So you get your dream job and do everything to be the best employee. You resume early, close late and even work on weekends. Things go on fine for years, till you started feeling tired all the time and even depressed.
Let me tell you about burnout & what to do about it.
Previously defined only as a “state of vital exhaustion,” burnout has now been classified as a “syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.”
The WHO emphasizes that burnout is specifically work-related—it “should not be applied to describe experiences in other areas of life". This is characterised by:
- A sense of exhaustion/depletion
- Mental distance from or negativity/cynicism about work
- Decreased effectiveness
Burnout is when somebody just feels depleted from doing the task at hand. It happens when the demands being put upon you exceed the resources you have.
Simply put, the tank is empty.
Workplace burnout is more than when you've had a bad day or a tough week— everyone experiences that from time to time. Burnout tends to be when you just don’t have any good days, and it goes on for a long period of time. A lot of burnout really has to do with experiencing chronic stress and when left unchecked, it can wreak havoc on your health, happiness, relationships & job performance. In order to catch and combat burnout early, it’s important to know what to look out for.
Here are 10 signs:
A clear sign of burnout is when you feel tired all the time. This exhaustion can be emotional, mental or physical. It’s the sense of not having any energy, of being completely spent.
- Lack of Motivation
When you don’t feel enthusiastic about anything anymore or you no longer have that internal motivation for your work, there's a good chance you're experiencing burnout. This lack of motivation may also manifest in the form of a difficulty to get going in the morning or difficulty to drag yourself into work every day.
- Frustration & Other Negative Emotions
When this happens, you may feel like what you’re doing doesn’t matter that much anymore, or you may be disillusioned with everything. You might notice that you feel more generally pessimistic than you used to be.
While everybody experiences some negative emotions from time to time, it’s important to know when these are becoming unusual for you.
- Cognitive Problems
Burnout and chronic stress may interfere with your ability to pay attention or concentrate. When we're stressed, our attention narrows to focus on the negative element that we perceive as a threat. In the short term, this helps us deal with the problem at hand but our bodies and brains are designed to handle this in short bursts and then return to normal functioning.
When stress becomes chronic, this narrow focus prevents us from paying attention to other things.
This "fight or flight" tunnel vision can negatively affect your ability to solve problems or make decisions. You might find that you’re more forgetful and have a harder time remembering things.
- Slipping Job Performance
Not sure whether you're burnt out? Compare your current performance to previous years. As burnout tends to happen over a long time, this approach might reveal whether you're in a temporary slump or experiencing more chronic burnout.
- Interpersonal Problems at Home and at Work
This tends to manifest in one of two ways: (a) You’re having more conflicts with colleagues/friends/family or (b) you withdraw, talking to your coworkers and family members less. You might be there in person but tuned out.
- Not Taking Care of Yourself
When suffering from burnout, some people engage in unhealthy coping strategies like drinking too much, smoking, being too sedentary, eating too much junk food, not eating enough or not getting enough sleep. Self-medication is another issue and could include relying on sleeping pills to sleep, drinking more alcohol at the end of the day to de-stress or even drinking more coffee to summon up the energy to drag yourself into work in the morning.
- Being Preoccupied With Work ... When You're Not at Work
Even though you might not be working at a given moment, if you’re expending mental energy mulling over your job, then your work is interfering with your ability to recover from the stresses of your day. In order to recover, you need time to yourself after the actual task stops ... and time when you stop thinking about that task altogether.
- Generally Decreased Satisfaction
This is the tendency to feel less happy and satisfied with your career and with your home life. You might feel dissatisfied or even stuck when it comes to whatever is going on at home, in the community or with your social activities.
- Health Problems
Over a long period of time, serious chronic stress can create real health problems like digestive issues, heart disease, depression and obesity. So what do you do if you're experiencing any of the above burnout symptoms?
- Take Relaxation Seriously
Whether you take up meditation, reading a book, taking a walk or visiting with friends and family, truly think about what you'll do to relax & find time for it.
- Cultivate a Rich Non-Work Life
Find something outside of work that you are passionate about that's relaxing, engaging and really gets you going—whether a hobby, sports or fitness activities or volunteering in the community.
While communication technology can promote productivity, it can also allow work stressors seep into family time, vacation and social activities. Set boundaries by turning off cell phones at dinner and delegating certain times to check email.
- Get Enough Sleep
Research suggests that having fewer than six hours of sleep per night is a major risk factor for burnout, not least because poor sleep can have negative effects on your job performance and productivity. Sleep deprivation can also lead to fatigue...
