How to Recognize and Beat Burnout
Burnout is one of the major reasons why employees leave their jobs.
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Burnout, coined in 1974 by Herbert Freudenberger, an American-German psychologist, is a situation where you mentally or physically collapse due to workload or related issues. It's mainly due to stress which can be caused by financial issues, heavy responsibilities and even failure to meet expectations. Around 62 percent of employees are said to be stressed and go through burnout at some stage. It is also one of the major reasons why employees quit.
Burnout is a bad phase and can cause several issues in one's personal and professional life. It is a major cause of employees taking sick days and early retirement. Many European nations are taking major steps to control burnout, including imposing fines on employers and giving long paid leaves to employees.
But, The United States seems to be far behind in trying to control work burnout. The government is yet to properly address the ubiquity of the situation in the country, even though the conditions are worse than other countries. American workers generally work longer hours than workers in Canada, Australia and most European countries. And not just this, the U.S. is one of the very few developed countries that does not guarantee paid vacations. And it is also yet to guarantee paid parental leave. In such a situation it becomes important for employees to wake up and take notice of their own health. To help you fight burnout better, given below are some signs that indicate you're inching towards it.
1. Lifestyle choices.
Sudden lifestyle changes (positive to negative) are indication of burnout. This is because a person who is on the verge of burnout does not care much about healthy lifestyle choices and lacks the motivation to take care of his or her health. Such a person may also turn to alcohol to take them away from what is troubling them.
It is okay to worry about work even when you are at home, but if you find yourself thinking about it at all times then it's time to worry. Overthinking does not only cause stress but also prevents you from enjoying other activities. It is an indication of burnout and requires immediate attention.
If you find yourself to be suddenly negative about everything in life, you need to sit and think about the causes of such a behavioral change. Staying irritated at all times and snapping too often are also indications of what's to come.
4. Difficulty In managing relationships.
Stress bleeds over into almost everything you do, particularly how you deal with people. Even if you feel that you are handling your stress properly at work, it might begin to cause cracks in your relationships. Stress causes people to be less patient and get involved in unnecessary arguments. Some even completely withdraw themselves and begin to avoid friends and family. This withdrawal may cause stress to worsen even more.
5. Health issues.
In my last company I was required to work long hours. This meant not taking care of my health. Long hours lead to eating unhealthy. Late night networking events lead to excessive drinking. This lead to the start of my internal destruction. This lead to me to the 12-Step Program where I learned a lot about some of the destructive things I was doing.
Burnout has a huge negative impact on your mental as well as physical health. My job was directly linked to my health issues, including headaches, fever, backaches and even cardiovascular issues. If you feel that you are starting to fall sick more often, you need to look at what may be causing the situation.
If you recognize these symptoms in yourself, do not worry. Fighting and coping burnout is easy once you have the right information. It is largely a matter of self-care. You need to separate yourself from work and concentrate more on refueling your mind and body.
Here are some tips on how to do this:
1. Take a vacation.
Reports indicate that U.S. workers are too tired to take a vacation. This is a mistake that can cause them to "continue being tired' and eventually burnout. It is important to separate yourself from your work and go on a holiday, far away from the tensions of the world. If you cannot travel, merely taking off from work will pay off since your mind and body will get a chance to rejuvenate and you will come back more energized.
2. Do not bring work home.
Make it a habit to complete all your work at office instead of choosing to take it home. The option to work from home may sound tempting, but it is less beneficial in the long-run. Working at home will cause you to worry about work even while you're home and may even prohibit you from enjoying life. Never bite more than what you can chew, and only take on work you can easily handle.
3. Talk about your situation.
If you feel stressed, make it a point to fall back on your support system and talk about your situation. You do not always need professional help, merely speaking to your friends and family can prove to be beneficial.
It is important to know the cause of your situation to be able to treat it. Turn to a professional if none of these strategies work for you.