Burnout is not an inescapable trap, it's a warning sign that something needs to be remedied. Read on to learn about the warning signs of burnout and how to fix it before it gets out of control.
Photo credit: DCstudio
Another day, another struggle.
Know the feeling?
Yet lately, you can't help but feel like the struggle has been overwhelming. Getting out of bed in the morning to work has become increasingly difficult, if not downright emotionally draining. Starting off the week has the impression of a slow drop, ending with a loud thud. At work, attempting to complete even the most basic task on your to-do list feels like it requires supernatural strength.
That’s not all.
Even when you do accomplish something, you still feel stressed, empty, hopeless, and ineffective — it's as if you are running in a locked endlessly spinning windmill that you'll never be able to get off of. Sigh! Furthermore, being around other people makes you feel as if they are bothering or irritating you in some way, and you just want to be left alone.
If you find yourself feeling this way quite often, you probably shrug it off and justify it as normal work stress that will pass in time. Regrettably, that is not the case. In fact, you're on the verge of burnout. Burnout gradually infiltrates your life and has an unnoticeable effect.
According to studies, 23–54% of workers have dealt with or are now coping with a burnout at some point in their careers. Although it’s a jaw-dropping figure, it means that you are not alone. And like C. S. Lewis once said, we read to know we are not alone.
Even though no one solution exists for dealing with burnout, there are clear catalysts and established approaches that can help you avoid, reduce, and recover from the symptoms of this condition. But before that, let’s have a clear understanding of what burnout is.
What is burnout?
Burnout is a state of psychological, physical, and mental weariness brought on by continuous and severe stress. It happens when you're emotionally and physically exhausted and unable to keep up with work demands. The tension builds up, and you begin to lose the enthusiasm and motivation that initially drew you to a particular profession.
Experiencing burnout lowers your productivity and depletes your energy, causing you to feel constantly useless, hopeless, pessimistic, and resentful. After a while, you may even conclude that you have nothing left to offer.
In her book, The Art of Balancing Burnout, Vanessa Autrey says, “The reality is: there will always be more work. From our jobs and owning businesses to being a manager of our families and our homes – there will always be more work. It never goes away. We never escape from the responsibilities that life presents us. But one of our main responsibilities should be ourselves; after all, there's only one of us anyway.”
Burnout has a detrimental impact on your life, including your home, career, and social circle. Stress and exhaustion can alter your body in such a way that you become more susceptible to common illnesses.
What are the signs a person can use to tell if they are burned out?
It can be challenging to see the signs that you're on the verge of becoming burned out. Nevertheless, here at Fuzu, we care. We've compiled a list of some of the most common and frequently occurring signs of burnout that rob you of your passion and motivation.
Sound good? Let’s begin with…
1. Chronic fatigue
Burnout is often characterized by feelings of weariness and a general lack of energy. Physical exhaustion is not the only thing you'll have to deal with; you'll also likely feel emotionally drained. The effects of burnout can swiftly progress to chronic depression and begin to permeate all aspects of your life if not addressed.
If getting out of bed and going to work each day is more difficult than usual, you may be on the verge of burnout. Therefore, pay attention and listen to your body. It’s often honest when it comes to how you’re feeling.
2. Cynicism and detachment
Let's face it, you aren't going to enjoy your job every day of the week. However, if you're continuously thinking about how to get away from work and projects, you may be experiencing burnout. Along with this, you may also experience:
Negative feelings regarding your work
Feeling cut off from your surroundings and other people
Lacking patience at work
Constantly looking for excuses to get out of work
Removing yourself from social gatherings that you formerly looked forward to attending
If you're finding it difficult to generate even a bit of excitement for activities that used to excite you, that's a huge, flashing red warning that you're about to burn out.
3. Poor work performance
Lack of excitement in doing your daily task results in poor performance. If you are burnt out, you won't care enough to execute your job successfully. A good example is allowing submission dates to slip through the cracks without a care in the world.
4. You’re dealing with physical ailments
Burnout can open the door to a variety of medical disorders. Everybody experiences it differently, and it doesn't present itself in the same way. However, burnout has been linked to several illnesses, including:
Pain in the lower abdomen
Illness is on the rise
A racing heartbeat
a feeling of being out of breath
Feeling dizzy or fainting
Pain in the intestines
There are a host of other possible causes for these kinds of disorders. However, if you're experiencing them in connection with emotional changes, they may serve as a physical indicator of your burnout condition.