...decrease your motivation, make you more sensitive to stressful events, impair your mental function, leave you more susceptible to errors and make it harder to juggle competing demands. The reverse is true, too as sleep can actually improve your memory. Recovering from chronic stress and burnout requires removing or reducing the demands on you and replenishing your resources. Sleep is one strategy for replenishing those resources. For inspiration, you can check out our tips to get better sleep.
- Get Organized
Often, when people are burnt out, they spend a lot of time worrying that they’ll forget to do something or that something important is going to slip through the cracks. Get organized, clear your head, put together a to-do list and prioritize.
Burn-out is a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.
- feeling exhausted
- feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one's job
- reduced professional efficacy.
Burn-out is included in the 11th Revision of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) as an occupational phenomenon.
Burnout is more likely to happen if we:
- don't feel valued
- don't feel like we are making an impact
- have no autonomy over a situatio
Burnout is not just physical but also mental too.
In many ways mental burnout can be far more challenging to deal with than physical burnout.
Compassion, kindness, authenticity, accepting others and working in each other's interests are likely to minimise stress and improve satisfaction
Burnout can be scary. It can become distorted and magnified into an irredeemable self perception of failure particularly among the self critical among us.
Burnout can make it hard for us to see things clearly and objectively. It can feel as if there is little support on offer or very few places to turn.
Remind yourself that this is the burnout speaking and NOT reality.
It can be really tough to know what to do if you feel burnout but just know that those around you will have likely had some feelings of burnout at some point and will understand how you feel. You are never alone.
Start your day by relaxing.
- listening to music
- hearing the news
Whatever works for you
Incorporate healthy eating, exercise and sleeping habits.
Healthy eating makes a difference. Try to plan meals if possible and 5-a-day
A walk or a run or a jog can make a huge difference
Try to maintain great sleep hygiene. Sleep early, sleep for a good length of time
Set personal boundaries.
It's ok to say NO to extra tasks if you feel now isn't a great time. Others will understand 😀👍😀
Take a break from technology.
It's ok to focus on the present moment rather than madness all around us. 😀
Mindfulness can really help. There are some great apps
Talk to someone 😀👍😀
It's ok. Things can get better. There is hope. Believe there will be better times. Don't lose hope. There is always a solution.
Nurture your creative inclinations.
Singing Sports Pick up an instrument Origami Arts and crafts Painting Drawing Making dolls houses
Take time off. If burnout seems unavoidable, it's ok to take a break and chill.
Each and every one of us has a duty to treat others with respect, compassion and kindness. We can all make each other feel valued. 😀👍😀
Kindness breeds kindness. Compassion breeds compassion. Care breeds care .
The best response to unkindness can be kindness. Kindness is not naivety 👏
Now what to do if you recognise a colleague is experiencing burnout:
- offer to chat -coffee
- be kind
- try to understand their perspective
- genuinely aim to support them in their best interests
- be someone your colleague can trust
- explore support options together
We can inspire others with how we choose to act and how we choose to treat others.
Our actions are a conscious CHOICE.
OUR ACTIONS speak louder than words. We never know what challeneges others are suffering with in their own lives. So be kind.
You might not know it but YOUR act of kindness could make someone's day. For some, it might be what gets them through their day. 💓
It's worth taking time to reflect upon our own insecurities and weaknesses. It's time to be happy for others when they succeed, support them when they don't and be civil, respectful and authentic otherwise.
Actions DO speak louder than words.
Life is about living, breathing every moment and being there for those who need it so that they can do the same. 😀
Others may call #kindness naivety. BUT just know that one day they will need a shoulder to cry on and once they feel that kindness has touched their heart, they will want to do the same for someone else.
Kindness breeds kidness. Compassion breeds compassion 😍 .
Unfairness and perceived lack of justice breeds burnout. Important we are as fair and balanced as we can be in how we treat others. It's worth reflecting on our unconscious biases.
Actions speak louder than words .
Think what legacy am I leaving behind here?
Hopefully one of #kindness #compassion #authenticity #fairness 😍
Others are looking at how we behave all the time to set their own threshold of how to act in a situation. Let's be the ones to set a threshold of #kindness #compassion #fairness #authenticity.
We need to treat ourselves and others with #compassion #support and #understanding. 💓
So, in summary we all have a collective responsibility to recognise when we or others around us are experiencing burnout. Burnout isn't just physical. It can be mental too. It's our duty to support each other and CHOOSE to act with #compassion #fairness #care. Let's do it. 😍