According to a number of studies completed, up to 50% of employees think often of quitting their current jobs. Why do so many employees spend time thinking about leaving? According to a Gallop poll, a large majority leave because they don’t have a good relationship with their immediate supervisor. Others leave because they are burned out.

What is burnout? It is a state of mental, physical, and/or emotional exhaustion that can threaten your health and your relationships. It can also affect your work. It can be caused by work or family related stress. It can be a result of years of frustrating working conditions, or it can be caused by taking on too much and not taking care of your physical and mental health.

How do you know you are burned out? If you answer yes to a number of these questions, you may be suffering from burn out.

• Do you often feel physically and/or emotionally drained?
• Do you tend to think or talk negatively about your job or your boss?
• Do you feel you are less sensitive or sympathetic with others than you think you should be?
• Do you feel under valued and under appreciated at work?
• Do you feel over worked and that you don’t have enough time to do a quality job because you are overloaded?
• Do you wonder if you are in the right profession or the right job?
• Do you find yourself daydreaming about retirement even though you are years from it?
• Do you feel empty or depressed at work, or like you are not able to contribute anything of value?
• Have you lost your motivation to get up and go to work?
• Have you lost interest in social activities?
• Do you get sick a lot due to lowered immunity?

Many employees who are burned out have mentally quit already. In Human Resources we refer to these employees as “retired in place, or RIP”. You can tell who these employees are because they are the ones with the “whatever” attitude. They are those who perform just enough to keep their job – but no more. They use up all their sick leave, vacation, or personal time off (PTO) every year. They may be withdrawn and don’t appear to care about the “vision” for the future of the company or work group; all that concerns them is their vision of leaving as soon as they can find a way.

Does this describe you? If so, here are some things you might try:

1. Start with getting more sleep. A lack of sleep lowers your immunity, and interferes with your ability to focus. Shoot for at least seven hours. Studies show that people who get less than five hours of sleep on a regular basis are far more prone to both physical and mental illness.

2. Improve your diet. Start eating more fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meat, and cut back on fried foods and carbohydrates. Cut back on alcohol and caffeine and start drinking lots of water to flush the toxins out of your system.

3. Carve out time each day that is just for you. Disconnect yourself from all “devices” for at least an hour a day. Turn off your laptop and telephone. Spend that time in meditation, contemplation, reading, journaling, or on any relaxing hobby.

4. Find time to exercise. We all know the benefits of exercise on our physical health, but we often don’t find time for it. Even a 10 to 15 minute walk at lunch can reduce stress and improve your emotional health.

5. Learn how to say “no”. If you have a problem taking on too much learn how to manage your “commitment” load. Take a class in assertive communication. When you are asked to volunteer for something, say something like, “I would love to help with that, unfortunately I have another commitment at that time (no one needs to know the commitment is to yourself). Or “I would love to do that for you, but given my workload right now I could not deliver the quality you want. Thank you for asking though” Even with your boss, learn how to set limits. Say something like, “I will be happy to do that for you, but here is what I am working on right now. Which of these would you like me to put on the back burner so I can do it for you?”

If you truly hate your job, and even these suggestions don’t help, perhaps it is time for drastic measures, such as seeing a mental health professional or changing jobs.

My Story

I was suffering from burnout in a big way a few months ago. After I lost my son, granddaughter, and mother earlier that year, I lost all motivation to work. It was all I could do to drag myself to a job I really had lost interest in. I put in the hours, but was not giving my company the value I had been accustomed to giving them. I woke up each morning counting the days to the weekend. I found myself watching the clock for quitting time – something I had never done before.

After a few months of this I decided it was time to take make some drastic changes. I began seeing a mental health professional for the depression and grief. I made a commitment to cut out all of the junk food and late night trips to Dairy Queen to soothe my grief and get back to the healthy eating habits I had previously developed. I began an exercise program. And finally I decided to find a way to gradually move myself from the job I had grown to resent to working for myself.

I joined Wealth Creations Network and started to learn how to make money online. After a little over two months, I have learned how to drive lots of traffic to the blog I had started a couple of years ago. I am rediscovering my passion for writing, and have learned how to post articles online to help market my blog and other online ventures.

I am not making a lot of money yet, but I have started earning some affiliate income, and am on my way to creating a business that can supplement my retirement. I can now see that there is an end to this J.O.B. and it makes it more bearable. I can honestly say that I am on my way to recovery from the burnout I was facing.

I am not suggesting that my path is the same path you should take, but I can tell you that there is a way out. If you are suffering from burnout and lack of motivation at work, it may be a symptom of something happening elsewhere in your life, or it may be a result of the wrong job fit. Figure out what it is and make a plan to change things. Don’t just sit back and be miserable! You can do something about burnout.

Find ways to take care of yourself, learn to say no, improve your physical and mental health with lifestyle changes, and find your passion. If you believe you are in the wrong job, take your destiny in your own hands and start creating a way out. Even with this economy, there are ways to turn your passion into an income that can support you in a few years. You might not be able to instantly get out of a bad work situation, but like me, perhaps you can find something that makes it more bearable until you can find a permanent way out.

Hang in there and keep the faith! With a little soul searching you can improve your life and reduce the impact of burnout.

Author's Bio: 

Beth Mollenkamp is a business executive with over 25 years experience in management of non-profits and public sector Human Resources. She is an adjunct professor and consults with non-profit businesses with a specialty of organizational effectiveness. She is also an internet marketer and proud member of
Wealth Creations Network.