It’s burnout time in business. It’s time for that last push to make 4th quarter and year-end numbers; time to generate all the year-end reports, do strategic planning for the new year and re-negotiate annual agreements. Regardless of how you finish the year, expectations for next year are almost certainly ramped up, and you’re scrambling to figure out how to do better when getting through this year is taking everything you have. You’re running as hard as you can, but you’re stuck in the mud, getting nowhere fast.

Chucking it all for a one-way ticket to a tropical island is increasingly seductive, but reality sets in, and you slog through another ten-hour workday. Burnout, if not already here, is just around the corner.

Stop. Think.

You know how flight attendants say to put on your own air mask before assisting others? The same holds true in life. You must first take care of yourself, in order to take care of others – your customers, your staff, and your family.

Tips for Surviving Business Burnout

  • Slow down. The old adage is true; life is a journey, not a race. Speed is not the same as efficiency. Pace yourself for the long haul.
  • Remember your accomplishments. Give yourself credit for your successes and achievements.
  • Remind yourself you are human; you have limited capacity. You can’t always do everything for everyone. Saying “No” is not an admission of failure.
  • Give your brain a mini-vacation. Take quick breaks throughout the day. It may only be a few minutes, but make them real breaks. Get up, stretch, breathe deeply. Think of something pleasant, and not the mountain of wok on your desk, or the million obligations you have at home.
  • Practice gratitude. Popular culture pushes us to perpetually want more. Take inventory, and appreciate the relationships, resources and treasures you already have.
  • Appreciate every day and its potential. Each day only occurs once; you will never get it back.
  • Diversify. Break the monotony. Learn a new skill. Drive to work a totally different way. Try a new flavor of latte.
  • Do something special for yourself. Sleep in on a weekend. Go to a movie. Have an ice cream sundae with three toppings for dinner. Indulge.
  • Do something special for someone else. Lend a helping hand. Say “Thank you” often, and mean it. Share a compliment. Share a smile.

Even the most powerful engine self-destructs if it is not maintained. Don’t let that happen to you. Take care of yourself and survive year-end business burnout.