BURNOUT: Characterised by ‘Every day is a bad day’ and ‘Nothing matters any more’.
Difference between stress and burnout
Stress can kill you prematurely, but with burnout you already feel like the walking dead. As the saying goes, the lights are on, but nobody’s home.
|Primarily physical damage
Over-engaged, over-reactive, hyperactive
|Primarily emotional damage
Burnout has a negative effect on all aspects of your life including your outlook, relationships, job function, output, social life, spiritual connection, and performance.
Physical signs of burnout
- Compromised immunity, getting sick often, coughs, colds, flu.
- Chronic headaches, backache and other aches and pains.
- Change in eating and /or sleeping habits.
- Feeling exhausted, drained.
- More stress symptoms
Mental signs of burnout
- Cognitive impairments; nonverbal memory reduced and auditory and visual attention compromised.
Emotional signs of burnout
- Often feeling helpless, hopeless, defeated, alienated, disillusioned, dissatisfied, cynical, misunderstood, empty, unappreciated.. and so on.
- Negative outlook on life.
- Self-doubt, sense of being a failure, lack of enthusiasm, zero motivation.
- No sense of accomplishment.
Behavioural signs of burnout
- Being hyper-critical, irritable.
- Isolation and withdrawal from responsibilities.
- Using substances [drugs, alcohol, food, tv, or other mind-numbing activities] to cope.
- Blaming and taking frustration out on others.
- Being in denial.
- Going AWOL, skipping work, leaving early, arriving late.
- Neglecting own needs and hygiene.
Just wanna curl up in a ball?
… Depressed, miserable, don’t want to see anyone, can’t find the energy to move, get upset at the least provocation, freak out when normally you would hardly bat en eyelid… are all clear signs that you need a change….
Change your outlook
Your pre-disposition plays a large role in your predisposition towards burnout and stress-related problems. Find out if you are at risk and how to deal with it, cope better, and make it go away.
Shortlist: 5-step plan to deal with burnout
- Take time off. Get out of your normal milieu. Get new perspective.
- Ask for support and learn how to say “NO!”
- Have a vision and goals. Know what’s important and what your priorities are.
- Plan your day, including time to replenish (to pull yourself towards yourself, i.e. smell the roses, contemplate your navel, or do nothing).
- Learn to identify your stress triggers and manage your stress better. Find outlets for too much stress.
Obviously this will help and you already know this and how to do it, but it is only half the solution. A bigger problem is that if you are in burnout, you are already at the point where you couldn’t care less, don’t have the energy and are asking ‘why should I’? Everything just seems like a burden and you already can’t /won’t/don’t want to cope. This is especially so if you are a one-man show, you are the company and can’t take leave, or you are in the middle of a critical project and your boss won’t give you leave. There are many reasons why we get into ‘it’ (the situation, environment, circumstances). The problem is that if we are in ‘it’ we often can’t see how to get out of ‘it’.
This is where we, Stressbusters, come in. We help you get out of your ‘stuck-ness’ so that you can get out, do your ‘thing’, whatever that is, and get into a much better ‘groove’.