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Life Lessons: A new cure for burnout

According to a recent survey, more than half of U.S. employees feel overworked or overwhelmed at least some of the time. Harvard Business Review says more than 70 percent of American workers dream of having a different job.

So what do we do? Take a step back. 

Day in and day out, she never stopped. Rachel O’Meara was succeeding, until she worked herself into a classic case of burnout. Something had to give.

“I couldn’t imagine another day doing what I was doing," O’Meara said. "I wasn’t happy. So I thought about my options and decided to ask for a three-month unpaid break."

O’Meara’s self-imposed timeout worked. After taking a long look at whether her job was meeting her goals, she transferred to another position. It also inspired her to write the book, “Pause.”

“The reality is most of us don’t have that luxury of taking an unpaid break. O’Meara said. "It can be a conversation, an engaging conversation, or a passion project you may not have allowed time for historically."

“I think pauses are about turning down the noise,” said O’Meara’s colleague, Amelia Hurlbut.

Once Hurlbut turned to O’Meara and turned down the noise, her hectic schedule slowed enough to make a pleasant discovery. 

“I’m more at peace to not do ten things at once and that’s enabled me to be a better partner, a better friend," O'Meara said. "Pausing I think enhances anyone’s personal life. We’re so busy doing and doing all the time.”

Here are a few telltale signs you may need to pause:

  • You hate the job you used to love.
  • Your boss isn’t happy with what you’re doing.
  • You’re catching yourself staring at digital devices.

Take a break.

“It’s about creating what would works for you and living a better life for yourself," O’Meara said.

Need another reason to put a pause on your digital devices? Get this: on average, people globally check their phones 150 times per day.

That translates to reading texts and emails every two to three minutes. O’Meara calls this an interruption of life, and said we should aim to detox from our screens on a regular basis.

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