What is Burnout?
Burnout is a state of emotional, mental, and physical
exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress.
It happens when we feel overwhelmed
and unable to meet constant demands.
As the stress continues,
we begin to lose the interest or motivation
that led us to take on an activity in the first place.
Burnout reduces our productivity and saps our energy,
leaving us feeling increasingly helpless, hopeless, cynical, and resentful.
Eventually, we may feel like we have nothing more to give.
Most of us have days when we feel bored,
overloaded, or unappreciated;
when what we do isn’t noticed or rewarded;
when it’s hard to drag ourselves out of bed.
But if one feels like this most of the time,
they might be experiencing burnout.
Symptoms of Burnout:
• Every day is a bad day.
• Caring about self, work, or home seems like a total waste of energy.
• One is exhausted all the time. Most of the day is spent on tasks
that we find either mind-numbingly dull or overwhelming.
• We feel like nothing we do makes a difference or is appreciated.
There is a difference between stress and burnout
Burnout may be the result of unrelenting stress,
but it isn’t the same as too much stress.
Stress, by and large, involves too much:
too many pressures that demand too much physically and mentally.
Stressed people can still imagine, though,
that if they can just get everything under control, they’ll feel better.
Burnout, on the other hand, is about not enough.
Being burned out means feeling empty,
devoid of motivation, and beyond caring.
People experiencing burnout often don’t see
any hope of positive change in their situations.
Excessive stress is like drowning in responsibilities,
while burnout is being all dried up.
Another difference between stress and burnout is that
while one is usually aware of being under a lot of stress,
one doesn't always notice burnout when it happens.
Stress vs. Burnout
Stress: Characterized by over engagement
Burnout: Characterized by disengagement
Stress: Emotions are over reactive
Burnout: Emotions are blunted
Stress: Produces urgency and hyperactivity
Burnout: Produces helplessness and hopelessness
Stress: Loss of energy
Burnout: Loss of motivation, ideals and hope
Stress: Leads to anxiety disorders
Burnout: Leads to detachment and depression
Stress: Primary damage is physical
Burnout: Primary damage is emotional
Stress: Could kill one prematurely
Burnout: Could make life seem not worth living.
Burnout recovery strategies
When one has reached the end stage of burnout,
adjusting one’s attitude or looking after one’s health
isn’t going to solve the problem.
One must force oneself to slow down or take a break.
Cut back whatever commitments and activities possible.
Give oneself time to rest, reflect, and heal.
When one is burned out,
the natural tendency is to protect
what little energy one has left by isolating oneself.
But during difficult times,
friends and family are more important than ever.
Turn to loved ones for emotional support.
If loved ones are unavailable, use professional help.
Simply sharing feelings with another person
can relieve some of the burden.
Reevaluate goals and priorities
Burnout is an undeniable sign that something important in one’s life is not working.
Take time to think about hopes, goals, and dreams.
Is something being neglected that is truly important?
Burnout can be the chance to rediscover what really makes one happy
and to change one’s course accordingly.
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