional tolls on family and team members are real. Absenteeism, turn over and loss of productivity compound the stress problem. Anxiety increases among team members and they become over sensitive and easily irritated.

Modern Day stress brings us close to the edge of a cliff and other factors such as lifestyle and family history can push us over the edge to Burn Out.

Here are 5 Strategies to Prevent Burn Out and Manage Modern-Day Stress

  1. Build resourcefulness—this is the ability to find quick ways to overcome difficulties. Stress occurs when the demands of life exceed our resources. When we have the power to cope, stress evaporates.
  2. Shift your thinking. Stressful thinking leads to stressful feelings. We conjure up stress by worrying, letting uncertainty create anxiety and fearing scenarios of what has not yet happened. Everything in life is vying for our attention. Be selective on what and how you think about things. Mark Twain is famous for saying; I’ve experienced many terrible things in my life, a few of which actually happened.
  3. Relax. We are not as good at deescalating as we are at getting pumped up….but we need to get better at being able to relax to survive and thrive in today’s world…we need to slow down, pause and check our mood—observe what is driving us and turn it around. YOU need to be doing the driving. Reaction means tension and escalation… but lack of reaction means composure and de-escalation. Reconsider your response to stress. 
  4. Activate your emotional transformer. The energy from a modern-day stress response is displaced usually as anger, bitterness or frustration. Convert this energy from disabling to enabling. Make your stress energy a constructive power that moves toward what you desire. Use frustration to energize proactive behaviors and spark enthusiasm, anticipation, hope and joy.
  5. Pause. Persistent and cumulative stress progressively reduces self-control and reduces the ability to access your rational thought to pull you out of the stress response. We see this with road rage, blow-ups, screaming at the boss, losing it. You become “high jacked.” Build the strength and capacity to pause in real time and access your rational thought rather than reacting automatically and misinterpreting situations. The key to composure, strength and resourcefulness is the ability to access your collected and composed rational thought. Your rational thought is designed to keep you stable, levelheaded and in control. See my Stress-Free Manager Program.

If You’re Not Managing Your Stress, Your Stress is Managing You

The ability to reduce stress and….prevent burn out requires creating new behaviors. 

It is possible to develop the ability to access your constructive power and rational thought in real time, in the moment.

This is beyond skill development—you develop the ability to perform on demand, no matter what the situation is.

To make something a regular practice you need to set aside personal time to stop, reflect, examine and build the resourcefulness that will feed your ability to gain control and productively manage your stress.

This is not trivial!

Take 10-minutes out of each day to build internal strengths like patience, self-regulation, self-control, self-directing and self-correcting and begin to use stress to make you stronger, more powerful and more resourceful.

What You Can Expect From Your 10-Minute Habit

You become prepared for any setback or disappointment and you will have the patience for those who need it. You begin using the energy of each day to build momentum and progress. Perhaps most important, you’ll clean the slate each day and avoid “carryover.”

The same way you clear a calculator of previous problems, your habit of reflection and building will help you prevent carrying over stress and work problems from meeting to meeting and from bringing moods and frustrations home from work. You won’t let stress have a chance to become chronic.

 

To get help managing stress contact Brian-or see the Coaching Programs Brian offers. 

 

© Brian Braudis 2020, All rights reserved

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