Preventing Burnout in Stressful Times
Preventing Burnout During Stressful Times
The normal challenges of weather and markets in agriculture provide enough stress for the average producer to re-think their career choice on an annual—or maybe even a weekly—basis. This self-assessment rarely lasts past the next day, when the combine is fixed, the markets are up and the sun comes out. Unfortunately, this year has been the most challenging one that many producers can remember and stress levels have remained high throughout the fall.
Too many times we can get focused on our own challenges and forget that our employees and family members are going through these tough times with us. They have put in extra hours, worked in the mud and the cold, stood in the door of the machinery shed as the rain kept falling, and went for days without sunshine. Their families were wondering when the “rush” would be over so they could get back to a regular schedule. They also feed off of our attitude, so keeping ourselves “up” during tough times is critical.
I am seeing some signs of “Burnout” in these stressed-out producers, their families and their employees. These signs include but are not limited to:
- Significant change in mood.
- Being withdrawn when normally social.
- Overly critical of small mistakes.
- Tardiness and increased absenteeism.
- Poor performance from the best people.
- Short tempers from normally patient people.
- Disrespectful of authority when normally respectful.
The key to recognizing burnout before it occurs is in the change in a person’s normal behavior. Heading off the final stage of burnout—when a person “gives up” and is no longer functional in their current job—can be accomplished through some basic changes in attitude and behavior. Some of these include:
- Say “thanks” often during the day.
- Do something nice for someone. Offer your assistance.
- Keep from making negative comments.
- Avoid situations that cause frustration when at all possible.
- Take time to relax during the day, even if only for a few minutes to clear your thinking and reprioritize your day.
- Take advantage of opportunities to get away from the business, even if only for a couple of hours.
- Have plans for the evening that include something you enjoy.
- Find something to look forward to each day.
These may sound like a tall order on some of those rough days when nothing seems to be going right, but even the simplest change in attitude can have a dramatic effect on our mental state. Put a few of these into practice, and help your family members and employees understand these tactics and the benefits of doing them for their own well-being.
Tyler & Associates