It’s kind of obvious once you have hit burnout: exhaustion, lack of motivation, and overwhelming doubts of whether you should even be at your job. But, if you are not there yet, maybe the symptoms aren’t so obvious?
So what is burnout? Burnout is the result of too much stress either from your job, a life situation, or even your personality. In the simplest of terms, burnout is absolute exhaustion, physically, mentally, and emotionally.
burnout is absolute exhaustion, physically, mentally, and emotionally.
It is a combination of symptoms that cause you to be much less effective at work, less happy at home, and if left alone could cause you serious health complications. Burnout can leave you anxious, depressed, unmotivated, and ineffective. The list of symptoms can be vague and sound like it’s just life, but life isn’t supposed to feel like burnout.
The first things you will notice looking for burnout are the causes. You will experience poor work-life balance, poor job fit, mismatched values, lack of control, or a dysfunctional work environment that wear on your peace of mind and your sanity. At first, it won’t seem like much. We’ve all muscled through hectic times, made it through, and not suffered any consequences.
Then, bam! The symptoms hit. They creep in quietly and slowly as the enjoyment drips from your job and then your life. Perhaps just a general air of negativity and boredom towards your everyday activities. You might just feel stuck or indifferent. But, soon you lose sight of your values and your ability to focus; anxiety, depression, and insomnia set in as your mental abilities deteriorate from the weight of the stress.
Scariest part, if left unchecked your physical health can begin to take the brunt of the burnout. You may notice weight gain, you’re sick more often, random attacks of pain, high blood pressure, and an increase in the severity of existing conditions.
With burnout being something everybody would live better without, how do we prevent the mental turmoil and physical deterioration?
If you are beginning to experience any of the symptoms of burnout, reflect on your interests, skills, and passions and compare against current options. If you have good options, to move within your company or career path, those changes will be the easiest to make and cause the least amount of stress.
Another thing you can do to lessen the effects of burnout on your health and your life is keep your own attitude in check. Easier said than done you’re saying. Try the following: find gratitude and enjoyment in your job and life, it could be your lunch break or the drive home. Just find something you can enjoy and look forward to through your day, so it doesn’t feel like the deep dark hole you imagine it is. Making a conscious effort to change your attitude may buy you the time to make that change.
Reach out and grab support around you. Friends, family, co-workers, and professional help can all help you through the difficulties of burnout.
Finally, take time for self-care. And NO it is NOT selfish. Getting the time to relax, sleep, and exercise can be the one thing that stops burnout before it starts. The amount of sleep, 7-8 hours a night, can stop exhaustion and help your concentration. Exercise decreases pain and releases dopamine and serotonin to decrease depression and anxiety.
Nobody wants to go in on Monday morning, but if you are feeling the effects of burnout and especially denying those feelings, you need to assess your need to be proactive against burnout in your job and in life.
Share with me what steps you have taken to avoid burnout!