Continuous exposure to highly stressful work situations coupled with general lifestyle stress such as perfectionism, pessimism could cause the condition known as Burnout.
Burnout has been recognized as an occupational hazard for various people-oriented professions such as human services, education, and healthcare. This is so due to the intense level of personal, emotional contact that such providers develop with recipients. Although this relationship can be engaging and rewarding, it can also be highly stressful which could lead to being Burnt out.
What does the term Burnout mean?
Burnout is a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by prolonged excessive stress. It occurs when you feel overwhelmed, emotionally drained, and unable to meet constant demands. Gradually, you begin to lose interest and motivation.
Burnout reduces productivity and drains your energy, leaving you feeling increasingly helpless, hopeless, cynical, and resentful.
The term “Burnout” was first coined in 1974 by Herbert Freudenberger. In his book, Burnout: The High Cost of High Achievement. Herbert described the term ”Burnout” as the state of becoming exhausted by making excessive demands on energy, strength, or resources in a workplace.
The three dimensions of this prolonged exposure to a highly stressful workplace are; exhaustion, cynicism (less identification with the job), and feelings of reduced professional ability.
Signs And Symptoms
Burnout, however, is not always easy to spot as it is not psychologically diagnosed. With that in mind, consider the following as a guide to help you identify the signs of Burnout.
- Physical signs and symptoms – Exhaustion, lowered immunity, frequent illness, insomnia, lack of appetite, frequent headaches, muscle pains, etc.
- Emotional signs and symptoms include; Loss of motivation, detachment, sense of failure, and self-doubt.
- Behavioral signs and symptoms: Substance abuse, procrastination, isolation, withdrawal, venting on others, etc.
- Alienation from work-related activities.
Work Burnout can result from one or more of the following factors;
1. Work-life imbalance – Working too much, without enough time for socializing or relaxing.
2. Dysfunctional workplace dynamics
3. Lack of recognition or reward for good work.
4. Unclear job expectations
5. Doing work that is monotonous or unchallenging
6. Lack of support.
Prevention and Treatment
- Exercise – Not only is exercising good for our physical health, but it can also give us an emotional boost.
- Find a Balance – Take time to balance Work-life and Social life. Schedule vacations and time off work. Change jobs if possible, or find something more refreshing and exciting to do.
- Avoid Pessimistic people – Energies can be contagious. If you have to work with a negative person, try to limit the amount of time you spend with them.
- Set boundaries – Do not overextend yourself. Learn how to say “no” to requests on your time. If you find this difficult, remind yourself that saying “no” allows you to say “yes” to the commitments you want to make.
- Avoid nicotine. Smoking when you feel stressed may seem calming. Nicotine is a powerful stimulant, leading to higher, not lower, levels of anxiety.
- Seek Support – From friends, family, or support groups. In conclusion, We need to stop glamourizing overworking. The absence of sleep, good diet, relaxation, time with family and friends is not to be applauded. Take out time to Live, Love and Laugh… Selah!