Stress and Burnout –Time for an oil change

Burnout is a road hazard in life and common in the community services industry. Imagine driving home from work after a long day, and it’s nearly Christmas. You are surrounded by people rushing home for Christmas, and your car won’t start. Going up a hill, your car starts to just miss a beat. Then it starts to backfire, and the brakes squeal as you brake for the traffic lights. Burnout is feeling like you are under constant stress. You feel helpless, disillusioned, exhausted, loss of empathy towards others, and feel incompetent in the workplace.

You may feel stressed at this time of the year, but stress and burnout are separate. You may find that the stress you have in your life has caused burnout, but this isn’t the same as having a lot of stress. Stress has many pressures and demands on you physically and mentally. If you are stressed, you may use self-talk. If I can finish this, then I will be fine. If I get through my list, then it will all be better. Burnout is about feeling empty, mentally exhausted, and beyond caring. People experiencing burnout don’t see any hope for change. They feel like they are drowning.

If you are feeling under pressure and have a lot of stress in your life, you may not notice when burnout happens. The following symptoms are what you need to look out for;

Physical signs and symptoms of burnout

Feeling tired and drained most of the timeChange in appetite or sleep habits
Frequent headaches or muscle painLowered immunity, getting sick a lot
Emotional signs and symptoms of burnoutSense of failure and self-doubt
Feeling helpless, trapped, and defeatedDetachment, feeling alone in the world
Loss of motivationAn increasingly cynical and negative outlook
Decreased satisfaction and sense of accomplishment

Behavioral signs and symptoms of burnout

Withdrawing from responsibilitiesProcrastinating, taking longer to get things done
Isolating yourself from othersUsing food, drugs, or alcohol to cope
Taking out your frustrations on othersSkipping work or coming in late and leaving early

Actively dealing with burnout.

Dealing with burnout requires the three R’s
Recognize – watch for the warning signs of burnout
Reverse – Undo the damage by seeking support and managing stress
Resilience – Build your resilience to stress by taking care of your physical and emotional healthy

Actively dealing

Talk with someone about your feelingsReschedule your work
Cut down on your workloadTake a holiday
Use the Christmas time to recharge your batteriesUse relaxation and meditation
Use positive self-talkAllow yourself to enjoy life and have a laugh
Care for yourself, do something niceFind new friends and a support network

Finally, find what you are passionate about in life. You may need to redefine your goals or find a balance so you can enjoy life once more.

If you require further assistance, please contact Lifeline Australia on 13 11 14


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