Medical Transcription Work and Burnout

Work-at-home medical transcriptionists are especially at risk for burnout. Virtually everyone goes through patches of job stress and comes out fine on the other side, but when the rough patch seems to never end, you may have run head-on into burnout.

When your desk is just a few steps away and you’re paid based on production, that desk can pull at you like a magnet. Before you know it, you can end up living to work instead of working to live.

Add in a liberal dollop of isolation and an employer who keeps demanding more and more from you, and you easily can end up constantly stressed out and overwhelmed.

As with most unpleasant conditions, it’s best to avoid it in the first place, but even if burnout is already starting to wrap its tentacles around you, it’s not too late to deploy a counteroffensive. The following strategies can help keep burnout away or send it packing:

  • Set limits and stick to them. Work will expand to fill all available time if you let it. Determine how much you’re willing (and realistically able) to work, and set specific work hours accordingly. You can go back to being more flexible later if you want to.

    Don’t be afraid to say no to unreasonable work demands. A request to work extra now and then is reasonable; demanding it constantly is not. If you quit today, your employer would find a way to get the work done without you, so don’t even entertain feelings of guilt about not agreeing to every request for more of your time.

  • Remember that you always have choices. You’re not locked into your current employer, your current work schedule, or even working as a medical transcriptionist. There are always alternatives, even if they aren’t immediately appealing. You can change employers, change hours, even change to a new career if it really comes down to it.

    Just recognizing that you do have options can loosen the grip of stress considerably. It also can help you take a fresh look at your current situation and realize that although you’ve encountered a rough spot, with perhaps a few adjustments, a return to smooth sailing awaits on the other side. Choose to live sustainably.

Also, if the only time you get up from your desk is for a trip to the restroom or to walk back and forth to the kitchen for a snack, you’re at high risk for stuffed pretzel syndrome. The primary symptoms are muscle aches and weight gain.

After hours sitting at your desk, your muscles will feel stiff, tired, and tied in knots like a pretzel when you finally stand up. You’re also likely to be less active overall, because all that immobility leads to aches and pains and, as counterintuitive as it sounds, fatigue.

The stuffed part of the syndrome, of course, results from the combination of inactivity and too many trips to the kitchen.

Avoiding stuffed pretzel syndrome is easy: Get up regularly to stretch or move around a bit (to somewhere other than the kitchen), and keep a variety of low-calorie, healthy snacks and beverages in the kitchen that you can grab when you do end up there.

Sitting down used to be what people did to take a break from hard work, but now we know it’s important to take a break from the hard work of sitting!

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