Do you feel a loss of motivation for your work? Are you stressed? Do you doubt your abilities? Do you feel that you are losing control of your work and your life? Beware; you may be on the verge of a burn-out! Here are some tips to understand and prevent burnout.
What is Burn-Out?
Burn-out, or burnout, results from a prolonged exposure to stress and affects all professions. It is better to stay alert to avoid being among one of its countless victims!
What is the physiological process that leads to burnout? We will usually find it in a person in a context where stress is constant (repeated frustration, pressure, unpleasant environment, etc.). Stress is natural and is designed to help us cope up with these difficulties; it activates the hypothalamus, a cluster of brain cells that regulates functions such as appetite and sleep. In turn, the hypothalamus activates the pituitary gland, which produces a hormone called ACTH. This hormone is found in the blood and activates the adrenal glands, which in turn produce cortisol. Cortisol enables the body to respond well to stress. It mobilizes the whole body and uses its energy to cope with the stressful situation that is perceived as aggression.
Where does the problem lie in all this? If stress is constant, the brain continues to “demand” of cortisol, whose use is supposed to be short lived. This disruption of the body wastes resources and leads to a progressive loss of motivation, energy and well-being. When you choose to stop because of fatigue, you can say that it is the most responsible attitude. There is no laziness in there!
People at Risk of Burn-Out
- Those who highly value their job performance.
- People fleeing from the unpleasant aspects of their lives by taking refuge in their work (“Workaholism”).
- People whose main interests are mainly in their jobs.
- Individuals who maintain high standards of achievement and performance.
Some Questions to Help you Diagnose a Burn-Out
- Do you tire more easily than before?
- Are you working more and more without getting a feeling producing the results you want?
- Do you often feel the sadness without being able to explain the cause?
- Are you less motivated and more cynical?
- Are you more nervous and irritable than usual?
- Are you too busy to do something enjoyable, like meeting your family and friends?
- The frequency of your physical problems is going up it (for example headaches.
- Are you experiencing an overall decrease your enjoyment of life?
If you answered ‘yes’ to most of these questions, be attentive to your body and relax. It may be that you are on the threshold of burnout.
Doing Everything At Once!
It is not surprising that the burnout is so common. Our society that only rewards performance, leads us to want to do everything at once. We have trouble saying no and we put too much weight on our shoulders!
Companies must pay attention to burn-out. They should develop prevention programs to help employees from falling into this hell. Thus, everyone would win.
Possible Solutions to Burn-Out
Burn-out is often hidden behind a host of activities that prevent you from feeling your body. So keep your attention on to the actual level of fatigue. Here are some strategies that will help prevent specific contexts that make you live a burn-out.
Maintain good relationships at work. Interpersonal relationships are essential to the well-being. Healthy relationships and effective communication leaves little room for misunderstandings, errors and sources of stress.
Accept change. The only constant in life is change! But it is sometimes difficult to accept. Yet, whenever you fight against what you cannot change, you spend energy on something on which you have no control. Focus more on what you can really improve!
Your lifestyle and your personality. What are your ideals? Do you need to accomplish great achievements for professional grant you value? If you want to do everything at once, and you tend to act with aggression and impatience, it is perhaps time to review your vision of things to avoid losing everything.
Focus on solutions and not problems. It is easy to experience stress and waste your energy by focusing only on problems. Instead, make a statement of the problem, but focus only on constructive solutions that you can make.
Plan your rest and your free time. Plan ahead of time to relax and spend quality time with your loved ones. During these periods, let go of your other responsibilities completely. This will relax you deeply and you will have better resources to resume your work later.