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 time||Change in appetite or sleep habits|
|Frequent headaches or muscle pain||Lowered immunity, getting sick a lot|
|Emotional signs and symptoms of burnout||Sense of failure and self-doubt|
|Feeling helpless, trapped, and defeated||Detachment, feeling alone in the world|
|Loss of motivation||An increasingly cynical and negative outlook|
|Decreased satisfaction and sense of accomplishment|
Behavioral signs and symptoms of burnout
|Withdrawing from responsibilities||Procrastinating, taking longer to get things done|
|Isolating yourself from others||Using food, drugs, or alcohol to cope|
|Taking out your frustrations on others||Skipping 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|
|Talk with someone about your feelings||Reschedule your work|
|Cut down on your workload||Take a holiday|
|Use the Christmas time to recharge your batteries||Use relaxation and meditation|
|Use positive self-talk||Allow yourself to enjoy life and have a laugh|
|Care for yourself, do something nice||Find 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