You spend approximately a third of your adult life at work. Often your career defines and gives value to your life. The level of success in your job can be the primary criterion of your popularity and worth.
Because of this expectation of modern society, many people fall into the trap of working to the point that they are working themselves to death. Some are working way beyond their workload to prove to themselves they are on par with or surpass their company’s standards. They do it to the point that they forget about their personal needs and lose track of what they want to achieve in life. These people are likely to suffer burnout.
Burnout is when you experience physical and emotional fatigue. It can surface while you are undergoing long-term stress in your career. It also can occur when you have worked in a role that drains you physically or emotionally for an extended period. You also can experience it when you consider yourself a failure in reaching your expected outcome at work, even though you put your best efforts into it.
People at risk of burnout
People react differently to their jobs. Below are some who are more likely to burnout at work:
- Those who identify so strongly with work they lack a reasonable work-life balance.
- Those who try to please everyone to the point that they compromise themselves just to accommodate others.
- Those who work in social service or similar helping professions such as healthcare, counseling or teaching. Those who sense they have little or no control over their work. Some people quickly lose their grip on their lives because they lack assertiveness.
- Those who are stuck in monotonous jobs. Occupations that fail to stimulate or interest you can cause burnout.
Are you one of the people at high risk of burnout? Check if you are experiencing any of these burnout symptoms:
- Fatigue– You feel exhausted physically, emotionally and intellectually. You feel as if your energy is completely spent.
- Loss of motivation– You have lost enthusiasm, and you are just dragging your feet to work.
- Becoming more cynical and having other negative emotions– Aside from losing your drive to work, you might experience negative emotions, such as pessimism and disillusionment. You become more critical of your work.
- Cognitive problems– You may often be distracted and inattentive at your job. You even can be more focused on the details of the possible adverse outcomes of your tasks.
- Slipping job performance– The quality of your performance at work drops because of negative thoughts and decreased interest and focus on your job.
- Interpersonal problems at home and work– Your disappointment and negativity are not only confined to your workplace; they can extend to your family and circle of friends.
- Not taking care of yourself– You begin neglecting your personal health and hygiene by engaging in bad habits such as eating junk food and skipping exercise.
- Decreased overall satisfaction– Your passion for life dwindles as a result of being occupied with your workload and responsibilities.
- Preoccupation with work while away from work– You become so tied to your work that you are thinking about it even during your leisure time and while bonding with your family and friends.
- Health problems– Over an extended period, severe chronic stress brought about by burnout can create serious health problems, such as digestive problems, heart disease, depression and obesity.
Ways to relieve burnout
If you think you are experiencing burnout, there are many ways to combat it and the numerous dangers it poses. If you are one of those people at risk, or if you are experiencing any burnout symptoms, follow these steps:
Figure out if your work is in line with your life purpose
It is never too late to find and fulfill your life purpose. Many people are working without an apparent reason apart from making money. One way to discover your purpose is to take the Eulogy Test. Imagine you are at your funeral. What would you want your family, friends, colleagues and other people to say about you? If your work does not contribute to what they might say, you either change your perspective about your job or find another career that will lead you to fulfill your life purpose.
Conduct a job analysis
If your workload makes you feel swamped, see if you are doing more than what is expected of your job description. Negotiate with your employer/supervisor if you believe they are overloading you with tasks.
Take control of your work
Be proactive in your career. Reassess your job goals. Volunteer to take tasks that will help you reach your goals and say “no” to the extra tasks that do not contribute to them.
Use your vacation time
Getting drowned in too many tasks and information is one cause of burnout. To temporarily get out of the humdrum of your daily job, get out of your workspace and travel outside your familiar sphere.
Experiencing burnout often leads to a gloomy mood and pessimism. A regular workout session can boost your production of endorphins, your “happy hormone,” which can relieve mental, emotional and physical stress.
Learn to manage stress
Aside from exercise, there are other methods to reduce stress. Getting quality sleep every night is one such method. Another is engaging in mindfulness exercises and positive thinking.
Providing assistance to others and engaging in volunteer work can uplift your spirits and boost your self-worth.