We've all been in a position where we've reached our limit. As we approach arguably the busiest month of the year, we look at burnout - what is it and more importantly, how to prevent it...
We’ve all been in the position where we’ve reached a limit. If you are always exhausted, irritable, in a low mood, lacking focus, you could be feeling as if you’re on a perpetual treadmill of drudgery. Whether it’s at work or home, these kinds of feelings are a great big red flag for burnout. Burnout is a state of being that occurs when we feel overwhelmed, exhausted and disillusioned by an ongoing situation. That could be in the workplace, at home, in a relationship – or all three combined.
True, anyone can become exhausted, but burnout generally happens to people who are highly committed to their work or their extra-curricular activities. To burnout, one has to have been alight in the first place. That’s the difference between exhaustion and burnout.
There are physical symptoms, which may include having trouble sleeping, lacking in energy, headaches, illness, backache, general exhaustion. But the main symptoms manifest themselves emotionally. Someone heading towards burnout may find themselves feeling negative, emotionally drained, lonely, irritated with colleagues or family members, undervalued and generally unappreciated. Burnout can be caused by:
Short term measures like having a day off or taking some annual leave are common tactics for preventing burnout. But to get to the heart of the problem, solutions need to be long term. Identifying the root problem can often determine the best course of action. Are you part of a dysfunctional team at work? Do you feel undervalued by your boss or family members? Do you lack a sense of purpose? Would you like some recognition and acknowledgement for everything you do? Once you know the cause of your burnout, it’s easier to address those problems head-on.
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