5. A feeling of inadequacy and lack of accomplishment at work
Do you feel like nothing you do at work matters? Are you overwhelmed with responsibilities to the point where you don’t want to do anything? Does it feel like there’s more work than you can realistically do every day?
It is harder to connect your daily tasks to a meaningful goal once your burnout reaches a certain level. It impacts your work and your perception of your worth, and you begin to feel apathetic and unproductive.
How do you come back from burnout?
Okay, so you've spotted a few or possibly all of these indicators of burnout in your behavior. Now what? What can you do to get back in your groove?
Experiencing burnout can profoundly affect your outlook on life, making your previous life appear like an illusion. Nevertheless, there is hope. A healthier, happier living is within reach once you've identified the signs of burnout in your life.
There is no one-size-fits-all solution to overcoming burnout, but there are proven strategies that can help you regain control of your emotions and begin to find joy and significance in your work. They include the following:
1. Pay close attention to what stresses you
Burnout comes from a prolonged response to chronic stress. The more stressors you deal with daily, the higher your risk of burnout. When you feel yourself being pulled into that sense of busyness, take a step back and try to identify the root causes. Here are a few pointers you can run by:
Schedule conflicts or interruptions that occur regularly
Scheduling that doesn't provide for adequate time to get some good rest
Often dealing with problematic clients or coworkers
Each of these things may seem like a regular aspect of your career, but they could be causing you to burn out. Try to find ways to alleviate the ones affecting your mental condition.
For example, having an open dialogue with your boss about unrealistic deadlines. If you're unable to meet these deadlines, explain to them how you'll have to delegate, postpone, or drop something in order to do so.
2. Revisit your priorities
The road to burnout is paved with over-committing yourself and overbooking your calendar. Within no time, you'll be jammed with tasks and juggling the need to be available at all times.
Instead, you must be more methodical in your approach to making commitments. Reassessing your priorities on a frequent basis is essential if you want to stay on track and achieve your primary objectives.
Assign reasonable deadlines, taking into account any reliance and resources that you may require. It's also a good idea to stand back and concentrate on one issue at a time when you're feeling overburdened.
3. Structure your day
Even if your day looks completely different from day to day, it's essential to incorporate structure into your routine so that you can transition from task to task without being overloaded or exhausted in the process.
In accordance with Apollo Neuro's findings, burnout impairs our neural system, which in turn impairs our capacity for work productivity, creativity, restful sleep, reproduction, and the development of meaningful interpersonal relationships
Here are a few ways to do this:
Start your day with a productive task
Block out distractions
Set a time frame for responses
Don't forget to take periodic rest
Turn off your screen
Taking a break from the obligations of work and home to unwind
Invest time in a pastime such as a sport or musical instrument
Cultivate a culture of reflecting on your day
Making a couple of these adjustments will help you create a more burnout-friendly routine for yourself.
4. Keep an eye out for signs of burnout by conducting regular self-reviews
Preventing burnout is difficult because it typically goes undetected until it's too late. Therefore, it is important to develop self-awareness through regular self-reflection and examination of your life and job.
Reflection helps you remember what you've learned and improves your performance. Additionally, it can boost your self-confidence, which is a powerful antidote to burnout's sense of helplessness.
5. Change your attitude
To change your attitude, you’ll have to learn to recognize negative traits and thought patterns and work to stop them when they happen. “For example, thinking, ‘I have to do this perfectly, or I’ll be a failure.’ You can challenge some of these thoughts and get rid of that “all or nothing” mentality.
According to research, perfectionism is strongly associated with burnout. If you can identify and then remove some of these self-imposed expectations, then you will feel less stressed.
Unfortunately, burnout isn't something that just goes away on its own. Furthermore, it doesn't get any better just because you've made it to the end of the week or completed another task on your to-do list. Knowing how burnout manifests itself in your daily life and taking steps to prevent or alleviate it needs some deliberate thinking and effort.
Ultimately, you are the only one who can take action to improve your circumstances. Take responsibility for what isn't working in your professional life and make changes to make it work for you. The sooner you notice the indicators, the better equipped you will be to avoid, counteract, and recover from burnout. You will be able to commit to a positive and healthy life at work and at home.
You’ve got this.
What are your experiences with burnout? Share with us in the comment section below.