Have you ever experienced burnout?

I have. It’s not a pleasant experience.

During my 30 year accounting career I experienced burnout a number of times thanks to excessively long hours in the office, working under excessive pressure, combined with inadequate exercise, nutrition and sleep.

I recall that my worst experience of burnout was while working in for an accountancy firm in London. At the time I was trying to fit in a 60 hour working week with 20 hours of study per week. Back then I didn’t realize I was burnt out,  I just felt exhausted and numb. I found some temporary relief in alcohol and junk food. Fortunately, a planned return to NZ saved me – just in time – from plunging over the edge. Some people aren’t so fortunate.

What is Burnout?

Burnout is a state of chronic stress that leads to physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion; combined with cynicism, feelings of  detachment, ineffectiveness and lack of accomplishment.

What is the Impact of burnout?

Burnout leaves you feeling increasingly helpless, hopeless, cynical, and resentful.  Problems seem insurmountable, everything looks bleak, and it’s difficult to muster up the energy to care, let alone do something to help yourself. The unhappiness and detachment, that burnout causes, can threaten your job, your relationships, and your health.

What causes burnout?

Burnout is a symptom of chronic stress.

Stress becomes chronic when we experience it constantly over a period of time.

The three main sources of stress in the industrialised world are:

  1. problematic anxiety
  2. unmet physical and emotional needs
  3. excessive pressure

Who’s at risk of burnout?

Anyone is at risk of burnout - from the hardworking office worker who hasn’t had a holiday in years, to the frazzled stay-at-home mum struggling to care for kids, housework, and an aging parent.

Could you be experiencing burnout?

Most of us have days when we feel helpless, overloaded, or unappreciated - when dragging ourselves out of bed requires the determination of Hercules. If you feel like this most of the time, however, you may be experiencing burnout.

Burnout doesn’t happen suddenly, it’s a gradual process. You don’t wake up one morning and all of a sudden “have burnout.” Its nature is much more insidious, creeping up on us over time, which makes it much harder to recognize. Still, our bodies and minds do give us warnings, and if you know what to look for, you can recognize it before it’s too late.

The signs and symptoms are subtle at first, but they get worse as time goes on. Think of the early symptoms as red flags that something is wrong that needs to be addressed. If you pay attention and act to reduce your stress at the first signs, you can prevent chronic stress and burnout.

10 signs you may be experiencing chronic stress/burnout

Here are 10 signs you may be experiencing chronic stress/burnout (source: Dr David Ballard, American Psychological Association):

  • Physical symptoms - feel tired and drained most of the time
  • Cognitive symptoms - unable to pay attention or concentrate, more forgetful, difficulty remembering things.
  • Emotional symptoms - emotions are blunted, there's a feeling of helplessness and hopelessness
  • Lack of motivation
  • Frustration, cynicism and other negative emotions
  • Deterioration in job performance/productivity
  • Interpersonal problems at work and home
  • Not taking care of yourself
  • Being preoccupied with work ... when you're not at work
  • Overall decreased satisfaction with your life

Important: If you believe you’re experiencing burnout, I recommend you consult your doctor or an appropriate health professional.

How do you avoid and/or recover from chronic stress burnout?

To avoid and or recover from chronic stress/burnout you need to be able to:

  • Meet your physical and emotional needs
  • Perform under pressure
  • Cope with stress
  • Be resilient

 To learn more about:

  • your emotional needs -  click here.
  • performing under pressure  - click here.
  • coping with stress - click here.
  • resilience - click here.

What Next?

If you'd like to explore how you can develop the skills you need, so you thrive and achieve the success and happiness you deserve, contact me on 021 056 8389 or email me at tony@tycoaching.nz.

Until next week,

Go well
Tony

Tony helps individuals to harness the power of their mind to achieve success and well-being in life, work and business. Tony's particular area of expertise is in helping people perform under pressure and gain freedom from worry, anxiety and distress. Tony’s solution focused approach to coaching uses a range of techniques drawn from the fields of co-active coaching, clinical hypnotherapy, positive psychology and neuro-linguistic programming (NLP).

Contact Tony today to discuss how he can help you, or if you think Tony could help someone you know, you might like to encourage them to get in touch with him.