Burnout is a major issue for employees and employers. This is one of the main reasons why talented employees leave their work. If a person feels constantly stressed, it will lead to other negative feelings. The employee may start feeling disillusioned, helpless, and utterly exhausted of his job. And when these feelings start to emerge, it may result in burnout.
When a person is burned out, small problems seem huge. The whole world seems bleak, and he would find it extremely difficult to gather enough energy to care about anything. People who are burned out can’t do anything to help themselves. The feelings which come with burnout won’t only affect one’s job. It may start affecting the person’s health and relationships too.
Burnout is a state of exhaustion felt physically, mentally, and emotionally. It’s caused by too much stress felt for too long. When a person gets emotionally drained, overwhelmed, and unable to meet different demands, burnout may occur. And as it progresses, as the stress will gradually make a person lose motivation and interest to do anything productive.
This condition is very real and very common. A person becomes empty spiritually, creatively, and emotionally. He will be devoid of energy and inspiration, unable to accomplish any tasks or challenges. Just like any other condition, burnout comes with different signs which indicate that a person is suffering from it.
What are the Common Signs of Burnout?
Burnout can be very dangerous. People who experience it can’t be productive not just at work. Often, a person’s personal life may be affected too. This is because burnout manifests physically, mentally, emotionally and socially too.
For someone to be able to identify burnout, it’s important to know the common signs and symptoms of it. This will help a person recognize the condition and work on reducing or avoiding the occurrence of it. Here are the most common signs of burnout:
Anger. In the beginning, the person may start feeling very tense and irritable. If left unchecked, these feelings may transform into anger. The person may suddenly start serious arguments or have angry outbursts with the people around him. And if the person doesn’t know the reason for this change in behavior, it might worsen and manifest as acts of violence.
Anxiety. Just like with anger, the initial feelings may be of tension, edginess, and worry. As the burnout progresses, the feelings will progress along with it, turning into anxiety. If the person doesn’t do anything about it, the anxiety might become so severe. Then it would start to interfere with his ability to maintain productivity. It may also start affecting one’s personal and professional relationships.
Chronic fatigue. This symptom may start as a feeling of tiredness and lack of energy each day. Then, the person will start to feel fatigued more frequently. He may feel exhausted physically and emotionally. It’s not just a feeling of tiredness anymore; one would feel drained and sometimes would even experience a feeling of fear for what’s coming.
Depression. Early on, a person may feel sad, hopeless and guilty. Then, as the burnout becomes worse, the feelings will make the person feel hopeless. He’ll start feeling trapped in his situation which will then lead to depression. He might start feeling like the world is better off without him.
Forgetfulness and inability to focus. Early signs of burnout may include mild forgetfulness and an inability to focus. Then, later, the person may get to the point where he isn’t able to get anything done because of these signs. Because of this, his work will start piling up until it becomes too much.
Getting sick frequently. When a person gets burned out, the body loses energy and thus, the immune system weakens. This will make the person more susceptible to different illnesses and infections. So, when one gets sick more often and starts experiencing the other symptoms, this may be a sign of burnout.
Insomnia. This sign may begin as having sleeping problems. A person finds it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep a few days a week. However, in the latter stages of burnout, it may turn into a more frequent ordeal. The person may start experiencing insomnia every night. No matter how tired one is, he just can’t fall asleep.
Loss of appetite. At the beginning of burnout, a person may start feeling a loss of appetite, so he’ll start skipping a meal or two. Then as the disease progresses, the person loses his appetite altogether, which may lead to weight loss too.
Other physical symptoms. Burnout may show itself through other physical symptoms too. These may include headaches, breathing difficulties, heart palpitations, gastrointestinal pains, and other worrying signs.
These are the most common symptoms of burnout to look out for, especially when experiencing a lot of stress at work and home. To be able to work through it, a person needs to do a few things, so the symptoms won’t worsen.
The very first thing a person needs to do is learn how to recognize it. Know all the initial signs to prevent it from getting worse. Remember, burnout is a severe state of exhaustion which affects a person’s physical, mental and emotional state. This will make a person lose confidence in his value or competency at work. From there, if nothing is done, it will just become worse.
When a person notices the signs of burnout, it’s helpful to find what’s causing it. It’s impossible to find a solution to a problem when a person doesn’t even know the reason behind it. Burnout may happen to anyone and for different reasons. One person may feel pressured at work while another person may feel stressed with his life at home. Identifying the cause would help one work on making things better. Thus, lessening the negative feelings which come with the condition.
A lot of people believe that multitasking is a valuable skill. However, studies have shown that multitasking makes people less productive. This is because it forces the brain to constantly switch from one action to another instead of just focusing on and doing one thing at a time.
Rather than trying to accomplish all tasks at once, prioritize and focus on the most important tasks first. Perform tasks one at a time to avoid getting overwhelmed. It may seem like a simple thing to do, but for a lot of people, it’s not. Nowadays, people are so used to leading busy lives and doing different things at once that just focusing on one thing seems impractical. However, it’s necessary to do this, especially if one wants to avoid burnout.
