OVERTIRED, OVERSTRETCHED, OVERWHELMED, OVERSTRESSED
– ALL THE TIME?
If you are continually stressed and feel that you just cannot cope any more, then you may be heading for BURNOUT.
Causes of burnout
There are many causes of burnout which is a term given to excessive and ongoing stress. It is usually a used within a work context but can also apply to any situation where you feel overworked and undervalued with too many responsibilities. However your lifestyle, demands on your time, personality type attitudes, beliefs and values as well as how you see the world, all contribute to burnout.
Work-related causes of burnout
- Feeling like you have little or no control over your work
- Lack of recognition or rewards for good work
- No support or guidance
- Unclear or overly demanding job expectations
- Doing work that’s monotonous or unchallenging
- Working in a chaotic or high-pressure environment
Lifestyle causes of burnout
- Working too much, without enough time for relaxing and socializing
- Being expected to be too many things for too many people
- Taking on too many responsibilities, without enough help from others
- Not getting enough sleep
- Lack of close, supportive relationships
- Continual worry about money, family etc
- Health issues
Personality traits can contribute to burnout
- Perfectionist tendencies; nothing is ever good enough
- Pessimistic view of yourself and the world
- The need to be in control; reluctance to delegate to others
- High-achieving, Type A personality
- Continual worrier
You may be on the road to burnout if:
- Every day is a bad day.
- Caring about your work or home life seems like a total waste of energy.
- You’re exhausted all the time.
- The majority of your day is spent on tasks you find either mind-numbingly dull or overwhelming.
- You feel like nothing you do makes a difference or is appreciated.
Warning signs and symptoms of burnout
Burnout is a gradual process that occurs over an extended period of time. It doesn’t happen overnight, but it can creep up on you if you’re not paying attention to the warning signals.
The signs and symptoms of burnout are subtle at first, but they get worse and worse as time goes on.
Physical signs and symptoms of burnout
- Feeling tired and drained most of the time
- Lowered immunity, feeling sick a lot
- Frequent headaches, back pain, muscle aches
- Change in appetite or sleep habits
Emotional signs and symptoms of burnout
- Sense of failure and self-doubt
- Feeling helpless, trapped, and defeated
- Detachment, feeling alone in the world
- Loss of motivation
- Increasingly cynical and negative outlook
- Decreased satisfaction and sense of accomplishment
Behavioural signs and symptoms of burnout
- Withdrawing from responsibilities
- Isolating yourself from others
- Procrastinating, taking longer to get things done
- Using food, drugs, or alcohol to cope
- Taking out your frustrations on others
- Skipping work or coming in late and leaving early
Burnout Prevention Tips
- Start the day with a relaxing ritual. Rather jumping out of bed as soon as you wake up, spend at least fifteen minutes meditating, writing in your journal, doing gentle stretches, or reading something that inspires you.
- Adopt healthy eating, exercising, and sleeping habits. When you eat right, engage in regular physical activity, and get plenty of rest, you have the energy and resilience to deal with life’s hassles and demands.
- Set boundaries. Don’t overextend yourself. Learn how to say “no” to requests on your time. If you find this difficult, remind yourself that saying “no” allows you to say “yes” to the things that you truly want to do.
- Take a daily break from technology. Set a time each day when you completely disconnect. Put away your laptop, turn off your phone, and stop checking email.
- Nourish your creative side. Creativity is a powerful antidote to burnout. Try something new, start a fun project, or resume a favourite hobby. Choose activities that have nothing to do with work.
- Learn how to manage stress both as it arises and from your past. Learn EFT with Stressworx and discover that you can control your stress levels.
- Consider changing your job.
- If that’s not possible, then address issues as they arise – try and be more assertive – say no! Try and be proactive and take responsibility for your actions ( no one else will!)
- Clarify your job description. Ask your boss for an updated description of your job duties and responsibilities. Point out things you’re expected to do that are not part of your job description and gain a little leverage by showing that you’ve been putting in work over and above the parameters of your job.
- Ask for new duties. If you’ve been doing the exact same work for a long time, ask to try something new: a different grade level, a different sales territory, a different machine.
- Take time off. If burnout seems inevitable, take a complete break from work. Go on holiday, use up your leave days, ask for a temporary leave-of-absence—anything to remove yourself from the situation. Use the time away to recharge your batteries and take perspective.