Burnout is one of those conditions which can quickly sneak up on you. This is especially true if you have one of those personalities where you feel you can do anything asked of you…all while keeping a smile on your face.
But recently, it seems you can no longer keep that smile. Uncharacteristically you have been short with your co-workers. You blame it on your recent onset of unexplained headaches and backaches.
Have you ever thought about the origin of your unexplained aches and pains?
What is Burnout?
Burnout is a state of mental, physical, and emotional exhaustion caused by prolonged exposure to stress. If this prolonged stress doesn’t appear to have an end in sight, you may eventually feel overwhelmed, drained, and unable to keep up with job responsibilities.
Burnout diminishes productivity and energy, leaving you feeling increasingly helpless, hopeless, and potentially angry.
Do You Think You Are Suffering from Burnout?
The Mayo Clinic determined you may be suffering burnout if you answer YES to any of the following questions.
- Have you become cynical at work?
- Are you dissatisfied with your achievements?
- Do you drag yourself to work?
- Do you have trouble starting work?
- Have you become irritable with co-workers or customers?
- Have you started to numb yourself with drugs, alcohol or food?
- Have your sleeping or eating habits changed?
- Do you lack energy?
- Do you feel disillusioned?
- Do you get unexplained headaches or backaches?
Overcome Burnout Before You Become Burnt Out
Burnout is reversible. If you take swift action, you may be able to stop the effects of the prolonged, chronic stress that is underlying the condition. Try these steps if you want to overcome burnout.
Manage Your Stressors
Take an inventory of situations that create stress. It is important to identify the stressors in order to combat them.
Is there anything on your stressor list that your manager can help you with? Maybe he/she can change expectations or find a co-worker to help share the burden. What about flex-time, or working an afternoon or two from home? What about attending a seminar or engaging in other means of professional development?
Yes, exercise almost always helps! Regular physical activity helps you deal with stress. It also helps you focus on something besides work.
Adjust Your Attitude
Cynicism, sarcasm, and anger at work. The cycle of negative thinking, which often worsens over time, is a hallmark of burnout. Immediately consider ways to improve your outlook. Remember why you once enjoyed work and rediscover those enjoyable aspects. Practice gratitude. Think positively. Start implementing random acts of kindness. “Fake it until you make it” does work in regards to attitude.
Sleep restores your mental and physical health. Aim for eight hours every night.
Look to those who build you up. Reach out to them for support. They may help you cope with job stress and feelings of resentment.
Assess Interests and Passions
Perhaps it is time to consider another job that aligns more readily with your interests or values.
The hopelessness that comes with burnout can feel insurmountable. However, if you take the time to honestly assess the source of your stressors and implement the above recommendations to reduce them, your situation can change. Look at this change as a turning point to a more sustainable career.
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