Job Burnout Might Make You Vulnerable to Relapse

Posted by | Relapse Prevention | January 21, 2015

One of the most critical parts of recovery is learning your red flags, that is, learning the triggers that can make you vulnerable to relapse and cravings. Certainly, feeling burnout on the job can be one of these red flags. If you’re a recovering addict, you might already know that burnout can not only lead to emotional exhaustion, low physical energy, and a weakened immune system, it can also lead to relapse.

Burnout is a state of emotional, mental, and physical exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. Over time, as you continued to feel stress, you might begin to feel overwhelmed and lose the ability to meet the demands of your job. And as this continues, you might lose interest or motivation to continue the role you play at work. You might notice that you’re feeling burnt out if:

-You’re exhausted all the time.
-You start to feel as though work is a waste of energy.
-Every day feels like a bad day.
-You feel like the work you do is under appreciated or rarely making a difference.
-You find yourself overwhelmed by tasks to complete for the majority of the day.

Of course, feeling burnt out at work can affect your home life. As already mentioned, it might be the catalyst for cravings and you might think to yourself that the only way to truly relax is to have a drink or to smoke marijuana. When we are tired and stressed, we lose the ability to make sound decisions. To keep yourself sober and sane, here are some burnout prevention tips:

Start the day with a relaxing ritual. You might get up slowly and begin your day with an activity that nourishes your mind and body. For instance, reading an inspirational passage, gently stretching, or meditating can be a relaxing way to start the day.

Take good care of your body. During times of stress or if you know that you’re going to be stressed with an upcoming project, tend to your physical needs well. For instance, make sure you get 8 hours of sleep, eat healthy, and get regular periods of exercise. With plenty of rest and a well cared for body, you are more resilient to face the demands and challenges at work.

Set boundaries. If you know that adding an extra task is going to be the straw that breaks your back, say no to it. Or find a way to communicate that the level of work stress is getting high and your performance might go down if you add something else to your already full plate.

Take a break from technology. It’s typical to get lost in our smart phones and have our attention shift from one piece of technology to another. A recent study found that lack of sleep and excessive use of technology led to related mental health concerns. Furthermore, much of the media, including television and movies include a large amount of violence, which can aggravate feelings of depression, fear, anxiety, and hyperactivity. This is especially true if television or a movie is seen right before bed time.

Nourish your creativity. When we are creative we can tap into a great resource of energy. Creativity can be a powerful antidote to feeling tired, stressed, and anxious about work life.

Take time off. Perhaps this is the obvious choice for anyone who is working too hard and too long. Going on a vacation or even staying home can be nurturing and nourishing enough to return to work with a stronger sense of commitment and dedication.

Remember that feeling burnt out is an experience that can gradually develop. You might not notice your fatigue until it’s too late. If you notice that you’re frequently feeling tired or drained, often having headaches or pains in the body, or that you have a lowered immune system and feeling sick regularly, you might be burnt out. Use the suggestions above to keep yourself from relapsing and to restore your psychological and physical well being.

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