Work pressure: Ten quick tips to avoid a burnout

  • Soumya Vajpayee Tiwari, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Jun 30, 2015 12:11 IST

The news of the sudden demise of TV actor Sanjeet Bedi startled not only his family and friends, but also audiences, in general. He reportedly became susceptible to a brain virus, due to work stress and subsequently, low immunity.

In our fast-paced lives, many of us don't tend to realise how seriously stress can affect our wellness. As a result, we often overlook the importance of keeping it under check.

"Stress is not an overnight phenomenon; it builds over time. If you are observant, you can notice the signs that lead to a burnout. You should not ignore deep feelings of dissatisfaction, and a creeping sense of hopelessness. It could turn into physical and mental ailments," says Dr Ajit Menon, interventional cardiologist, Wockhardt Hospital, Mumbai Central.

In order to stay calm and stress-free, there are a few tips that can help:

1) Be realistic:You should realise that work is only part of your life. The company will survive even without you, but you need to be able to survive in the absence of the company. So, you need to know how to strike a balance between work and home.

2) Do what you like: In many cases, people work over long periods in jobs, which are misaligned with their skills, interests or values. Introspect on what gives you more satisfaction and joy, and pursue that vocation.

3) Work in moderation:Working for long hours, six days a week, can make you feel spent. Take a break, travel, do yoga, and perform breathing exercises to change the way you feel. Make sure that you make time every day for an activity you love.

4) Limit stuff on your plate:Many professionals over-commit, either because they are too ambitious or because they cannot say no to their supervisors. Be realistic about your professional growth, and develop the courage to say no. Learn to negotiate timelines and delegate work.

5) Develop better thinking skills:Being driven by perfection and pessimism can push you to the brink. Strive for excellence, not perfection. Stay optimistic, and be resilient. You will be able to manage your work more efficiently and smoothly if you do that.

6) Bring exercise to the workplace:Include physical activity in your working schedule. Take the stairs if possible, exercise or go for a walk during your lunch breaks, and encourage others to do so too.

7) Breathe: Relaxation does not only mean going on a vacation. The best way to relax is to focus on your breathing. At work, try to close your eyes, and breathe deeply every four to five hours for two minutes. This will help you stay calm.

8) Physical exercise:To de-stress your eyes, close them and pinch your eyebrows, starting from the centre of the forehead moving towards the end of the eyebrows. You can also massage your forehead. Long working hours also impose stress on your shoulder muscles. Every two-three hours, take a deep breath, shrug your shoulders up to your ear and drop them down. Also, do some neck exercises by looking up and down, and sideways every two hours.

9) Me time:You need to ensure that you have enough me time. Take days off from work, and go on a short vacation with your family or friends. And while you are away, keep interruptions such as phones or laptops at bay.

10) Limit alcohol and smoking:Do not indulge in excessive drinking or smoking. While they are considered recreational, they can also result in chronic physical and psychological ailments.

- With inputs from Dr Ajit Menon; Dr Kersi Chavda, consultant in psychiatric medicine, Hinduja Healthcare Surgical, Khar (W); Dr Gladys Swamy, physiotherapist and director and co-founder, Minerva Physiotherapy Clinic, Kurla (W).

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