Everyone has a bad workday every now and then—it’s normal. Part of being an adult is understanding that nothing is perfect all of the time. When every day becomes a bad workday, you may be facing burnout.

We live in a society where we’re bombarded with messages about “having it all.” From Martha Stewart ironing her sheets on television to beautiful Pinterest pins featuring young people at exotic locales, we’re surrounded by FOMO (fear of missing out), so we push ourselves at work to afford all of the things commercials and social media say we need to have a full life. Even the most forward-thinking Millennials want to have it all, and with that desire often comes burnout.

Here are a few things you can do to prevent burnout:

1. Learn to Say “No.”

The absolute most important thing you must do to prevent burnout is to learn the art of saying “no” in a way that still leaves people loving you. It’s not as hard as it sounds—you simply have to think from the other person’s perspective.

For example, say your boss asks you if you can get a major report done by the end of the day. You already have five client meetings lined up, and you have a ton of prep work to get done before those meetings. To do the report would mean working an extra 4-6 hours, which isn’t fair to you or anyone else. You’ll be exhausted tomorrow, and that means your work will suffer.

Instead of killing yourself to do the report, tell your boss the truth first. Say something like, “I would love to, but I have to meet with some of our biggest clients today and I’m afraid the meetings will take my entire day.” You’ve acknowledged that the report is a priority, but that you are already tackling other priorities. What you say next makes all the difference.

Now, you should tell your boss what you can do. Think of a suggestion for how your boss can still get what he needs. Try something like, “If I outline the report this morning before my meetings, do you think that maybe Sally can finish the report for you?” This gives your boss part of what he wants, and gives a suggestion of how to finish the project. You look great, and you prevent burnout from overworking, too.

2. Manage Your Stress

Managing stress is easier said than done for most of us. You have to find time for self-care and relaxation or you will inevitably burn out. While there are many ways you can manage stress, here is a list to get you started:

  • Take short breaks throughout the workday
  • Practice mindfulness
  • Take a real lunch break (not just a microwave desk meal while working)
  • Have an exercise routine
  • Meditate

Having an exercise routine is especially important if you sit in a chair typing all day. If you don’t pay attention to your body’s signals, you may find yourself having to hire a personal injury attorney to recover lost wages from on-the-job accidents often caused by burnout. It’s not a good scenario, so if you’ve been putting off signing up for a yoga class, now’s the time to commit.

3. Have a Life Outside of Work

Work is a big part of your life, but it can’t be your entire life. You have to find balance between climbing the corporate ladder and spending time with family and friends. We see a great many people focus so hard on getting a big promotion or finishing a gigantic project that they have no personal life at all, which leads to burnout quickly.

You need interests beyond your work. If you’re struggling to find a hobby, try scrolling through the “things to do” section of Groupon. We’ve taken painting classes, pottery courses, museum specialty tours, fishing trips—you name it. It’s our go-to place when we’re out of ideas for things to do.

4. Find Meaning in Your Work

If your work seems meaningless to you, it’s time to find a new job. Lately, we’ve worked with a lot of clients who are stuck in a rut, hating their jobs, facing burnout, yet they make every excuse to stay where they are. Change is hard, but it’s part of life. Sometimes maturity means recognizing that what you are doing isn’t working for you. If you’re stuck, find the courage to make a move—any move—to do something different than what you are currently doing.

Finding meaningful work may mean trying a variety of jobs, and there’s nothing wrong with that. The world is an abundant place, full of jobs in all industries for people of all talents. If you feel like your work is meaningless, tidy up your resume and start applying for other opportunities. There’s an indeed and a Zip Recruiter full of jobs, just waiting for you.

5. Recognize the Signs of Burnout

One of the best things you can do to prevent burnout is to know the signs that you may be burning out so that you can start making changes to prevent it. Here are a few things to look for in determining if you are burning out:

  • You feel “stuck” in our job
  • You feel overwhelmed almost every day
  • You are too tired to do anything after work but eat and sleep
  • Your attitude stinks
  • You neglect yourself or your home (See that pile of dishes you haven’t washed in a week?)

If you think you are burning out, at the very least, take a couple sick or personal days to reflect on your overall mental and physical health. Evaluate if it’s time for a change, and if it is, be brave enough to make it.

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You can’t work when you’re hungry. Your brain needs fuel to keep up with your workload. If you’re snacking on donuts and potato chips in the afternoon, your productivity is probably slipping by around 1 PM.

There are better snack foods that can boost your productivity and help you reach your workday goals. Instead of grabbing junk food at the office vending machine, stock your desk and lunch bag with these brain-boosting snacks:

1. Chocolate for Enhanced Productivity

Chocolate can boost your productivity

Is there any happier food in the world than chocolate? It’s rich, luxurious, and meant to be savored. Its mood-boosting properties are celebrated around the world, and happy people are often more productive.

The Huffington Post reports that “women who ate more than 45 grams of chocolate a week had a 20 percent lower risk of stroke than women who treated themselves to fewer than 9 grams,” so eat it up. It’s also reported to lower blood pressure, “bad” cholesterol, and your risk of heart disease.

