It’s a challenge to define what burnout is and even more difficult to intercept it before it’s too advanced. Most people only become aware that they suffer from burnout when it’s progressed too far and then their challenge is to start dealing with the symptoms while also have to negotiate the stresses that caused the burnout in the first place.
If your work and family life are both consistently stressful then you are almost certain to get burnout at some stage. If you keep an eye out for any early indications and making proactive changes while you have the will and strength it makes it easier to prevent total burnout. Study has found that those working in corporate environments face a higher risk of burnout towards the end of the year as people will not have taken leave for some months. It is critical that people are particularly keeping an eye out for burnout over November and December.
Over engaging is a symptom of high stress levels. Going to sleep and waking up thinking about a problem or a deadline is a perfect example of over-engagement. When you start to withdraw from your work or personal problems and avoid or ignore them then warning bells should start sounding.
Stress usually manifests as a sense of urgency, often resulting in erratic behavior. Anyone facing imminent deadlines knows how this feels. Burnout however is displayed by inadequacy and helplessness. No matter what you do you feel that nothing is going to affect the situation or arrive at any real progress.
Emotions become exaggerated and more difficult to manage when you are under stress. You become angry and upset far too easy. Numbed emotions are a symptom of burnout. With burnout you feel that you don’t have the energy or desire to react emotionally to situations, or that you simply cannot get excited or worried at all.
If you have started showing some or all of these symptoms then you more than likely are approaching burnout. You can make positive steps to minimize the severity and result of burnout.
When you have one issue that is causing overwhelming levels of stress it’s easy to ignore or reduce other issues in your life that may be a factor in your burnout. Start the day by drinking a glass of water then writing out all that things that bring stress in to your work or personal life, even the ones that you feel you have no power to change, then rank these by level of importance to you and then you will know which issues to address first.
This may seem like an insurmountable challenge to start with but the key is to just start on one. You will soon find that many of the problems only existed because you didn’t have the strength or courage to correct them. This is very critical in your workspace as most employers and managers would rather take the required steps to assist you through your burnout, rather than lose you. The following are the most important steps.
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