Burnout is a combination of emotional exhaustion, negativity and reduced sense of personal accomplishment. It can occur if you’ve been experiencing persistent and unrelenting stress.
Burnout has some common signs and symptoms. It’s possible to experience some of these during periods of stress without feeling burnt out. However, if you’re exhibiting these symptoms and feeling emotionally overloaded, you may be experiencing burnout.
Some signs of burnout include: low energy, low motivation, low mood, feeling isolated. feeling trapped, feeling cynical or disengaged from work that you used to value, decreased life satisfaction, procrastination, irritability, feeling exhausted and drained. disrupted sleep, headaches and body pain.
Burnout has a number of causes, such as working in an environment that’s challenging, high pressured or that expects too much of you and doesn’t recognise your successes. And it’s not just limited to the workplace: burnout can also be caused by a home life where you have too many responsibilities or where you lack the support you need. Sometimes burnout can be exacerbated by particular thinking styles, such as having unrealistic expectations of ourselves and others, or by perfectionism and associated pressures.If you’re feeling burnt out, there are a variety of strategies that can be helpful including:
• Mindfulness and emotion regulation – Relaxation exercises can help you calm your emotions and regain perspective. Talking about your feelings can also help you alleviate the strong emotions associated with burnout, so consider confiding in a trusted colleague, friend or family member.
• Set boundaries – Trying to be all things to all people can leave you feeling stressed and overwhelmed. Set some boundaries by talking to colleagues, friends and family members about what you can do on your own and what help you might need help with. As well as helping you manage your workload, this process can help the people around you understand your limits.
• Managing your time – Planning important tasks ahead of time can provide structure in your day-to-day life and prevent you from overextending yourself. Stick to working on these tasks only during the periods you’ve allocated to complete them and use any personal time to pursue activities that you enjoy.
• Asking for help –Try choosing one thing you know you can delegate and then assess how helpful it was to have that task off your plate.
• Problem solve – One of the best ways to reduce stress is to address the stressors themselves. Take 15 minutes to write down a problem that is making you feel overwhelmed and come up with three possible solutions. At the end of the 15 minutes, give one solution a try and see what happens. If that doesn’t work, you have two more solutions ready to go. If nothing’s working, it might be time to ask a colleague or manager for their perspective.