The road to burnout ….
Stress if not managed, builds over time. What starts as pressure, can if excessive become stress, which if ongoing, becomes chronic stress, which in turn can lead to burnout.
Burnout is a state of emotional, mental, and physical exhaustion.
It’s essentially your body hitting the wall hard, and shouting “STOP! I’ve had it. You should’ve given me a break some time ago, and you haven’t.”
The physical and mental exhaustion means you find it hard to have the energy or motivation to do even normal, everyday tasks. At the extreme end of burnout, people may just no longer feel like they can do anything, let alone keep working.
What are the symptoms?
Burnout tends to manifest with a multitude of symptoms which include:
- A general lack of energy
- A lack of interest in work related activities
- Feelings of demotivation
- Reduced performance as a result of the above
What Causes Burnout?
Excessive pressure from a combination of too many demands, and too few resources leads to stress. Ongoing stress combined with too little recovery time leads to chronic stress. Ongoing chronic stress leads to burnout.
Three components – exhaustion, cynicism, and inefficacy
Thanks to the pioneering research of psychologist Christina Maslach and several collaborators, we know that burnout is a three-component syndrome – exhaustion, cynicism, and inefficacy.
Exhaustion is the central symptom of burnout. It comprises profound physical, cognitive, and emotional fatigue that undermines people’s ability to work effectively and feel positive about what they’re doing.
Cynicism represents an erosion of engagement. It is essentially a way of distancing yourself psychologically from your work. Instead of feeling invested in your assignments, projects, colleagues, customers, and friends, you feel detached, negative, and even callous.
Inefficacy refers to feelings of incompetence and a lack of achievement and productivity. People with this symptom of burnout feel their skills slipping and worry that they won’t be able to succeed in certain situations or accomplish certain tasks.
Each component is correlated with the other two and one often leads to another.
To prevent the build-up of stress, avoid chronic stress and prevent burnout you need to have a stress management plan in place, that tells you what are going to do each day to relieve stress, and recharge your body, mind, and spirit for the next day.
Your stress management plan should include the actions you intend to take to ensure your physical and emotional needs are met in balance.
When preparing your plan you need to identify the situations, people, things, behaviours that you habitually perceive as stressors. You can then include in your plan how you aim to manage each individual stressor by: reducing your exposure to it, adapting it, or changing the way you perceive it.
Become aware of how you experience stress. Listening to your body is an important skill, and one that if often dismissed in today’s busy, externally focused world. This will enable you to identify the early warning signs that your stress level is rising and that you need to take immediate action to reduce it. When your body reveals a lack of energy, understand that it is a message to wind down, rest and recover. By keeping your stress level below your Tipping Point you can avoid chronic stress and burnout.
Remember to schedule time to each day to de-stress. There are many ways to de-stress, including, movement, deep breathing exercises, mindfulness, walks in nature, switching off from technology and the constant stimuli it delivers, holidays.
Burnout can often feel insurmountable, but it’s not.
In the first instance I recommend visiting your doctor or medical professional for a check-up.
Therapies such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Positive Psychology have proven effective in helping people recover from chronic stress and burnout.
In addition, you can help yourself work through burnout with a combination of lifestyle measures, mind-set changes and self-education. A key part of any recovery programme is to schedule sufficient down time to reset your mind and body. As your energy and interest begin to return you can then start to re-engage in activities that you love and enjoy doing.
An effective mind-tool I use to help my clients recover from burnout is hypnosis. Hypnosis helps people to achieve deep states of relaxation, de-stress and to correct the limiting beliefs and thinking distortions that have contributed to the build-up of stress. I encourage my clients to learn and practice self-hypnosis, so they develop the skill to aid their recovery and avoid burn-out in the future.
How I can help you
If you are burnt-out or struggling with anxiety or stress, I can help you recover and start enjoying life fully again. Just call me on 021 056 8389 or email firstname.lastname@example.org with your name & number, or use the Book Now button below.
Go well Tony
REMEMBER – “When you change your mind you change your life.”
Tony helps people of all ages live their lives free of unnecessary stress, anxiety and depression, and be happier, healthier and more fulfilled.