Take Care of Yourself
Another important thing to do is take care of oneself. If a person doesn’t care for himself, burnout becomes a huge possibility. When burnout begins, and it’s left unchecked, it will cause serious problems in one’s life. To avoid that, there are ways a person can ensure he is healthy in all the aspects of his life.
- Make sure to eat healthy and balanced meals daily. No matter how busy a person schedule gets, he must avoid grabbing the fastest and most convenient foods available. If possible, plan meals weekly to be able to eat healthy at home and work.
- Exercise regularly, even just for half an hour each day. Exercising does wonders for a person’s stress levels. Exercise can be done at home, at work or even at the gym, if one has time.
- It’s also important to enjoy one’s social life. Although work is important, it’s not the only essential thing in life. People must keep their social lives active to remain healthy. A person’s social life includes his relationships with his family, friends, and co-workers. Meeting up with people outside of work can prevent burnout from happening or from becoming worse.
When a person is well, he will be able to keep up with the different stresses experienced at work or home. Therefore it’s vital to care for one’s health. People must take the necessary steps to ensure their overall wellbeing if they want to prevent burnout from occurring.
Find the Balance Between Your Work and Your Life
After ensuring a person’s health, the next thing he must do is find the balance between work and life. Yes, work is important. Without it, a person won’t be able to earn money to sustain his life. Work can also provide a sense of fulfillment to a person, especially when he is passionate about his career.
A person who feels the initial signs of burnout should communicate it with his boss. If the workload is becoming too much that his personal life is already being affected, he needs to step back. It’s helpful for a person to speak to his manager or supervisor about feeling burnt out. Chances are, the superiors don’t even know that the employees are becoming overwhelmed with the work. So, communicating with one’s superior can be very helpful, they can work together to make the workplace a lot more manageable.
One huge reason why people experience burnout is that don’t know how to say “no.” Because of this, they keep on accepting responsibilities even though they can’t handle the work anymore. Usually, people believe that if they don’t accept work, it will reflect poorly on their performance. However, a person’s performance will suffer anyway if he gets bombarded with too much work which he cannot handle. So, if a person doesn’t want to get burned out at work, he should learn how to decline work, at least occasionally.
Finally, if a person has tried everything to make things better and work is still overwhelming, he can also consider leaving his job. If a person goes to work every day feeling miserable, then it’s not worth it. People should find a job they enjoy. When they do this, the likelihood of getting burned out will decrease significantly.
Change Your Attitude
It’s a fact that there are specific personality types which are more susceptible to burnout. For instance, a person who is more innately pessimistic may be more vulnerable to getting burned out as opposed to a person who is innately optimistic. No matter what personality type you are though, you can always change your attitude. Here are some things you can do to avoid getting burned out in the workplace:
- Remember that things don’t have to be perfect. Yes, we should all aim for perfection and excellence. But when things don’t go according to one’s plan, learn to let it go and move on.
- If things get too difficult, learn to delegate tasks. If a person’s plate is already full, he can pass on some of the easier tasks to a co-worker or a subordinate. This would make things a lot easier to handle.
- When a person is already feeling burned out, then he should step back. This isn’t the best time to make important, life-changing decisions. Instead, breath, try to relax and deal with problems when feeling a lot better about the situation.
Burnout is a very real condition. However, that doesn’t mean that it’s unavoidable. It’s a risk no matter what kind of work environment a person is in. The important thing is to recognize that it’s happening and take steps to make things better.
More Helpful Tips to Prevent Burnout
Burnout is a possibility in different environments. A person may feel it at work and even at home. If one gets overwhelmed with everything that’s happening to him, there’s a high likelihood that he will get burned out. Fortunately, there are some things one can do to prevent it from developing or from getting worse. Here are more helpful tips to guide you:
- Learn to take short breaks from work. If a person feels tired, stressed or overwhelmed, make sure to take a break. Rather than pushing on and feeling negative about it, it’s better to step back and take a breather.
- Also, one can try listening to music. This can be very helpful especially for people who find themselves more productive when there’s music playing in the background.
- When it’s time to rest, rest. When you’re resting, don’t think about all the tasks you still need to do. Your brain needs a rest too so stop thinking for a while. Also, while in bed, rest your mind. Otherwise, you won’t be able to sleep peacefully.
- If possible, try waking up early. This has a strong connection with reduced stress levels. This is because it would give a person more time to do things from the morning all the way until he must go to work.
- It’s also helpful to learn how stress works. People should learn when and why they get stressed. Then, they can avoid these triggers as much as possible, so they don’t feel as stressed whether at home or work.
- Finally, take vacations! When a person keeps on working, his body and mind become tired. Taking a vacation occasionally is beneficial because it helps give the body and mind a well-deserved rest.