Preventing Job Burnout

Remember your excitement when you first landed the job that you loved so much? You were motivated to show up early, stay late, do whatever was necessary to meet deadlines and turn out the best products. Leap forward a few years. Suddenly you find yourself hitting the snooze button four times each morning, struggling to get to work on time, watching the clock for the final hour of every day, and striving to turn out any product- just to get it out of your outbox and through the client’s door. What happened? You are still the same person; the dream job is still the same job. 

Chances are good that you are experiencing job burnout, a condition that many people experience when job stress builds over time. Sometimes bosses’ expectations change slightly, or the workload grows a bit. Sometimes a change in another area of your life creates stress that results in sleep deprivation or feelings of overwhelm that can affect job performance and satisfaction. And when we are overwhelmed or stressed out at work, it is all too easy to try to find relief in the wrong places- like too much alcohol, medications, or other drugs. 

Fortunately, it’s easy to get back on track and find the passion that you once had for your job. Some suggestions include: 

– Recognize the contribution that you make to the company and its mission. 

– Take back control of those factors that you have a choice about, like focusing on tasks that emphasize your strengths and delegating those that don’t, choosing to remain positive each day, expressing creativity in problem-solving situations. 

– Engage in good self-care and stress relieving activities, such as regular exercise and meditation. 

– Keep regular hours and set aside time away from work and all thoughts of work to rejuvenate your spirit and get some rest. 

If these strategies fail, then it may be time for a job change or a new career. Be honest with yourself and your boss about your feelings and brainstorm with them some possible solutions. They may be aware of opportunities within the company that will further challenge you or be a better match for your strengths, a job that you can grow into for many years to come. 

Whatever strategies you use, always evaluate them for both effectiveness AND good health. While a stiff drink after work may provide a temporary fix for too much stress, it could prove to be very costly in the long run! 


For a daily dose of encouragement and meditations for stress relief, check out our book Past Tense: 365 Daily Tools for Putting Stress Behind You – For Good! 



Parents, Keeeeeep Talking. Teens Really ARE Listening!

Now that most college students across the country are settled into their new classes and new dorms, parents breathe a sigh of relief that the transition is over. But is it really over? Statistics cited at indicate that:

– over 1800 students die from alcohol-related injuries annually

– nearly 700,000 students are assaulted annually by other students who have been drinking

– an estimated 3.3 million students between the ages of 18-24 drive while under the influence of alcohol each year. 

Binge drinking is a common problem among college students. For many students away from home for the first time, the freedom and the pressure of being on one’s own is enough to test their judgement and decision-making skills. Binge drinking is defined as 5 drinks for males, or 4 drinks for females, in a very short amount of time. Binge drinking often leads to alcohol poisoning and can require a visit to the ER. Common symptoms of alcohol poisoning include:

– mental confusion

– stupor

– coma

– vomiting

– slow or irregular breathing

– low body temperature

– pale or bluish skin

Most colleges and universities have formal policies in place for underage drinking and substance abuse prevention. Many also have on-campus resources to help students maintain a healthy, drug=free lifestyle. But parents can do a lot to protect their teens from the pressure and excitement that can lead to underage drinking. Here are some suggestions:

– during campus visits, ask about the college’s or university’s drug-use and underage drinking policies. Discuss your findings with your teens.

– agree on a weekly check-in with your teen, whether by phone, Skype, or email, and stick to the schedule! Right before a weekend, or immediately following a weekend, are prime times.

– talk early and often with teens about the potential consequences of underage drinking and binge drinking

Parents who are concerned that their teens may be engaging in underage drinking and under the influence of alcohol can administer a test for alcohol abuse anyplace and anytime using an inexpensive, simple, at-home drug testing kit. Follow the directions carefully to get the most accurate results. For more information on alcohol testing options available through ASC, check out our webpage.

PTSD and Alcoholism

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, more commonly known as PTSD, has often been misdiagnosed or left undiagnosed for many years in many patients. When people hear about PTSD, they often associate it with returning war veterans because this is one of the main causes of PTSD. However, there are 2 other commonly recognized causes for PTSD:
– severe childhood abuse

– incarceration

While these are the most common causes of PTSD, therapists agree that any severe trauma can induce traumatic stress symptoms, including: sudden loss of a loved one, domestic abuse, personal violence such as rape or mugging, natural disasters such as devastating hurricanes, earthquakes, and wildfires. If left untreated, one of the most common consequences of PTSD is alcohol abuse, as it is an inexpensive and readily-available means to relieve stress and deaden traumatic feelings.

Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania found in a recent study to determine the best recovery results, alcoholic patients should also be tested and treated for PTSD. Participants in the study were divided into 4 groups:

– participants received PTSD medication and PTSD-specific behavioral/cognitive therapy

– participants received PTST medication and general therapy

– participants received a placebo and PTSD-specific behavioral/cognitive therapy

– participants received a placebo and general therapy.

Patients who received both PTSD medication and PTSD-specific therapy had only a 5.4% alcohol relapse rate, while those who received the placebo and general therapy had a 13.3% alcohol relapse rate. All groups had fewer alcohol cravings and fewer drinking days, but only the group receiving specialized medication and treatment maintained the highest recovery rate.

The bottom line is that getting help for alcohol abuse is always beneficial. But if there are any other problems that can be identified and treated simultaneously, the chance for recovery is even better!

Can Future Behaviors Be Predicted in Preschool?

Most preschool teachers would answer the question above with a resounding, “YES!” Most claim that they can tell when children are 3 or 4 years old which ones will be strong students, which ones will spend the most time in the principal’s office, which ones will have many friends, and which ones will be loners. But in most cases, these beliefs are based on observations only.

Finally, a longitudinal study has been completed which shows, in measurable terms, that temperament and sociability in preschool can predict alcohol use and abuse later in life. The study included 12,000 boys and girls born between 1991-1992 and analyzed their personalities and behaviors six different times over a five year period. Then when the children turned 15, researchers assessed alcohol usage and abuse.

Researchers drew two distinct conclusions from their findings:

1. Identified childhood temperamental styles that emerge prior to age five can indicate future alcohol use and abuse during mid-adolescence.

2. Kids who show consistent emotional and behavioral problems early on AND kids who are consistently sociable at a very early age  are BOTh at elevated risk for adolescent alcohol use and abuse.

Although there were no statistically significant differences between genders, the association between sociability and alcohol problems is attributed to different motivating factors for each gender. Boys were more likely to use alcohol in response to peer pressure, while girls were more likely to use alcohol due to emotionally charged situations and circumstances.

Finally, this recently completed study proves that behaviors at the age of five explain (NOT predict!) later alcohol abuse issues. Also, the study has established potential warning signs for alcohol abuse during the teen years which parents and teachers can identify early and use to intervene and prevent the abuse more easily and effectively.

Source publication: Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 2013