Burnout Prevention and Recovery
- STOP DENYING. Listen to the wisdom of your body. Begin to freely
admit the stresses and pressures which have manifested physically,
mentally, or emotionally.
- MIT VIEW: Work until the physical pain forces you into
- AVOID ISOLATION. Don't do everything alone! Develop or renew
intimacies with friends and loved ones. Closeness not only brings new
insights, but also is anathema to agitation and depression.
- MIT VIEW: Shut your office door and lock it from the inside so
no one will distract you. They're just trying to hurt your
- CHANGE YOUR CIRCUMSTANCES. If your job, your relationship, a
situation, or a person is dragging you under, try to alter your
circumstance, or if necessary, leave.
- MIT VIEW: If you feel something is dragging you down, suppress
these thoughts. This is a weakness. Drink more coffee.
- DIMINISH INTENSITY IN YOUR LIFE. Pinpoint those areas or aspects
which summon up the most concentrated intensity and work toward
alleviating that pressure.
- MIT VIEW: Increase intensity. Maximum intensity = maximum
productivity. If you find yourself relaxed and with your
mind wandering, you are probably having a detrimental effect
on the recovery rate.
- STOP OVERNURTURING. If you routinely take on other people's
problems and responsibilities, learn to gracefully disengage. Try to
get some nurturing for yourself.
- MIT VIEW: Always attempt to do everything. You ARE
responsible for it all. Perhaps you haven't thoroughly
read your job description.
- LEARN TO SAY "NO". You'll help diminish intensity by speaking up
for yourself. This means refusing additional requests or demands on
your time or emotions.
- MIT VIEW: Never say no to anything. It shows weakness, and
lowers the research volume. Never put off until tomorrow
what you can do at midnight.
- BEGIN TO BACK OFF AND DETACH. Learn to delegate, not only at work,
but also at home and with friends. In this case, detachment means
rescuing yourself for yourself.
- MIT VIEW: Delegating is a sign of weakness. If you want it
done right, do it yourself (see #5).
- REASSESS YOUR VALUES. Try to sort out the meaningful values from
the temporary and fleeting, the essential from the nonessential.
You'll conserve energy and time, and begin to feel more centered.
- MIT VIEW: Stop thinking about your own problems. This is
selfish. If your values change, we will make an
announcement at the Corporation meeting. Until then, if
someone calls you and questions your priorities, tell them
that you are unable to comment on this and give them the
number for Community and Government Relations. It will be
taken care of.
- LEARN TO PACE YOURSELF. Try to take life in moderation. You only
have so much energy available. Ascertain what is wanted and needed in
your life, then begin to balance work with love, pleasure, and
- MIT VIEW: A balanced life is a myth perpetuated by liberal
arts schools. Don't be a fool: the only thing that matters
is work and productivity.
- TAKE CARE OF YOUR BODY. Don't skip meals, abuse yourself with
rigid diets, disregard your need for sleep, or break the doctor
appointments. Take care of yourself nutritionally.
- MIT VIEW: Your body serves your mind, your mind serves the
Institute. Push the mind and the body will follow. Drink
- DIMINISH WORRY AND ANXIETY. Try to keep superstitious worrying to
a minimum - it changes nothing. You'll have a better grip on your
situation if you spend less time worrying and more time taking care of
your real needs.
MIT VIEW: If you're not worrying about work, you must not be
very committed to it. We'll find someone who is.
- KEEP YOUR SENSE OF HUMOR. Begin to bring job and happy moments
into your life. Very few people suffer burnout when they're having
- MIT VIEW: So, you think you work is funny? We'll discuss this
with your director on Friday, at 7:00 P.M.!