As a professional coach I sometimes have people come to me who are not aware they’re in burnout mode. They think something else is wrong. Something circumstantial. Their job or relationship or life in general sucks. But sometimes they are just plain burnt out and don’t know it. I work with them to help them get back on track. Together we re-evaluate priorities, set personal boundaries and re-create a life that is more manageable. Self care becoming a major priority.
What is burnout?
We manage stress on a daily basis but sometimes we reach overload. Burnout is a state of emotional, mental, and physical exhaustion which is a response to constant levels of unchecked stress.
From my observation it’s a little like the car that has been running for some time but someone neglected to replace the oil. Eventually the engine seizes completely and even though we put our foot to the floor there is nothing there. Or we have put too much data on the hard drive and one day we turn the computer on, it crashes and we are unable to reboot.
Our get up and go got up and went. Most of the time people don’t realize they are approaching burnout or even when it’s happening. It’s like the boiling frog syndrome. We become accustomed to high levels of stress and are not completely conscious or aware of the impact this is having on us emotionally, mentally or physically.
Sometimes we know we are near the edge but feel like we are managing it okay. Then something will hit us from left field like a retrenchment, relationship breakup, death in the family, diagnosis of an illness and the reserves we need to cope with those events are just not there. We crash!
What causes burnout?
Simply put, it is caused by excessive and prolonged stress or activity and lack of self maintenance.
Symptoms of burnout?
These can be emotional, physical or behavioural
- Feeling overwhelmed (emotional) -There is too much to do. I don’t have the time.
- Sense of hopelessness (emotional) – This is never going to work.
- Sense of powerlessness (emotional) -This is never going to change
- Becoming cynical (emotional) -Nobody cares really. Everyone is apathetic
- Feelings of resentment (emotional) – Towards people, organizations or even the community. No-one understands how much I give.
- Anger (emotional) – I am really pissed off
- Emotional outbursts (emotional) – Tears, flying off the handle. Having a meltdown.
- Depression (emotional) – Woe is me
- Depletion of energy (physical) – I am not as motivated as I used to be
- Decreased satisfaction and sense of accomplishment (emotional) – I don’t get the same buzz out of the wins any more
- Change in appetite or sleeping patterns (behavioural) – I am skipping meals and no longer have a good night’s sleep
- Using food, drugs, or alcohol to cope (behavioural) – I am not having as many alcohol free nights per week as I used to
- Feeling tired and drained most of the time (physical) – I am exhausted
- More prone to illnesses and headaches etc. (physical)
Any of this sound familiar 15 things to do to make yourself burnout resistant/proof
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