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Dear Davidson,

How do I deal with burnout? Is it wise to take a sabbatical when your career is going great?

– Miss CongenialityDear Miss Congeniality,

I hear “burnout” and “career is going great” in one sentence. Burnout needs to be dealt with as soon as you notice the manifestations. Your “career is going great” is not worth the sacrifices that you have to make and the beating that your body has to take. 

Burnout is a state of physical, emotional and mental exhaustion caused by prolonged stress. It happens when you feel overwhelmed, emotionally drained, and unable to meet the constant demands at the workplace. As this stress continues, you will begin to lose the interest and motivation that led you to take on a certain role in the first place. 

Burnout also reduces your productivity by draining your energy, leaving you feeling helpless and hopeless, and often times resentful. You may eventually feel like you have nothing more to offer. This negative effects of burnout will eventually spill over into every area of your life – your home, work, and social life and cause you long-term damage and illness to your body. 

To deal with burnout, try some of the following:

(1) Changing your attitude towards your job:

Focus on aspects of the job that you do enjoy as this can help you regain a sense of purpose and control

(2) Find balance in your life:

If you dislike your job or your boss, look for meaning and satisfaction elsewhere in your life: in your family, friends, hobbies, or voluntary work. Focus on the parts of your life that bring you joy.

(3) Make friends at work:

Having friends to chat and joke with at work can help relieve stress from an unfulfilling or demanding job.

(4) Take time off:

If burnout seems inevitable, try to take a complete break from work. Go on vacation, ask for a temporary leave-of-absence, anything from a weekend to two weeks, depending on the severity, just to remove yourself from the situation. Use this  time to recharge your batteries. 

Hence I believe it is a wise choice to take a sabbatical so that you are prepared to face the demands of today’s workplace.

Remember that burnout is a form of exhaustion and it’s your body’s way of telling you to relax. Take a break, a short vacation. Do something that you like. Your body also craves the sleep that it deserves. The more burned out you feel, the more sleep you’re probably going to require.

Make it a habit to do some exercise in order for your body to feel better. I hope you feel better!

– DavidsonDavidson’s book now available in Brunei

(Photo: Lance Thoo/Neue)

What do you think of this week’s #AskDavidson column?

Davidson Abishegam, the author of “8 Vital Skills to Succeed at the Workplace – The Raw Truth to Stay Ahead of the Pack”, is here to help.

Do you need some career advice?

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Feel free to send your questions over to Davidson by clicking here.

If you’re interested in getting a copy of “8 Vital Skills to Succeed at the Workplace”, you can do so do at the Souvenir Shop of Radisson Hotel in Brunei and Nolly Bookstore at the Departure Hall of Brunei International Airport. The book retails for $20.

Davidson is a certified professional trainer, business coach and management consultant.

Driven by passion, he is an engaging and versatile presenter with over 20 years of experience in the training industry. Over the course of his career, he has trained over 1,000 companies comprising start-ups, SMEs, MNCs, government agencies and others all over Southeast Asia.