Dr. Elisheva Jakobov-Assouline
In the fast-paced world we live in, it’s not uncommon to feel overwhelmed by the demands of daily life. Burnout is considered a widespread issue and the World Health Organization classifies it as “a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.” Burnout refers to a state of chronic physical and emotional exhaustion caused by prolonged exposure to high-stress levels. Typically, burnout happens in response to work stress. However, it can also occur in one’s personal life. In this blog post, we’ll delve into better understanding burnout, exploring its causes, symptoms, and most importantly, effective techniques to overcome it.
There are different factors leading to burnout, which include the following:
- Work overload: if you are working too many hours on too many tasks it can lead to burnout. Try to set realistic expectations and understand your limits. Don’t spread yourself too thin.
- Work-life imbalance: if you are struggling to balance both work and your personal life, it can lead to burnout. When your work life spills into your personal life, it can negatively impact your relationships with those closest to you. While it is difficult to obtain, try to incorporate the following to have a healthier work-life balance. Set clear boundaries between your work and personal life. Don’t mix work activities with your personal ones. Get into the habit of managing your time effectively. Start incorporating stress management tools such as practicing mindfulness or journaling, to name a few.
- Unhealthy work dynamic: if you are spending your days in a toxic working environment, it can easily lead to burnout. Try to focus on the positive aspects of your job, rather than spending your energy on aspects outside of your control.
- Repetition: performing repetitive tasks that are mind numbing can lead to burnout. Try to challenge yourself and force yourself out of your comfort zone.
- Lack of recognition and results: if you are not feeling recognized, valued, or accomplished at your job as well as not reaping the benefits of your work, it may feel daunting and lead to burnout.
What do symptoms look like if I am experiencing burnout? Recognizing the symptoms is imperative to overcoming burnout.
Symptoms can include physical, emotional, and behavioral:
- Physical: chronic fatigue, headaches, changes in sleep and appetite, gastrointestinal issues
- Emotional: increased irritability, persistent feelings of cynicism, detachment and lack of accomplishment
- Behavioral: withdrawal from activities, maladaptive coping mechanisms, reduced performance, increased absenteeism
How can I help someone struggling?
Burnout can be avoided. There is no need to suffer in silence.
- Try to schedule “me time”. Pencil it in on your calendar, otherwise, it will not happen. Engage in activities that make you feel alive. Or, perhaps try new adventures or learn new skills. By spicing things up a bit, it can avoid the feeling of dread and work exhaustion. gastrointestinal issues
- Learn to take things slow and small. Don’t set unrealistic goals for yourself. Start with accomplishing simple, small tasks. Once you have mastered those, you can try the harder stuff.
- Have a strong support system. Lean into them when times are hard. Ask for help when you can.
- Instead of rushing from activity to activity, schedule small breaks throughout your day. During this time, do something relaxing. Go for a five minute walk, call a friend, get fresh air, listen to music. By doing so, the goal is to feel rejuvenated and hopefully, you can master your next task with a little less exhaustion.
- Make sure you get enough sleep and consuming healthy meals.
If you are struggling with burnout, make changes before things take a worse. It often helps to ask yourself, “what do I need to subtract and add to my life to feel better? Think of the things you need to let go off (think unhealthy relationships), and the stuff you need to start implementing more of (think exercise). While burnout takes a negative toll, it can be addressed and one can recover fully from it.