What is Burnout?
Burnout is a mixture of emotional, physical and psychological exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. It occurs when you feel overwhelmed, exhausted and unable to meet the constant demands that is unfolding around you.
Burnout can happen to anyone but people that are more prone to the spiral of burnout are often :
- Perfectionists – nothing is ever good enough
- The need to strive to keep others happy
- An excessive workload with little support from your boss or colleagues or unable to ask for support
- People whose identity is heavily in work
- Imposter syndrome
- The need to be in control; reluctance to delegate to others
However, it can happen to anyone when we fail to see the warning signs or feel the need to ‘keep powering though’ regardless of the impact.
Signs of Burnout:
Burnout can be accompanied by a variety of emotional and physical symptoms including:
- Chronic fatigue
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Diminished concentration and forgetfulness
- Anxiety and low mood
- Loss of interest in your job, in people and life
- Loss of appetite
- Increased physical illness
- Increased irritability
- Shortness of breath
- Isolation and detachment
- You don’t have enough time in your day to complete all the tasks
- You notice you are reactive more frequently
- Working long hours and difficulty relaxing
- Comparing yourself to your colleagues and other business people
- Constantly checking your work phone and emails
- Increased worry
- Reduced motivation
- Your work and personal life are off balance
- Arguing with your manager, colleagues and in home life
- Increased mistakes
- Inability to relax
- Poor self-care with food, sleep and exercise
Tips on managing burnout:
Learn to delegate: Begin to let go of control and the need to do everything. Give to others and actively manage your time to be productive and reduce burnout. Ask yourself: do you have the time, do you have the energy and is it healthy? If you answer them honestly you would say ‘no’ a lot more.
Set boundaries:Don’t overextend yourself. It is healthy to say ‘no’ when your workload is too much. Too often people say yes even when they don’t want to, if you find yourself in this situation you may need to reflect more on why you find it hard to say no and work towards overcoming this. We can’t keep everyone happy and we can’t do it all. Also, don’t underestimate how long it may take to get tasks done. If you take on too much you won’t catch up and therefore will remain feeling like you can never catch up and the cycle continues.
Connect with your values: Is your job in line with your values? Our values give us meaning, purpose and direction. Research shows that living in line with our values increases happiness and keeps us healthy and grounded.
Ask for help: Everyone needs support. Let go of any self-criticism that may fuel burnout or acts as a barrier to change. Take action and reach out to friends, family, your GP a therapist or your manager.
Find balance in your life: Too often we let go of areas of nourishment and feel depleted. It is important to leave work on time and not carry it into your personal life. Increase the areas of nourishment in your life – exercise, healthy eating, reduce screen time, let go of distraction. The main aim is to review how many hours you work with how much time it is spilling into your personal life. Take committed action to find your healthy balance.
Time to act
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms take committed action immediately. Burnout won’t go away on its own, it is important to actively make healthy changes to reduce and eliminate this amount of stress.
If you are suffering from work related burnout and struggling to make healthy changes, Cognitive Behaviour Therapy and Mindfulness Based Skills can help. Contact the Consulting Clinic for more information:
Phone: 01 6859261
© The Consulting Clinic, 2019