Burnout is a relatively recent term, used to describe the psychical and physical symptoms of overloading with work. Some sources describe burnout as another type of stress, or even too high levels of stress (scientifically called distress).
Basically, in the new fast-pieced technology age people tend to over-work themselves to a point where their brains and bodies give up. It’s rather a process, than a sudden occurrence and could affect anyone.
Actually, high-achieving people, who are used to putting down long hours and taking big loads of work, are at highest risk. Unfortunately those people are also least likely to recognize timely the symptoms of burnout and take measures, before it’s too advanced.
This article aims to help anyone, who is at risk and thinks burnout may be around the corner.
Recognize Burnout Signs
We are going to list down the most significant signs of burnout. But what is burnout exactly?
Burnout can be described as a state of chronic stress, which could lead to the following:
- exhaustion on physical and emotional level;
- emotional and physical detachment from the rest of the people and even cynicism;
- the feeling you are not as effective as you used to be;
- the feeling you can’t accomplish as much as you would like.
If you feel exhausted on physical and emotional level, you may feel:
- chronic fatigue;
- trouble falling asleep or full-blown insomnia;
- slight forgetfulness in the initial stages;
- troubles concentrating and low-attention span;
- shortness of breath, chest pain, heart palpitations, gastrointestinal pain, headaches and dizziness;
- inability to fight diseases as efficiently (weaken immune system);
- either loss of appetite or desire to over-eat;
- anxiety, which in early stages may present as simple tension and worry, but in later stages may present even as delusions and paranoia;
- depression, even to the point of desire to end your own life in later stages;
- and finally anger – from mild irritability to violence outbursts.
If you feel unusually emotionally and physical detached from your friends, colleagues and family, and you seem to be unusually cynical about their feelings and problems you probably also feel some loss of enjoyment and lack of desire to attend work or social meetings; pessimism; isolation; it may even get so far as to leaving your job and family.
If you often get the feeling you are not as effective as you used to be and can’t accomplish as much as you would like you probably also feel apathy towards activities that have brought you joy in the past; hopelessness in the sense of not seeing the point of doing anything any longer; you may get easily irritated and jumpy; and finally your productivity would most certainly suffer and so would your work performance.
Admit you may be suffering from Burnout
In the first stages you wouldn’t feel all symptoms and may just think you are tired or that you had a bad day, but if you have even the slightest suspicion, that you may be under too much stress, you better take some measures ASAP.
The fact that you have always been giving 110 percent of yourself at work, or working over 12 hours a day, even in the weekends; that you always managed to get the job done and are great at multitasking, doesn’t mean you are always going to be that way, or that you differ from the rest of us and don’t need to rest ever. On the contrary…
And finally evaluate your situation, if you got so far reading this article, that you probably are stressed and suffer from burnout – be that you are a workaholic and your life revolves around your job or your family really needs you to keep that job, in order for you to get going and be productive you need to change some things right now!
Seek Professional help to deal with Burnout
Internet is full of articles on how to lower stress and overcome burnout. Tips include:
- monitoring your information inflow and outflow;
- avoiding activities, which rise your stress levels;
- delegating some of your responsibilities;
- socialize more and spend more time in leisure activities;
- take a rest regularly.
Don’t get me wrong these tips are helpful and on point, but self-help unfortunately rarely has the desired results. Not to mention it is easier said than done – imagine you are a single working mother, who are you going to delegate to raising of your children?
Same logic can be applied to any of the tips you are going to read in similar articles. You are doing, whatever stresses you, because your job and life requires it and it would be extremely difficult for you to discern alone, which stressful activities you may exclude or spend less time on. Unless you are in the stages, before actually suffering from burnout it is most likely, that you need professional help. Entrust a psychologist to guide you through the process of lowering stress and combating burnout and even join a support group.