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Stress Management-How do you prevent a Burnout?


If constant stress has you feeling disillusioned, helpless, and completely worn out, you may be suffering from burnout.

What is a burnout?

Burnout is a state of emotional, mental, and physical exhaustion caused by excessive stress. Burnout reduces your productivity and saps your energy, leaving you feeling increasingly helpless, hopeless, cynical, and resentful.

Do you have a burnout?

  1. Every day is a bad day.
  2. Caring about your work or home life seems like a total waste of energy.
  3. You’re exhausted all the time.
  4. The majority of your day is spent on tasks you find either mind-numbingly dull or overwhelming.
  5. You feel like nothing you do makes a difference or is appreciated.

The negative effects of burnout spill over into every area of life – including your home and social life. Burnout can also cause long-term changes to your body that make you vulnerable to illnesses like colds and flu. Because of its many consequences, it’s important to deal with burnout right away.

The difference between stress and burnout
Burnout may be the result of unrelenting stress, but it isn’t the same as too much stress.

Stress vs. Burnout



Characterized by over engagement

Characterized by disengagement

Emotions are overreactive

Emotions are blunted

Produces urgency and hyperactivity

Produces helplessness and hopelessness

Loss of energy

Loss of motivation, ideals, and hope

Leads to anxiety disorders

Leads to detachment and depression

Primary damage is physical

Primary damage is emotional

May kill you prematurely

May make life seem not worth living


What are the causes of burnout

There are many causes of burnout. In many cases, burnout stems from your job.   

Work-related causes of burnout

  1. Feeling like you have little or no control over your work
  2. Lack of recognition or rewards for good work
  3. Unclear or overly demanding job expectations
  4. Doing work that’s monotonous or unchallenging
  5. Working in a chaotic or high-pressure environment

Lifestyle causes of burnout

  1. Working too much, without enough time for relaxing and socializing
  2. Being expected to be too many things to too many people
  3. Taking on too many responsibilities, without enough help from others
  4. Not getting enough sleep
  5. Lack of close, supportive relationships

Personality traits can contribute to burnout

  1. Perfectionistic tendencies; nothing is ever good enough
  2. Pessimistic view of yourself and the world
  3. The need to be in control; reluctance to delegate to others
  4. High-achieving, Type A personality

Warning signs and symptoms of burnout

Burnout is a gradual process that occurs over an extended period of time. It doesn’t happen overnight, but it can creep up on you if you’re not paying attention to the warning signals. The signs and symptoms of burnout are subtle at first, but they get worse and worse as time goes on.
Think of the early symptoms of burnout as warning signs or red flags that something is wrong that needs to be addressed. If you pay attention to these early warning signs, you can prevent a major breakdown. If you ignore them, you’ll eventually burn out.

Physical signs and symptoms of burnout

  1. Feeling tired and drained most of the time
  2. Lowered immunity, feeling sick a lot
  1. Frequent headaches, back pain, muscle aches
  2. Change in appetite or sleep habits

Emotional signs and symptoms of burnout

  1. Sense of failure and self-doubt
  2. Feeling helpless, trapped, and defeated
  3. Detachment, feeling alone in the world
  1. Loss of motivation
  2. Increasingly cynical and negative outlook
  3. Decreased satisfaction and sense of accomplishment

Behavioural signs and symptoms of burnout

  1. Withdrawing from responsibilities
  2. Isolating yourself from others
  3. Procrastinating, taking longer to get things done
  1. Using food, drugs, or alcohol to cope
  2. Taking out your frustrations on others
  3. Skipping work or coming in late and leaving early

How do you Prevent burnout

If you recognize the warning signs of impending burnout in yourself, remember that it will only get worse if you leave it alone.

Burnout prevention tips

  1. Start the day with a relaxing ritual. Spend at least fifteen minutes meditating, writing in your journal, doing gentle stretches, or reading something that inspires you.
  2. Adopt healthy eating, exercising, and sleeping habits. When you eat right, engage in regular physical activity, and get plenty of rest, you have the energy and resilience to deal with life’s hassles and demands. 
  3. Set boundaries. Don’t overextend yourself.
  4. Take a daily break from technology. Put away your laptop, turn off your phone, and stop checking email.
  5. Nourish your creative side. Creativity is a powerful antidote to burnout. Try something new, start a fun project, or resume a favourite hobby.
  6. Learn how to manage stress. When you’re on the road to burnout, you may feel helpless. But you have a lot more control over stress than you may think.

        Recovering from burnout

Sometimes it’s too late to prevent burnout – you’re already past the breaking point. If that’s the case, it’s important to take your burnout very seriously. While the tips for preventing burnout are still helpful at this stage, recovery requires additional steps.

Burnout recovery strategy #1: Slow down

When you’ve reached the end stage of burnout, adjusting your attitude or looking after your health isn’t going to solve the problem. You need to force yourself to slow down or take a break. Cut back whatever commitments and activities you can. Give yourself time to rest, reflect, and heal.

Burnout recovery strategy #2: Get support

When you’re burned out, the natural tendency is to protect what little energy you have left by isolating yourself. But your friends and family are more important than ever during difficult times. Turn to your loved ones for support. Simply sharing your feelings with another person can relieve some of the burden.

Burnout recovery strategy #3: Reevaluate your goals and priorities

Burnout is an undeniable sign that something important in your life is not working. Take time to think about your hopes, goals, and dreams. Are you neglecting something that is truly important to you? Burnout can be an opportunity to rediscover what really makes you happy and to change course accordingly. 

Coping with job burnout

The most effective way to combat job burnout is to quit doing what you’re doing and do something else.

Actively address problems.Take a proactive rather than a passive approach to issues in your workplace, including stress at work.

Clarify your job description. Ask your boss for an updated description of your job duties and responsibilities. Point out things you’re expected to do that are not part of your job description and gain a little leverage by showing that you’ve been putting in work over and above the parameters of your job.

  1. Ask for new duties. If you’ve been doing the exact same work for a long time, ask to try something new: a different grade level, a different sales territory, a different machine.
  2. Take time off. If burnout seems inevitable, take a complete break from work. Go on vacation, use up your sick days, ask for a temporary leave-of-absence—anything to remove yourself from the situation. Use the time away to recharge your batteries and take perspective.




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