Whether you are an attorney, paralegal or other law office support personnel, stress goes along with most jobs in the legal field. Going in to work early, staying late, and working on the weekends…there is just not enough time in the day to get everything done. As a sustained lifestyle, eventually the demands can outweigh your resources for dealing with stress. It’s easy to be aware that you are under a lot of stress, but you don’t always notice the slow onset of burnout because it is a gradual process that occurs over a period of time.
These are 10 signs of burnout:
1.) Unshakeable exhaustion – whether it be emotional, mental, physical or all three.
2.) Negative emotions – everyone has negative feelings occasionally but when a cynical outlook begins to dominate you outlook on life then it’s time to evaluate the cause.
3.) Lack of enthusiasm – where did that “go get ‘em” attitude go? Caring about work and/or home life feels like a waste of time and energy.
4.) Inability to fully focus – inhibited capacity to solve problems, make commonplace decisions and/or an increase in forgetfulness.
5.) A decrease in job performance – try comparing your last year’s performance to current year’s performance to determine whether or not there has been a decline in effectiveness.
6.) An increase in conflicts or withdrawal – either at home, at work or both. This can manifest by either more confrontational behavior or the exact opposite: withdrawal from the people you work and live with and a distinct “tuning out” in your professional and personal relationships.
7.) Unhealthy coping strategies including drinking alcohol, self medication or overeating to compensate for feeling a loss of control over your life.
8.) Preoccupation with work even when not at work – difficulty taking a break from the work load.
9.) A general feeling of being less happy with professional or personal life.
10.) Health problems over long term such as digestive issues, obesity, depression and heart disease. Burnout can cause physical changes to your body including making you less resistant to common illnesses such as colds.
If you recognize all or some of the above signs of burnout, please take action before burnout causes any more damage. Three easy steps to take immediately are:
A. Recognize and acknowledge that you may be falling victim to burnout
B. Begin taking better care of yourself, both physically and emotionally
C. Seek support to relieve some of the burden
Virtual Office Key services are designed to be your personal support system – allow us to help you recover control of your work load so that you may have more time to enjoy your professional and personal life.