It may be the off season and the start of the New Year, but many of us are running on empty after the holidays and wrapping up 2016. A question to ask ourselves now — to make sure we’re ready when the busy season hits again — is whether we are stressed or burned out? They’re not the same and your response can make a big difference, say two experts in a recent Harvard Business Review article.

“Stress and burnout are not the same thing. And while we know that stress often leads to burnout, it’s possible to handle the onslaught of long hours, high pressure, and work crises in a way that safeguards you from the emotional exhaustion, cynicism, and a lack of confidence in one’s abilities that characterizes burnout. The key is tapping into your emotional intelligence,” according to the article.

The experts advise taking these steps to build up your emotional intelligence, manage stress and avoid burnout.

1. Don’t be the source of your stress.

Too many of us create our own stress by just anticipating future encounters. Guard against being consumed with worst-case scenarios.

2. Recognize your limitations.

Take an honest look at your strengths and weaknesses and seek help when you need it. Build a team of trusted advisors, whether they are part of your dealership team or outside of it.

3. Take deep breaths.

It’s a simple, but effective technique. Deep breaths help reduce your heart rate and bring down tension. A calmer approach can help you better deal with the situation.

4. Reevaluate your perspective.

Consider the crisis situation as a problem to be solved, similar to problems you solve daily, as opposed to a threat to your business. This new perspective can bring forth new ways to deal with the stressful situation.

5. De-escalate the crisis by putting yourself in another person’s position.

If the stress is coming from an angry customer or employee, consider how you would feel if you were the one experiencing the problems. This is a basic customer service technique, but one that is often forgotten.

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