Have you ever sat somewhere feeling physically, mentally, and emotionally fatigued? If you were not ill, you were probably suffering from Burnout.
Burnout is a job killing, life-sapping state that hits you when you least expect it. The Mayo Clinic adds that job burnout also includes doubts about your competence and your work value. You lack the motivation to do anything and everything seems overwhelming. It’s like a heavy weight on your shoulders that no one else can see.
According to workplacefairness.org, some American companies give their employees some time off to prevent burnout and to improve employee morale. Other companies are making it mandatory for their employees to take their vacation days because they know that a burnt out employee will be an unproductive employee.
What are the Symptoms of Burnout?
While there are many ideas why burnout occurs, I believe the simple way to summarise these ideas is to label the cause as a sense of defeat in multiple situations, that is, at work, physically, emotionally, and mentally.
Examples of such situations as outlined by HelpGuide.org include loss of control, doing boring or unchallenging work, procrastinating, work-life imbalance, and unclear or demanding job expectations.
Once these situations get out of hand, you find yourself suffering from symptoms such as:
- Chronic exhaustion and stress
- Lack of motivation to do anything
- Anxiety and depression
- Frustration and Irritability
- Unproductive and inefficient work
- A weakened immune system due to overwhelming stress
- Muscle aches and pains
- Feelings of apathy, hopelessness, and loneliness
Having these symptoms especially over an extended period will ruin your life. You have to do something to start feeling better, enjoying life again and feeling that you are making a difference in life and at work.
Tips to Help You Overcome Burnout
Realising that your life has lost its sparkle is the first step to getting better. The next question becomes, “What steps can I take to get out of this funk?”
There are several things you can do:
Take a Vacation
Dropping everything you are doing and taking a trip can do wonders for your health and your outlook on life. When you are exhausted mentally, physically and emotionally, it’s like you are stuck in a rut. Going somewhere new helps you get perspective on what is going on in your life and the steps you can take to fix it. Just relaxing on a beach somewhere can be cathartic.
Spending some time outdoors is also beneficial because the sun is good for your health. According to Harvard Health, the sun gives you Vitamin D, which counteracts seasonal affective disorder (SAD), otherwise known as winter depression.
Talk to a Trusted Friend
A problem shared is a problem half-solved. Talking to someone helps you get out of your head, where you have been so focused on your problems that you couldn’t see the solutions. Talking makes your mind start thinking about new ideas for your life. It is also always comforting to know someone cares enough about you to be willing to listen to your problems.
Balance your Work and your Life
Working relentlessly without taking the time to talk to your friends and family can sap your joy for life. In a TED Talk by psychiatrist Robert Waldinger, he concluded that their 75-year old study on what makes a good life is by building good relationships.
Once you start making time from work to go see your kids in a play or to meet and make new friends, you will start feeling happier and more connected to the world around you. Many of the people suffering from depression have no one to talk to and no support system to help them bounce back from whatever problems they are facing in life. Don’t let that happen to you.
Start Exercising and Eating well
An often-unstated means of combating many physical, mental, and emotional problems is through exercising. Working out releases chemicals called endorphins into your system. These chemicals reduce stress and make you feel good and positive about your life.
The second part of this is eating well. When your body is not getting the essential nutrients obtained from a balanced diet, you will not be operating at an optimal level. Your body will also be under undue stress, which can weaken the immune system and lead to illnesses such as heart disease. Malnutrition causes fatigue, which, in turn, affects how productive you will be.
Rethink Your Goals and Your Life
Sometimes our lack of motivation in whatever we are doing comes from the fact that it is not what we are supposed to be doing. It’s not the thing that excites you so much that you forget you haven’t eaten anything. Therefore, you have to find your purpose in life. Look for whatever it is that makes you happy; something that you are willing to learn to be great at doing, and that helps you meet all your basic needs.
If you are doing something you don’t love, it will take all your physical, mental, and emotional strength. Moreover, at some point, you will feel overwhelmed and exhausted; that you can’t take it anymore.
There is no need to live such a life. You can make a difference in how you have been living. Do it today!