Burnout is the state where people start feeling out of work and exhausted. The symptoms of burnout may also include feeling demotivated and disengaged regarding your job. Burnouts come uninvited and without warning. One day you could be working beyond your limit, and the next day you might feel like your bones are hurting, and you wouldn’t even want to move. With all this, stress and exhaustion come along. This is when you know your brain is fried and you are completely burned out.
Sometimes, people don’t even realize that they have burnout. Instead, they blame something else for feeling like that. This is the reason why it is very important to recognize the symptoms of burnout.
What is Burnout?
Everyone who works hard has experienced burnout at least once in his/her life. It is the state where you cannot get rid of the slump. Herbert Freudenberger, a German psychologist, described burnout as “A severe stress condition that leads to severe physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion.”
Burnout is not like usual fatigue; it is way worse than that. It’s hard for people to cope with stress when they are facing burnout. While you are going through this phase, you may feel like you have nothing to give out, i.e., productivity. You can even become pessimistic and hopeless.
Signs of a Burnout
- Feeling empty.
- Pessimistic approach to everything you do at work.
- Going to work becomes an arduous task to do, and even when you are there, you want to leave as soon as possible.
- Having no energy to do a task.
- Sleep issues and insomnia.
- Physical issues, such as headache, backache, and fatigue.
- Feeling of purposelessness.
- Easily irritable.
- Not being able to accept your own mistakes.
- Thoughts of quitting work.
The Stages of a Burnout
Burnout doesn’t get you all at once; instead, it comes in stages. Sometimes people are going through the stages without knowing it’s because of burnout. It is easier to identify it if you know the stages of it.
The Honeymoon Stage
This stage when people undertake a new job or task and get overjoyed. In this phase, you will experience predicted stress caused by the task or job you have undertaken. This stress can be prevented by taking steps to implement positive coping strategies. This stage’s symptoms may include high productivity levels, compulsion to prove your stamina, increased energy levels, and working more than you can do.
This is the second stage of burnout, where you start realizing that not every day can be easy, and there are hard days too. You might also lose your positive thinking attitude and suffer from common stress symptoms, such as high blood pressure, irritability, isolation, unproductiveness, anxiety, headaches, fatigue, forgetfulness, and inability to focus on work.
The third stage is chronic stress. This is when you start noticing notable changes in your stress levels, from being motivated to feeling stressed all of a sudden. The symptoms may be more intense than stage two. You may experience resentfulness, extreme tiredness, and physical illness.
The fourth stage is burnout itself. The symptoms may become critical, and continuing your work like your normal routine wouldn’t be possible. People have their unique tolerance limits, and you may need to look for help at this stage, as the symptoms can make you collapse.
This is the fifth and the last stage of burnout that happens after a very long burnout experience; its symptoms start becoming a part of your lifestyle. People experience ongoing mental, emotional, and physical problems at this stage instead of experiencing them occasionally. The common symptoms include depression and chronic sadness
So how do we prevent burnout, especially at work?
Ways to Prevent Burnout at Work
No matter what the issue is, there is always a way to prevent adverse outcomes. When you work too much and stay under tremendous stress for too long, you will most likely suffer from burnout. Workaholics mostly forget that their bodies need some break from the exhausting routine they follow every day.
Following are some tips for everyone who has been through burnout or wants to prevent it from happening.
1. Take a Break
As a human, it’s your absolute right to get off of work for a while. A break doesn’t mean that you will still be staying in touch with your work somehow; it means completely cutting yourself off from work for some time. For example, you can go on a vacation with your loved ones. Quality time spent with your family or friends will help you refresh your mind and re-energize yourself for the future.
By taking a break, you prevent burnout because usually, people experience burnout because they work without proper breaks. Remember, the mini 10-minute intervals don’t count in this condition. However, mini-break during office hours can help you stay motivated when you cannot go on a vacation.
2. Make Sure To Get Enough Sleep
Never ruin your sleeping routine for work; occasional all-nighters are acceptable to an extent but making it a habit is certainly not a great idea. By staying up all night and working beyond your limits, you are making sure for burnout to take you off of work. Balance your work and personal times; try your best not to mix them up. Your personal time must include healthy sleep timing too. Sleep is the only way the human body recharges itself for a new day. You cannot expect your body to keep working without getting proper sleep.
3. Make Exercising a Habit
Exercising will not only keep your physical health maintained and stable, but it also has a significant impact on mental health. If you succeed in making exercise a regular thing, you are ensured for an emotional boost every day because exercising helps your mind relax and stay motivated.
Even if you don’t have enough time on hand, you can at least manage to take out 10 to 20 minutes for yourself in a day of 24 long hours. The gym is not a necessity here; you can also work out at your home; the main focus is your mental health. You can go for short walks or simply do a fifteen-minute mini workout in your living room.
4. Focus on a Job That Makes You Happy
People tend to get more exhausted when the job they do is not the one they love. This is the reason why you must pursue your passion and do the job that you love. When you have a genuine interest in something, it tires you lesser than the things you are not interested in. not everything has to be about money; being passionate and happy about doing a job is more important.
Working with a purpose instead of just getting a paycheck can help you prevent burnout. Even if you don’t have a goal right now, you still have time to rediscover it.
5. Managing Stress is Important
We usually underestimate short-term stress, which can also contribute to severe burnout. Several strategies can help anyone cope with stress. You can keep a stress diary to write down what things in your daily routine cause you stress. Meditation and some other relaxation techniques, i.e., progressive muscular relaxation and centering, can help manage stress and keep yourself calm. Furthermore, practicing positive thinking can help you manage your emotion when going through any stressful situation.
Burnout is a serious issue and must not be ignored at any cost. Most people ignore their health and wellbeing while working. However, one must remember that health should be your priority. Severe burnouts can result in serious health problems, both mental and physical. However, it can be avoided by taking good care of yourself. Even if you have long working hours, make sure you don’t forget to add some joy to your routine. This is why it is necessary to recognize burnout symptoms and take precautionary measures to prevent one.