How To Avoid Or Overcome Burnout

Burnout is often called almost one of the main companions of modern man. More and more people of various professions are faced with this state of exhaustion, which deprives them of their strength and paralyzes their feelings. In today’s article, we want to tell you about how to notice signs  and then overcome burnout in time by taking action at the right time.

The first time burnout was spoken about was only a few decades ago. Since then, the intensity of life and its content have changed tremendously, and every year the number of people who are “burned out” at work or in some other field is growing. More recently, even the World Health Organization recognized burnout at work as a true medical diagnosis. Today we want to tell how to distinguish burnout from other problems and to detect it in time, and therefore to neutralize it.

Burnout is not just stress or depression

Specialists call burnout a psychological defense mechanism. In this, it looks like stress, but there are several significant differences between the two. Burnout is indicated by many physical and emotional signals . The body tells us that something is wrong, frequent illnesses, insomnia, chronic fatigue, changes in eating behavior, memory impairment. As for the feelings and perception of the world, a burned out person looks at life with cynicism and indifference, and in general he feels apathy, unwillingness to communicate, is faced with bouts of anger or anxiety, cannot enjoy even that which he loved very much before.

Such a sad state is also a consequence of stress. However, stress is tension in situations where we need to make a large amount of effort, and there is still the opportunity to take control of the situation and deal effectively . Burnout is closely linked to a sense of indifference and a lack of hope for any positive changes. Stress somehow accompanies us every day, and often they are even useful, but burnout develops for a long time and gradually. One of the signals is the rate of adaptation to the source of stress and the changed situation. If you navigate and find the right solution it turns out quickly enough – this is stress. If each time you cope worse and worse in similar situations, then this is a burnout sign.

Depression is also similar to burnout: it is also accompanied by a loss of interest in almost all areas of life. The main difference from burnout is that depression is a generalized condition , that is, not necessarily associated with any specific circumstances. But at the initial stages of burnout, people are often still quite productive, for example at work, and are optimistic, satisfied in something else, for example, in sports and hobbies. Even depressive states are often accompanied by feelings of guilt, while anger becomes a burnout companion.

If we talk about the physical condition, then ordinary fatigue differs from burnout in that you can cope with it and then recover quickly enough. For example, after intensive training a person feels tired, but it is positive – there is a feeling of satisfaction, pleasure from what has been achieved. Burnout is a complete loss of strength, which is accompanied by a sense of futility of all efforts and does not go away, even if you try something that previously always helped to relax and switch.

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Burnout stages

There are many models for the development of burnout, but in general they include four stages.

  1. The first stage is the appearance of fatigue and tension. Perhaps interest in work and work is slightly reduced, the first signs of insomnia may appear. It also happens that the motivation remains very high, but burnout is already beginning: for example, you are involved in a project that is very important to you and give it a lot of time and energy to the detriment of your own health.
  2. At the next stage, quite strong experiences and a feeling of accumulating stress already appear.
  3. At the third stage, the symptoms become chronic, the body and psyche give the first glitches: exhaustion appears, immunity decreases, more and more often a person is annoyed, depressed.
  4. At the last stage, physical and emotional exhaustion is manifested – all those symptoms that we have already talked about. And this is the stage at which the hardest to cope.

Why do we burnout?

Most often, the causes of burnout are associated with professional activities, but you can get to this point in any area of ​​life and at any stage. All of them can be reduced to one thing – an excessive load on the human nervous system. And although it is designed to cope even with such serious tasks as experiencing the loss of a loved one, the system fails if the voltage lasts too long.

At work, people come to total exhaustion when faced with the following problems:

  • There is no feeling of involvement in the result or satisfaction with it, the ability to control their work.
  • There is no positive feedback for a job well done.
  • There is no clear understanding of professional tasks and expectations – both their own and those of management and colleagues.
  • Boring and monotonous tasks that do not give any movement and development.
  • Poor organization of processes, chaos and increased pressure.

Burnout contributes to the lifestyle that you lead. Among the risk factors :

  • The habit of processing, lack of time for sleep, relaxation, communication.
  • Lack or lack of support from loved ones.
  • Great responsibility for the results without the ability to delegate something or share it with others.

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And of course, there are people who are more prone to burnout than others, since the causes of this phenomenon are in many respects closely related to character and personal qualities. Thus, low self-esteem, a tendency to perfectionism, excessive demands on oneself, negative thinking, a desire for control or over-achievements can easily lead to sad consequences if nothing is done about it.

In the pursuit of great victories and achievements, it is easy to forget about really important things. But the main thing is to be in touch and in harmony with ourselves, because all our successes are closely connected with the various resources that we have. And these internal sources of energy must be maintained and replenished: to maintain a balance of life, to take care of health, to notice signs of fatigue or excessive stress in time, and to find the right solutions in a timely manner.