If you are an extremely career-driven individual, chances are, you have experienced burnout at least once. You may recognise the symptoms: physical and/or mental fatigue from being pushed beyond your limits. Other common symptoms of burnout include, but not limited to:
- Lack of motivation
- Cognitive problems
- Interpersonal problems at home and at work
- Alienation from work-related activities
When you are obsessed with the idea of reaching the top quickly before anyone else does, you are willing to grind through long hours, take on additional responsibility, and proceed with your life while carrying an enormous load on your shoulders. If this resonates well with you, then you most likely need to monitor yourself periodically to ensure that you are not experiencing burnout.
If you have reached the point of burnout or sense that you are experiencing signs of burnout, do not worry. It is not the end of the world. There are many tools and resources out there that are designed to keep your symptoms at a manageable level. Below are a couple of ways you can use to respond to signs of burnout and shield yourself from emotional, physical and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress.
1. Have A Break, Have A Kit Kat
Be sure to take full advantage of your annual leaves when you need to apply for them. If the work atmosphere has made you worked long hours because you are not familiar with the new responsibilities just handed to you by your manager, this is a sign that you need to step on the brakes in order to recalibrate yourself. You have the rights not to explain the reason why you needed a hiatus. Employees are given paid annual leaves for a reason, and yet, it never fails to stun me why managers want their subordinates to state their reasons for taking one day leave from office.
“Just because you take breaks doesn’t mean you’re broken.”Curtis Tyrone Jones
Life is not all about work. If that is the case, you are not a human – you are no different than a robot that responds solely to instructions given by the inventor. Reward your relentless contributions and steadfast commitment to your profession by disconnecting yourself from it temporarily (and consuming a bar of Kit Kat). That way, when you finally step back into the work environment, you are feeling fresh and ready to take on the challenges in your line of work.
2. You Only Have One Shot At Health, So Look After It Well
Exercise regularly, prioritise your sleep, and feed your body with nutritional food to keep yourself in good shape. When your health drops, you are unable to get things done right and do the right things.
“Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.”Jim Rohn
When you are on the brink of burnout, listen to your body. It is telling you something is out of place. Identify the stressors and walk away from them. Ask yourself what is lacking in your day-to-day life and what you need more of to improve your situation. Do you need to sleep more? Some way to alleviate your stress, such as swimming, jogging, or cycling? Is it a balanced diet with plenty of fluids and greens? You only live once but if you treat your body well, once is more than enough.
3. Get Your Goals Sorted
Establishing objectives well and sorting them out neatly can keep you away from lots of unnecessary stress. If you have assignments and projects that keep coming without an end in sight, a calendar planner is a worthy investment. Alternatively, you can use digital calendars such as Google Calendar and write down deadlines to help you stay on course with your goals.
Note down on your calendar when you have completed the steps toward accomplishing your goals. Breaking down your to-do lists into more manageable sub-goals will help you fulfil your larger goals more efficiently. When your goals are well-organised, the workload becomes easier to cope with, thus preventing you from wearing out too quickly.
4. Do Not Bite More Than You Could Chew
“Burnout is often driven by the demands that are placed upon an individual.”Asa Don Brown
I am very aware of the pressure to say yes when our supervisor decides to give us more work to complete, and before you know it, he or she returns home before you can. When it comes to working, there is no requirement on your end to carry more weight. Yes, I understand that there is this corporate mentality that if you work less, you are more likely to be looked down upon by your boss and even your colleagues. However, overcommitting to projects does not make you a hardworking employee; it just increases the probability of you burning out at work.
If you work for a company, it makes sense that you may not be able to choose projects that fit your skillset. I totally get you. However, if you are told to meet expectations which you know are unrealistic, censor yourself less and speak up more. If you are your own boss, it is a sound move to allocate all the additional tasks to other people within your circle. Seek assistance when needed and make your voice known when you are on the verge of burning out. Learning how to say no when you are already stretched to the breaking point is something everyone should strive for because it helps alleviate our stress.
Final 2¢: Burnout Is No Laughing Matter
If you are subjected to prolonged stress and feel as though you have lost all sense of yourself, it can inflict significant physical, mental and emotional damage in many ways. Do not keep all the problems to yourself. Find help if you really have to. Your family and friends would rather have a discussion with you about this in the living room than attend your funeral because their loved one cannot find a way out of the mess and decided to cut life short.
Each of us is entitled to have a break from time to time. Ensure you are consuming the right stuff, getting as many sleeping hours as you need, and a couple of hobbies to serve as outlets to vent out the stress. There is no such thing as being too busy to relax. That is no different from you saying that you are too busy driving your car on the highway that you have no time to stop at a nearby gas station to refuel. Just like the car, you have to stop for a while before resuming the adventure. Always make time for your loved ones, friends, and yourself. We are all striving to reach the top of the mountain, but no one can do so if they are experiencing burnout.