How to recognize and avoid burnout

Is it Monday and you’re already longing for the weekend? Are you not feeling quite right at work, but not sure why? Are you snapping at colleagues and feeling like there are never enough hours in the day?


These can all be classic signs of burnout. It is important to recognize when we are suffering these symptoms so we can make the necessary changes and avoid health and mental wellness issues in the future.

So, what is burnout?


Burnout is a mixture of professional exhaustion, and disillusionment with other people, the organization, or the career, over the long term.

Symptoms of burnout include low energy, a loss of interest in your work, and irritability with colleagues or team members. As such, it can cause low productivity, high absenteeism, low creativity, and even health problems.


Here are some warning signs that you are heading for burnout:


Specific symptoms of burnout include:

  1. Having a negative and critical attitude at work.

  2. Dreading going into work, and wanting to leave once you're there.

  3. Having low energy, and little interest at work.

  4. Having trouble sleeping.

  5. Being absent from work a lot.

  6. Having feelings of emptiness.

  7. Experiencing physical complaints such as headaches, illness, or backache.

  8. Being irritated easily by team members or clients.

  9. Having thoughts that your work doesn't have meaning or make a difference.

  10. Pulling away emotionally from your colleagues or clients.

  11. Feeling that your work and contribution go unrecognized.

  12. Blaming others for your mistakes.

  13. You're thinking of quitting work or changing roles.

Here are some common causes of burnout:


People experience burnout for a variety of reasons.

Lack of autonomy is a common cause, so you might experience burnout if you don't have much control over your work, or if you feel that you never have enough time to finish tasks and projects.

Another common cause is when your values don't align with the actions, behaviors, or values of your organization, or of your role.


Other causes include:

● Having unclear goals or job expectations.

● Working in a dysfunctional team or organization.

● Experiencing an excessive workload.

● Having little or no support from your boss or organization.

● Lacking recognition for your work.

● Having monotonous or low-stimulation work.


So, how do you avoid burnout? Here are some strategies to help:


When feelings of burnout start to occur, many people focus on short-term solutions such as taking a vacation. While this can certainly help, the relief is often only temporary. You also need to focus on strategies that will have a deeper impact and create lasting change..


1. Work With Purpose

Do you feel that your career has a deeper purpose, other than just earning a paycheck? Most of the time, rediscovering your purpose can go a long way towards helping you avoid burnout and keeping stress at bay.

Look at the deeper impact of what you do every day; how does your work make life better for other people? How could you add more meaning to what you do every day?


2. Perform a Job Analysis

When you experience work overload day in and day out, you can start to feel as if you're on a treadmill and that you'll never catch up. This is demoralizing, stressful, and often leads to burnout.

Perform a job analysis so you can clarify what's expected of you, and what isn't. This tool will help you identify what's truly important in your role so that you can cut out or delegate tasks that aren't as essential.


3. “Give” to Others

One quick and easy way to add meaning to your career is to give to others or to help them in small ways.

When you do this, it makes you feel good. Even the smallest act of kindness can re-energize you and help you find meaning in your work.


4. Take Control

You can avoid or overcome burnout by finding ways to create more autonomy in your role. Try talking with your boss to see if he is willing to let you have more control over your tasks, projects, or deadlines.


5. Exercise Regularly

Exercise can help alleviate stress and create a sense of well-being. You will also experience increased energy and productivity when you exercise regularly. What's more, regular exercise will help you get a good night's sleep.

Get more exercise by getting up earlier, or even by exercising at lunchtime. You might also be more motivated to exercise by teaming up with colleagues, or by setting up an office fitness challenge.


6. Learn to Manage Stress

When not managed well, short-term stress can contribute to burnout. This is why you should learn how to manage stress effectively.


There are several strategies that you can use to cope with stress. For instance, you could keep a stress diary to document what routinely causes you stress. Practicing deep breathing, meditation, and other relaxation techniques can help you calm down when you're experiencing stress.


You can also manage the way you think – this can contribute to stress. By monitoring your thoughts and practicing positive thinking, you can change unhelpful reactions and manage your emotions through a stressful situation.


The full article can be read on the Mindtools Website

Article Source; Mindtools Website, written by the Mindtools content team

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