You spend approximately a third of your adult life at work. Often your career defines and gives value to your lives. The level and amount of success in your job is the primary criterion of your popularity and worth.
Because of this expectation by modern society, many people fall into the trap of working their hearts out to the point that they are overworking themselves to death. Some are working way beyond their workload to prove to themselves that they are on par with or surpass their company’s standards to the point that they already forget about their personal needs and losing track of what they want to achieve in life. These kind of people are likely to have burnout.
Burnout is a condition where you experience physical and emotional fatigue. It can surface when you undergo a long-term stress in your career. It can also take place when you have worked in a role that drains you physically or emotionally for an extended period. You can also experience it when you consider yourself a failure in reaching your expected outcome at work even though you put your best efforts to it.
People at risk of burning out
People react differently to their jobs. Below are some who are more likely to burn out in work:
• Those who identify so strongly with work that they lack a reasonable work-life balance.
• Those who try to please everyone to the point that they compromise their self just to accommodate others.
• Those who work in a helping, social professions such as health care, 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 of lack of assertiveness skills.
• Those who are stuck in monotonous jobs. Occupations that fails to stimulate or interest you can burn you out.
Are you one of the people at high risk of being burned out? Check out if you are currently experiencing burnout:
• 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 just 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 to your job. You can even be more focused on the details of the possible adverse outcomes of your task.
• Slipping job performance – The quality of your performance at work drops because of negative thoughts and decreased interest and focus in your job.
• Interpersonal problems at home and work – Your disappointment and negativity are not only confined to your office; it can extend to your family and circle of friends.
• Not taking care of yourself – You begin to neglect your personal health and hygiene by engaging in bad habits such as eating junk foods 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 office – You become too much tied to your work that you are thinking about it even during your leisure times and 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 belong to the people at risk or you are experiencing any symptoms of burnout take the following steps to overcome it:
• Find out if your work is in line with your life purpose – It is never too late to find your life purpose and to realize it. 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 descriptions would you want your family, friends, colleagues, and other people say about you? If your work does not contribute to their descriptions, you may either change your perspective about your job or find another career that will lead you to fulfill your life purpose.
• Make a job analysis – If you feel you are swamped with a ton of workload, 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 leave – Getting drowned in too much 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 to outside your familiar sphere.
• Exercise regularly – Experiencing burnout often lead you to a gloomy mood and pessimism. A regular session of workouts can boost the production of endorphin, your happy hormone. That can relieve mental, emotional and physical stress.
• Learn to manage stress – Aside from exercise, there are other ways to reduce stress. Getting quality sleep every night is one such method, another is through doing mindfulness exercise and positive thinking.
• Extend help – Providing assistance to others and volunteer work in various ways can uplift your emotions and boost your self-worth.
Ethan Wright is currently a writer and researcher