Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has seemingly limitless energy and a demanding workload as a congressman – and even she faces burnout.
Earlier this month, the 32-year-old MP took to Instagram to describe her experiences with burnout “in really big episodes and smaller episodes too.” Out of necessity, Ocasio-Cortez wrote in an October 16 Instagram story, she developed personal strategies to help herself cope.
Burnout results from chronic stress at work that is not managed successfully, according to the World Health Organization. It is characterized by three symptoms:
- feeling of exhaustion or energy exhaustion
- negativity or cynicism related to your job
- a lack of professional efficiency
Ocasio-Cortez wrote that she likes to think of burnout as a mug that represents “all of your self and your humanity.” There are certain activities in life that empty your cup, like nursing or work, and others that fill it, like spending time with friends or cooking a good meal.
In a perfect world, you can find a healthy balance between pouring and filling your cup, and your workplace is structured in an anti-burnout way.
“But when you’re so forced to do a mentally, physically, spiritually, or emotionally demanding job that you lack the time or energy to do the things that fill your cup, your cup dries up – that’s burnout, âOcasio-Cortez wrote.
His analysis is a burnout management coach based in Chicag. Emily ballesteros told CNBC Make It. And, says Ballesteros, Ocasio-Cortez’s four tips for curing burnout are also worth recommending:
Start by prioritizing activities that will replenish depleted areas of your life. âFilling your cup is your job now,â Ocasio-Cortez wrote.
For example, if you are physically exhausted, catch up on sleep and get some rest. Or if you’re emotionally drained, Ocasio-Cortez recommends making a list of âthings you selfishly want to do just for yourself,â she wrote. Go for a hike, write in a journal, take a yoga class, get your nails done, or visit a museum.
Once you’ve figured out what you want to do, put it on your calendar and undo any conflicts, Ocasio-Cortez wrote. If you don’t get ahead of your drain cup, exhaustion will be more difficult to manage down the line.
Ballesteros recommends a similar exercise: color-code how you spend the hours of your day, with red indicating running out of responsibilities, and green representing activities that fill you up.
âThe balance will be different depending on the seasons of life,â Ballesteros told CNBC Make It. “But if your schedule is all red, then take that as a literal red flag to you that things need to change.”
Often people agree to take on more work or responsibilities out of guilt or obligation. âYour standards for saying YES to things must now be much higher,â Ocasio-Cortez wrote. “You have to delegate, cancel and ask for help.”
Setting limits means that sometimes you can upset someone. If you are concerned that setting limits will jeopardize your job, consider expressing your feelings to your manager or employer.
“Sometimes it’s a big part of a communication problem, and as a person who manages people, I ALSO find people don’t talk enough at work when they should,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote. .
Ballesteros agrees: people often suffer in silence when they are going through burnout, because they don’t want to appear incapable. âLimits aren’t about capacity, they’re about capacity,â she says.
The consequence of quietly overworking yourself? Burnout can lead to physical effects such as insomnia, alcohol or substance abuse, high blood pressure and vulnerability to disease, depending on the patient. Mayo Clinic.
âYour health is more important,â Ocasio-Cortez wrote. “Anyone who conditions their relationship or presence solely on what you do for them is not a healthy factor.”
Audit your time
The way you manage your time can affect your propensity for burnout. Don’t overlook “microscopic decisions that make you happy or slow down,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote, like turning a meeting into an email or asking a friend or family member to take care of your kids. for an afternoon.
Ballesteros says it’s okay to make a habit of doing things the way you’ve always done them. “However, if you recognize that something is not working anymore, don’t be afraid to minimize, automate, outsource, pause, delegate or eliminate items that take more than they give. “, she says.
Watch how you spend your time, ask yourself when things could be done differently, and again, exercise your limits.
âIt may seem ruthless or selfish at first, but consider the alternative as the potential development of chronic illness, panic attack, etc. Not good,â Ocasio-Cortez wrote.
It is always important to have something to look forward to. Otherwise, Ocasio-Cortez wrote, it “creates real desperation.”
In the short term, that could mean putting hours of non-disturbing every night on your calendar, or making plans with a friend who fills your proverbial mug. In the long run, try something like planning a vacation in advance: having an âend dateâ in sight can make your workload less overwhelming.
âI found that when I took time off once a quarter – like I stuck it on my calendar and planned it out – life started to feel a lot more manageable,â Ocasio-Cortez wrote.
Ballesteros agrees, noting that creating predictable rest is essential. Consider, she says, attending a training class or sport. When your trainer or coach doesn’t tell you when the next rest is coming, your brain starts to wonder how much energy to exert.
âThat same tension is present when you exercise in your personal and professional life with no rest in sight,â she says.