Are you constantly looking toward the next deadline? Do you have trouble saying ‘no’ and continually find yourself over committed? If so, you may be suffering from burnout. Burnout can turn even the most routine of problems into a seemingly insurmountable mountain. This state of mind causes havoc with relationships, work and health. However, with the right motivation and coping strategies, burnout can become a thing of the past.
The term “burnout” was coined by Hebert Freudenberger, in his 1974 novel Staff Burnout. Burnout is a work-specific syndrome, which is becoming commonplace with constant workplace changes. Burnout is mental and physical exhaustion caused by excessive, prolonged stress. It occurs when you feel overwhelmed and unable to meet constant demands. Burnout reduces productivity and steals energy, leaving you feeling hopeless, cynical and resentful. Eventually, you feel you have nothing left to give.
The adverse effect of burnout spills out into every area of life – home and social life. Burnout causes long-term bodily changes, making you vulnerable to infections (e.g. colds). The primary causes of burnout include: feeling one has no control over one’s work, lack of recognition and unclear, overly demanding expectations. The condition is supplemented by lifestyle and personality outside of the workplace. Factors include:
- Lack of sleep
- Absence of close/personal relationships
- High expectations from too many people
- Working to the point of having no relaxation or social life
- A pessimistic outlook
While burnout sounds a lot like stress, they are entirely different issues. Stress is characterised by over-engagement while burnout is characterised by disengagement. Burnout produces helplessness, a loss of motivation, ideas and hope.
By adopting the right coping strategies, you can significantly lessen the impact of burnout on your work, social and family life. Resting is very effective. This may include temporarily reducing working hours, to rebuild your resilience.
Problem-based coping can help you get to the source of the issue, and deal with it directly. While appraisal-based coping involves individual interpretation of what is and what isn’t a stress-inducing activity. One of the most effective methods to deal with burnout is remembering the three R’s:
- Recognise warning signs
- Reverse damage by maintaining stress and seeking support
- Resilience – build resilience by taking care of physical and emotional health
To ensure burnout does not become a part of your life, here are some helpful tips to incorporate into your daily routine:
- Start the day with a relaxing ritual – before getting out of bed, set aside 15 minutes to meditate, pray or write a journal
- Adopt healthy eating, exercise and sleep habits
- Set personal boundaries – Don’t over commit, and learn how to say ‘no’ occasionally
- Take a break from technology – set aside time every day to completely disconnect. Turn off laptop, phone and don’t check your email.
If you or someone you know is suffering from Burn Out, then please contact us to book an appointment.