Beware of Work Burnout: Top 5 Signs & How to Avoid it.
January is “Get a Balanced Life” month and if you’re reading this while double thinking whether you do or do not have a balanced work-life, then you have to keep reading! Most of us struggle with creating this –not one size fits all- balance between work and life.
First of all, you have to find out what does a work-life balance mean to you, it doesn’t have to be a scheduled or a stereotypical balance. Although, it doesn’t mean spending as much time working as on life activities. Instead, you need to adjust this with what matches your life changes while, –most importantly- avoiding losing yourself into something until it consumes you.
If you failed to create this healthy balance that matches your lifestyle, then you might find yourself working most of the day and only left with little energy and a couple of hours barely enough to sleep, waking up the next day to go through it all again. At this point, it’s just a vicious and draining cycle that could eventually cause work burnout.
Work burnout is stress related to work that’s a sense of physical and/or emotional exhaustion, which can also be affected by stress from your lifestyle. No matter its cause, burnout can affect your physical and mental health; affecting your overall productivity. That’s why it’s really important to look out for burnout signs.
So here are the most 5 common signs of burnout for you to spot out:
If you’re someone who’s usually enthusiastic and passionate about your job and you started gradually feeling emotionally distant. This can sometimes be diagnosed as a lack of productivity which in fact it’s a sign of burnout. You may also start losing interest in other activities throughout your day.
Stopping a healthy routine.
Pay attention to any routines you’re sticking to; whether it’s a healthy breakfast, a morning 15-minutes run, or even an evening meditation. The minute you stop doing any of those because of work, you have to face yourself and evaluate your balance. You should always know how to stop working and sticking to a healthy routine will definitely help prevent work burnout.
Becoming more cynical and hopeless.
You may experience helplessness when it comes to your career goals, you will feel like you’re doing something that doesn’t matter and that you can’t change anything about it. Feeling negative emotions from time to time is perfectly natural; after all, we’re not robots. However, you should spot a problem when feeling pessimistic, irritable, or short-tempered becomes unusual.
Struggling with concentration.
That feeling where your mind just shuts down; you start experiencing irregular symptoms like forgetting words, missing tasks, and having short attention spans. This is a result of chronic stress, leading to burnout. You’ll feel exhausted just answering a simple question or finishing a basic task. In a nutshell, compare your performance now to your performance in previous times when you didn’t have issues concentrating.
Feeling physically and emotionally exhausted.
Chronic stress, in the long run, leads to burnout, where in most cases if not prevented will cause physical and emotional exhaustion to the point that you won’t be able to continue. You’ll suffer every morning just to get out of bed or feel drained at the end of every workday. If this is a pattern that has been going on for more than a couple of weeks, you should be alerted.
Noticing chronic stress and realizing it before turning into burnout is important. If you see signs of stress, you must talk to your manager and try rescheduling your calendar in order to get more breaks and ensure you have clear boundaries between work and personal life. You might even pause for a while to recharge emotionally and physically if needed.
In some cases, rediscovering your purpose could help prevent burnout and keep stress at its lowest. Ask yourself why do you work –other than the paycheck- what is the deeper purpose of your job? How does your work make your life better, or others’? And how could you make your job more meaningful? Take some time and think about some satisfying answers that can help you rediscover your passion for your job. And if you don’t find the right answers maybe this is not the job for you!
Another way to avoid burnout is regular exercise, as it can help you create a sense of control, it increases your energy and productivity. Also by exercising you’re adding a routine to your life that will help you set the work-personal life boundaries. Moreover, regular exercise will help you get a better night’s sleep.
If you learned how to manage your stress properly you’ll avoid reaching the burnout phase. You can do this by measuring your stress levels regularly and taking notes when does your stress level peak and what causes it to. You could try a breathing technique that can help you relax and reduce your stress, or even practice meditation if it’s your cup of tea.
Burnout can affect you on personal levels, if you’ve ever experienced it; you know how serious and draining it can be. Don’t underestimate the impact it can have on your life. Always remember to listen to your brain and body, don’t wait till you crash and burn out. Try to know when to stop, especially during these times if you’re working from home, then those boundaries probably don’t exist. During the pandemic, people got used to working 12-hours a day in their pajamas and replying to emails while in bed, and in some cases work would interrupt their sleep too. So make sure to set your boundaries and try not to let your job undermine your health.