5 Signs of Burnout and How to Treat Them

5 Signs of Burnout and How to Treat Them

Just like a virus tracks down a weak link in your immune system wreaking havoc on your health, so does constant exposure to physical, cognitive and emotional strain affect every aspect of your life.

It can keep accumulating up to a certain point, but even the most driven of workers, in fact especially they, end up bursting at the seams. It can also feel as sudden as a summer storm, or as gradual as a rising tide, but the end result tends to be the same: you feel unable to perform even the simplest of tasks, you are irritable, fatigued and the lack of motivation isn’t helping.

These and many similar symptoms are the telltale signs of burnout, but there are a few strategies that can help you recover and restore your zealousness.

The social factor

Eager workers know it best – when you put in so much effort into not only completing a task, but exceeding the expectations that go with your work, you want to be appreciated for it. But going above and beyond isn’t always met with the support we need to repeat those actions, let alone feel valued. All you are left with is lassitude.

A direct approach can help override the effects of burnout.

Talk to your peers, or even your superiors, to get their attention, because that much-needed support may be a conversation away. Then again, if your work environment doesn’t enable such behaviour, why not re-evaluate your boundaries?

Consider taking a step back from further “extra” engagements, and keep in mind it’s more than acceptable to say no when enough is enough.

The role of emotions

One of the key differences between stress and full-blown burnout is that the latter causes almost a complete lack of emotions, a dulling of the senses. Not only are you unable to think happy thoughts that will push you through a stressful day, but you’ve literally put your emotional capacity into overdrive and reached a point of over-saturation with negativity.

Whatever may have triggered such a state of mind, you need a venting system, whether breathing exercises, a dance class or martial arts, and you need to work on relaxing. Incorporate more activities that keep your mind off work, such as hiking in nature, playing with your pooch, or spending more time with your loved ones.

Enrich your days with activities you know will bring a smile to your face, and give your emotions time to resurface and heal.

The lack of balance

Your workload is too much to handle, your colleagues are not a picnic either, and you are almost constantly under pressure from your superiors – all of which leads to stressing over work even when you’re not at the office. Your sleep suffers, your relationships suffer, and your self-care takes the back seat while you spend the energy that you no longer have on work that’s not even there.

With unlimited connectedness through our smartphones and the ability to be online almost all the time, we feel an obligation to be available 24/7, and while some jobs do carry such a requirement, most office jobs can and should end at the office.

Finding this fine line is crucial, so recognise your patterns in time: stop responding to late-night emails, let them sit in your inbox until the morning. If you’re at a family dinner, do you really need to take every business call? Prioritise your time and balance will come.

Health issues

Physical issues are as prominent as emotional and psychological ones when it comes to recognizing the last straw leading to burnout. Extreme exhaustion, soreness, headaches, immune system shut-downs that lead to getting sick frequently, insomnia, and depression are just some among the many consequences of burnout.

We often work as if our success came first, not our health, and this mindset needs to change radically for you to reap long-term rewards. Restructure your diet, don’t skip your exercise regime and ensure optimal rest.

The shift of perspective

If you find yourself feeling disappointed by your job, devastated that it’s not as rewarding as it used to be, or you feel resentment and a lack of purpose – that’s burnout taking its toll. The challenge and value of what you do is often the key driving force of your effort, so it’s no wonder you can no longer push yourself to perform once such a mindset takes over.

Consider taking some time off, to completely detach yourself from work and reevaluate your purpose. Remember why you got into the job in the first place. Even if it was just for the money, is it still worth it? Try to rediscover the initial joy of your work, or find new reasons to appreciate it. If that means taking some time away, it may be worth saving your calling.

Author: Mathews McGarry


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