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Posted: June 18, 2013

Seven tips to move beyond burnout

Recognize, respond and regenerate

Theresa M. Szczurek

Have you ever experienced burnout? If so, you’re not alone. This malady is getting so common that even The Wall Street Journal is writing about it.

What is Burnout?

According to Helpguide, "Burnout is a state of emotional, mental, and physical exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. It occurs when you feel overwhelmed and unable to meet constant demands. As the stress continues, you begin to lose the interest or motivation that led you to take on a certain role in the first place. When you’re burned out, problems seem insurmountable, everything looks bleak, and it's difficult to muster up the energy to care — let alone do something about your situation."

What to do about Burnout?

RECOGNIZE IT. Watch for the warning signs in you and the people around you. Be willing to call it by name, rather than mask the indicators. Your inner, wiser self is bringing you a message. What is it saying?

RESPOND. As hard as it may be, take some kind of action with the Practical Pointers below. The worst thing you can do is to ignore it.

REGENERATE. Passionate pursuers — people who find their passion and align with a purpose — have the SUNFLOWER traits. The "R" characteristic stands for regenerate. These people have the ability to revive, renew, and produce again despite adversity, setbacks, and obstacles. With the ability to bounce back, recover readily, and rise from the ashes, they possess the Phoenix Factor (Pursuit of Passionate Purpose, Chapter 6).

Seven Practical Pointers for Reigniting Your Fire

SAY NO IN ORDER TO SAY YES. Stop. Put up boundaries. Reduce your workload.

NURTURE YOURSELF. Take a break. Do nothing. Hang out. Pray. Meditate. Pamper. Be kind to yourself. Get out in nature. Exercise. Breathe. Do affirmations. Journal.

SMILE AND LAUGH. When you are ready, see if you can find something humorous or silly in your circumstances. Don't force it, be genuine. See a funny movie. Read a light book. Let life be a dance. Play.

SEEK SUPPORT. Talk to people. Ask for help. Learn from others. Don't feel you have to cope alone.

RECONNECT WITH YOUR VALUES AND GIFTS. What brings meaning to your life? How are you really contributing with your current workload and projects? Re-evaluate your goals and priorities — what is important, what is not? This sense of purpose may eventually help you realign with your passion.

CHANGE. Be willing to evolve, flow, learn, and grow. You may need to move on. Consider the past changes you have made and the positive things that resulted. We attract what is needed for the growth of our soul. See this experience as part of your life journey.

BOUNCE BACK. Slowly you will revive and regenerate. Be aware. Celebrate the small revivals of interest and energy. Let it build in its own time.

Theresa's Case Study. Yep, I've been burned out before, and I'm burned out now. I have survived and eventually thrived. So will you. Recognize, respond and regenerate.

Theresa M. Szczurek, Ph.D., co-founder and CEO of Radish Systems, is a serial technology entrepreneur. The story of her last start-up, which sold for more than $40 million in less than six years, is included, along with her strategies for success, in the Amazon-bestseller Pursuit of Passionate Purpose: Success Strategies for a Rewarding Personal and Business Life. www.RadishSystems.com, www.radishsprouts.typepad.com and @TheresaSzczurek on twitter.

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