This is stress that goes too far, and something that needs to be taken very seriously.
I came across this very, very recently, and realised that I had suffered from it in my past.
You see, there is an aspect of stress which is extremely harmful.
Actually, lets back up a bit…suffering from high levels of stress itself is very harmful
But this aspect of it takes it to a whole new level.
You see, the burnout is something which I firmly believe a lot of people are suffering from, yet few realize.
I suspect some people reading this will probably nod there head at the following characteristics.
- Caring about your work seems like a complete waste of your personal energy.
- Every day is an awful day.
- You feel like anything you do doesn't make a difference, isn't noticed, or is unappreciated (or all three).
- You feel exhausted/tired or fatigued most of the time.
- Most of your day is spent doing tasks that are extremely overwhelming, or mind numbingly simple.
Does any of these sound familiar?
Suffering from burnout is due to too much stress for too long.
Essentially, like the name implies, your are worn out at a high level.
There are many causes of burnout. Below is just a small list.
Lifestyle-type burnouts may include:
- Not getting enough sleep
- Taking on far too much task and responsibilities
- Being depended to do far too many things for far too many people
- A reduction of very close or supportive friendships/relationships
- Simply working too much, without taking the time to have fun/socialize with friends/co-workers or family
Work-related burnouts will include:
- Working in a high pressure or chaotic environment
- Thinking or feeling like you have no control over your workload
- Doing jobs or tasks that are boring or non-challenging
- Overly demanding or unclear job instructions or expectations
- Lack of any rewards or recognition of any good work that you are doing
Personality-characteristics of a burnout include:
- Trying to be a high achiever, The, ‘A-type' personality
- Trying to be perfect, as if nothing is good or satisfiable enough for you
- Trying to be in control, no trust to delegate to other people
- Cynical/pessimistic view of yourself and the environment/world that you are in
As you can see, you may be able to relate to some of the traits associated with the burnout.
But there are also physical, emotional and behavioral signs of the burnout as well
Signs that affect your behavior:
- You don't undertake responsibilities and withdraw
- You skip going to work, or you may turn up late/go home early
- You take longer to do things
- You use drugs, alcohol or excessive food to help yourself cope
- You become anti-social/ isolate yourself from other people/friends/family
- You take your anger and your frustrations out on other people/friends/family
The emotional signs are as follows:
- You feel detached, like you are alone in this world
- You feel helpless, defeated and trapped
- You have a sense of failing/failure and you self-doubt a lot
- You have an intense decrease in satisfaction and a reduced sense of accomplishment of anything
- You have little/complete loss of motivation
- You have a sharply increasing pessimistic and cynical view of yourself and others in the world around you
The physical signs are as follows:
- You have a change in appetite and/or change in sleeping habits, which may lead to;
- Feeling like you are exhausted/fatigued/tired nearly all the time, you don't get much rest or sleep
- This lowers your immunity, making you suffer from colds and illnesses very easily as your immune system is unable to cope
- You have an increased chance of pains in your body, like back pain, headaches and various muscle aches
Don't forget, burnout is caused by too much stress for too long a time.
There are many differences between burnout and stress.
The differences are shown below:
|Main damage is emotional||Main damage is physical|
|Produces hopelessness and helplessness||Produces a sense of urgency and hyperactivity|
|Life doesn't seem worth living||Can kill you prematurely
|Can lead you to depression and detachment||Can lead you to anxiety/panic attacks|
|A reduction in your goals, motivation and hope||Reduces your energy|
|Your emotions are very numb||Your emotions are over-active and very intense|
|You suffer from dis-engagement||You suffer from over-engagement|
So how do you cope from a burnout?
You need to watch the warning signs as soon as possible.
This is tricky, like I said earlier, as most people who suffer from it are too deep into it.
The trick is to know the symptoms and then tackle it quickly, before it tackles you (and being emotionally aware helps).
Then you need to try to reverse any damage that has been caused, by taking active steps to manage and control the stress that caused it and seeking additional support, either by your friends, family, your GP or going online to support forums (just type in stress forums in the search box next time you go online).
But this only helps the initial phase.
You need to build up the shield by taking up stress control measures (what this book is about) and finding a lifestyle that supports your work and family needs.
You can then emotional and physically recover and prevent it from happening again.
Below are a list of burnout prevention tips:
- Start the day with doing something relaxing- This could be a form of meditation, or just thinking of positive thoughts. I know that can be tough, but with practice you can do it. Don't forget, there's always EFT if you are super angry or stressed out!
- Learn how to be creative, as this is a powerful weapon against a burnout- You wouldn't think of it, but being creative actually helps reduce a burnout, and is a start to the road of recovery. Set a time to be creative and use it wisely! (And have fun!!!)
- Find a way to be self disciplined, by setting up a new schedule to have a better sleeping habit, proper diet, and a way to be healthy- This could mean setting up a schedule so that you exercise on certain times or days during the week, or finding out the foods that you eat that raises your irritation levels, and learning to cut down on them or eliminate them all together.
- Learn to set yourself a few boundaries, and say, ‘No!'- Saying, ‘no' to something is extremely empowering. It is also a sign that you are being serious on the healing side of eliminating a burnout, and gives you more time to do the stuff that is fun and exciting. Of course, always be careful who you say no to (naturally).
- Find your own personal way to manage stress- We live on a planet, where the next stressful thing is just around the corner. Of course, if you use some of the techniques in this book, you should be able to reduce most, if not all of your stress. But each to their own. You need to find your own particular way so if it crops up again you would know what to do.
Of course, there are times that you are too late, and you are knee deep into a burnout.
This is a recipe of disaster, just waiting to happen.
If this happens, take the following steps:
- Slow down! You cannot do anything until you stop your mind racing. And you can't stop your mind racing, until you learn to relax. You need to force yourself to take a break. This is a great place to learn to start saying, ‘no' to people, and learning to meditate as a form of relaxation. Once you have a clear head, you can go onto Step 2 which is…
- Get the correct support. Noticed how I said, ‘correct'. Talking to a work colleague who has their own problems is the incorrect way to do it. Getting help from your local GP or councillor is THE correct way to do it. You need the support in order to aid your recovery and stop yourself going insane. Once you start getting the much needed support you require, you can go on to step 3…
- Re-think your goals and your career strategy.What caused the burnout to begin? The wrong job, or too much work? Whatever it is, you need to prevent it from happening again, or change career. Do whatever it takes to re-priortise your tasks and your goals, so that you can get some momentum back in your life again. Try changing career, if that is what is needed (Or take up a college class and get further qualifications if that helps).
If it is job related (and in most cases, it is) you can get help by asking your boss to get clarity on your job description, to find out if you can reduce your work load in certain areas, or even to have a meeting to address the situation entirely.
It's up to you.
Speak to your boss to see if you can have time off to speak to a councillor, or just to have time off, period!
You need to find a way to make your job more manageable, before it is too late.
Doing this will help reduce the burnout, and you will have taken the first steps towards healing and recovery!