Stay away from the Snickers in the vending machine. Instead, opt for good-quality dark chocolate. If dark chocolate isn’t your thing, you should try the flavorful varieties from Vosages Haut-Chocolat. My favorite is the hard-to-find Naga flavor, but the Black Salt Caramel bars and the Pink Himalayan Salt caramel bars are fantastic.

2. Pistachios

Eat pistachios to boost productivity

A cup of pistachios packs 25 grams of protein. Nuts.com reports that cashews have a healthy ratio of beneficial fatty acids, and contains vitamin B6, which is essential for cognitive function (you know, the cornerstone of productivity).

Buying a few pistachios at the gas station is quite pricey at around $3 for an 6-ounce bag, but you can buy a big bag at Sam’s Club for around $15 and have enough pistachios for a month or more. Most diet gurus recommend buying pistachios in their shells, but who has time for that?

3. Cashews

Eat cashews to boost productivity

If pistachios aren’t your thing, then try cashews. As a softer nut, cashews have a lighter flavor than other varieties. A shot glass full of cashews will net you at least 5 grams of protein as well as 20% of your daily-recommended value of magnesium.

Cashews are often priced lower than pistachios. A big, 18 ounce container costs about $10 at Wal-Mart, and they stay good for a couple of months in a sealed container.

4. Sunflower Seeds

Eat sunflower seeds to boost productivity

A quarter cup of sunflower seeds contains 82% of your daily recommended value of Vitamin E, so eating these will not only boost your productivity, but it will help reduce inflammation.

Sunflower seeds are rich in vitamin B1, magnesium, vitamin B6, and folate. Nutritionists like Dr. Axe consider sunflower seeds a top 10 food for their nutritional value.

I buy sunflower seeds at Trader Joe’s for around $4 a bag, and I mix them into chicken salads, use them in place of croutons on dinner salads, and feed them to the kids by the handful.

5. Boiled Eggs

Eat boiled eggs to boost productivity

Eggs are an awesome snack food. They’re inexpensive, portable, contain 6 grams of protein each, and are packed with essential nutrients like iron, phosphorus, vitamin A, and a range of B vitamins. Recent studies show that eating eggs can help you lose weight—not that you need to lose weight, but it’s nice to know.

Boiled eggs are a big part of my “eating for productivity” plan. I buy two 18-packs of eggs every week and immediately boil one of them and set it in the fridge. When I’m running late and don’t have time for breakfast, I have eggs waiting for me. When I need an afternoon snack and the potato chips are calling my name, I peel an egg instead.

6. Avocados

Eat avocados to boost productivity

Avocados are getting a bad rep lately. Most of the year, they are quite expensive, and millennials reportedly pay $19 to eat them on toast, but nutritionally, they’re a super food filled with beneficial fats, vitamins, and minerals.

Avocados can help you get over your afternoon slump. They’re rich in folate, which helps prevent “build-up of homocysteine, a substance that can impair circulation and delivery of nutrients to the brain” (medlicalnewstoday.com).

The best way to eat an avocado as a snack is with whole grain chips or crackers. Guacamole, with antioxidant-rich tomatoes and onions, increases their benefit. Use a generous amount of lime juice on your guacamole, and keep it in the fridge at work for up to four days!

7. Blueberries

Eat blueberries to boost productivity

Blueberries are a major memory-boosting fruit. Eat This, Not That reports that “the flavonoids in blueberries have been shown to improve spatial memory in rats. Their antioxidants help lessen inflammation.”

If blueberries aren’t in season near you, you can buy them freeze dried at Trader Joes or other health food stores. You can also find blueberry raisins, though they tend to be higher in sugar content than their freeze-dried counterparts.

8. Granola

Eat granola to boost productivity

Whole grains top the list of brain foods for most nutritionists, but making whole grains portable without adding a bunch of junk to them is tough. My daughter and I both eat gluten free due to celiac disease, which means we have to be very careful with whole grains. Luckily, we’ve been able to find gluten-free granola mixes at places like Earth-Fare and Whole Foods.

Look for a good mix that has low sugar content. We like the French vanilla almond granola you can buy in bulk at Whole Foods.

9. Almond Butter

Eat almond butter to boost productivity

High-protein nut butters make excellent snacks, especially when paired with fruit. One tablespoon of almond butter contains 3.4 grams of protein, 11% of your daily value of magnesium, and 3% of your daily value of iron.

Try eating almond butter as a dip for your favorite apple. It’s also good with pears.

10. Pumpkin Seeds

Eat pumpkin seeds to boost productivity

Even if you can’t order a pumpkin spice latte, you can still give your brain a boost with roasted pumpkin seeds. Dr. Mercola explains that pumpkin seeds are full of “magnesium and manganese to copper, protein and zinc, pumpkin seeds are nutritional powerhouses wrapped up in a very small package. They also contain plant compounds known as phytosterols and free-radical scavenging antioxidants, which can give your health an added boost.”

You can find pumpkin seeds in grocery stores and some convenience stores. I like to eat them in homemade trail mixes with sunflower seeds and dried cranberries.

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