5 Tips for Avoiding Burnout

By Eva Marer

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Are your co-workers starting to look like cardboard? Do you feel guilty when you take time off? Do you measure your self-worth by your achievements, overload yourself with work or have trouble saying no? If so, you may be at risk for burnout.

Left unchecked, burnout can lead to poor work performance and decreased productivity, physical ills such as headaches, ulcers and alcohol abuse, and even carelessness and accidents on the job.

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Take the online Burnout Inventory Test to gauge your risk of burnout.

Consider Playfair's approach to laughter on the job.

What's fish got to do with it?

"Burnout is emotional exhaustion that develops over time, usually due to a mismatch of personal expectations and work environment," says John-Henry Pfifferling, Ph.D., director of the Center for Professional Well-Being in Durham, NC.

Like all professional risks, burnout should be addressed both by individuals and by the organization as a whole, he says. The following tips can get you started: