Burnout happens when you experience prolonged periods of stress at work. It makes you feel mentally, physically and emotionally detached. It’s so bad that you are not able to muster up the motivation to do anything about it.
It is common to hear that someone is stressed out at work, but burnout is a more extreme version of being stressed. There is a difference between burnout and just being stressed. A stressed person feels it temporarily, maybe when there is an unreasonable deadline to meet. After that, they get back to feeling normal.
But if you’re experiencing burnout, even the met deadline cannot relieve you from how you feel. You still feel hopeless, drained out and demotivated. You’ve worked under pressure for so long that its effects are more difficult to undo.
When you’re stressed there is too much to do, but you still somehow feel like you will able to handle it. But when you’re burnt out, you feel like no matter how much you try to fix your situation, it will never get better —You feel hopeless. Here are few other signs that will help you understand if you’re burning out:
1. You feel negative about everything
You will see yourself being very pessimistic and saying things that you normally wouldn’t. You will be more sarcastic than usual and look at things with a hopeless perspective. You will start to sound no different than your mom cribbing about your dirty room.
Emotionally you would feel exhausted and with no drip of motivation. The prolonged stress has sucked the life out of you and you just cannot seem to snap out of it. It is normal to feel negative from time to time but when you notice that it is almost a constant, then it is a problem.
2. You’re constantly dissatisfied
You’re not happy and tend to blame everyone around you. Your bad mood gets you into arguments you would not usually engage in or you feel like cribbing a lot about the situation. Cribbing is the first sign of dissatisfaction and you will see that it encompasses your general view towards things.
3. You feel like absconding
If all you want to do is drop everything, and run away to the Himalayas to become a sadhu, it sounds like you’re giving into your fight or flight instincts. It is quite natural for us to want to run away from a situation that we feel is too challenging, it is built in us—a primitive instinct. Imagine if you want to resort to such a primitive instinct, how much you would want to avoid the situation.
4. You cannot seem to get anything right.
You’re not able to concentrate and you’re all over the place. Your performance drops from your normal quality, and what’s worse? You couldn’t care less. You’ve even lost motivation.
Your memory also takes a hit, forgetting to do things that are a habit. This is what happens when you are not able to recuperate properly from chronic stress.
5. You feel like you’re not getting enough sleep
Even after sleeping for more than the required hours, you will feel like it’s not enough. You still feel tired and a sort of lethargy sets in. Perhaps taking a nap when you were extremely tired used to work before, now it has no effect.
6. Frequently falling ill
Chronic stress decreases the strength of the immune system, this means that you are more likely to headaches, digestive problems, cold and anything you can commonly catch.
7. Losing confidence in yourself
Have you started wondering if you’re any good at all, or, that your career is just not working the way you wanted it to?
If you have had confidence in yourself all this while and suddenly feel it slipping, it is because of all the negativity playing tricks on your mind. Losing confidence is a red flag indicating burn out.
8. You’re just trying to get by
No longer are you interested in excelling or giving it your best shot. Your job just feels too monotonous and you fantasize about quitting. Keeping yourself motivated is not even a priority anymore.
If you can connect to the above symptoms, you definitely are burnt out. It’s a red flag for your professional and personal lives.
Do not worry though. There is nothing the human mind can’t accomplish.
How to Bounce Back From a Burnout?
A burn out can be counteracted by inculcating more positive experiences in your life. Positive Psychology Program says that to cope with the prolonged stress every stressful event needs to be followed up with three positive experiences to be able to balance out the negative one. You can do a few of the following things to restore balance in your life and combat that burnout:
- Consciously take some time out for friends or family who are there for you just relax with them. This means you’ll have to stop thinking about work and try to live in the moment to soak in all the positive vibes from your loved ones.
- Do something you love. Replace some work in your schedule with something that makes you happy, like reading a book or listening to music, whatever it might be. Allow yourself some time every day to take a break and relax without thinking about what is stressing you.
- Treat yourself and start paying attention to your body. Indulge yourself in some spa therapy or exercise to let those endorphins to their magic. Basically take care of yourself and make sure you keep yourself healthy.
- When you feel that work has demanded too much of you, talk to your boss and express your concerns about your slipping performance. By looking at it as an effort to redeem yourself and not as a confrontation, the results might be in your favor.
- Burnout can also be an effect of monotony. So, change it up a little. Approach it with a fresh perspective by organizing work in a way that favours your positive emotions.
- If you’re bored of your job, try to see if there is something else you can do. Enhance your current skills and learn something new to add value to your work.
- Switch off your phone and go off the grid for a few hours in a day. Use this time to recuperate. You don’t have to disconnect completely, but schedule separate time to check emails and answer calls or messages.
- If you just cannot take it anymore, take a vacation. Taking a break might be the best thing for you right now.
Essentially, take a chill pill and calm down! Things will be fine eventually.
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