Burnout at work: how to protect yourself from it

Burnout syndrome, or burnout, is a diagnosis faced at some point by almost every employee who doesn’t take it easy at work.

The first signs of burnout are intense nervousness and an ever-increasing sense of overload. The symptoms of acquired burnout are dejection, constant fatigue, indifference and apathy. Not only entrepreneurs, workaholics and careerists are at risk of burnout, but also employees who sit in the office from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Today we will tell you how to diagnose the burnout in time and what to do if the preventive measures have failed to have their effect.

What is burnout about?

The term "burnout appeared in the middle of the 80’s of the last century. According to studies, in this syndrome, professional deformation is accompanied by psychological microtrauma, recourse phenomena and a critical decrease in work productivity. Even in the first stages of research, it was clear that the fight against burnout will not be so easy, because this phenomenon often persists even after the forms of relaxation that for many are so accustomed to.

Burnout is related to chronic stress and the general negative state, with emotional exhaustion often added to it. Among the most common causes of burnout are the excessive loads, the lack of efficient rest and the constant overexertion. A normal work effort usually passes by itself, the organism builds itself up again independently and in the shortest possible time. Burnout, however, takes away everyone’s chance to have a good career. This is also true for the notorious workaholics. Employee burnout is usually a direct result of a stressful environment and / or the disputes in the workforce.

Most often, employees who regularly interact with people or struggle against psychological tension are prone to this syndrome. It is generally believed that doctors, teachers, lawyers, business managers, psychologists and sales managers are high risk groups for burnout. According to surveys, 43% – civil servants, 40% – workaholics, 35% – intellectuals and only 5% – newcomers who have just started a new job – regularly suffer from emotional emptiness and apathy.

Do you want to undergo an express test for burnout?? Look for the following character traits in yourself. If you have discovered more than half of them, they belong to the risk group. So, to the Burn Out are above all predisposed:

  • Idealists and perfectionists,
  • introverted people,
  • vulnerable and sensitive people,
  • People who are sensitive to criticism and negative comments from other people,
  • Emotional people.

Causes of burnout

Burnout at work: how to protect yourself from it

Besides the previously mentioned main causes of burnout, there are about a dozen others that are not so common. One of the other causes of possible nervous breakdown is, for example, the so-called one-way communication, when the interlocutor does not answer you at all or is in a hostile mood. The following could also be counted among the other causes:

  • monotony of work, lack of self-organization.
  • Too high load of tasks (as well as the absence of tasks).
  • Unhealthy working environment.
  • Poor work compensation.
  • The absence of career development and motivation.
  • Constant change of managers.
  • Constant change of work duties.

You can also determine the causes of burnout on your own. Note which of the o.g. points apply to your situation, and evaluate the result of the express test. Are noted more than half of the points? Then you are most likely on the verge of burnout. But what should you do if almost all the points are true? Then go quickly to the chapter about first aid measures!

Determination of burnout

The signs of burnout can usually be divided into the following three blocks:

Psychophysical signs. Severe persistent fatigue, loss of energy, exhaustion, the absence of curiosity and anxiety, insomnia, headaches, drowsiness, poor eyesight, constant body weight change.

Social psychological signs. nervous breakdowns, depression, apathy, unfounded restlessness, irritability, impression of hopelessness, loss of self-evaluation.

Behavioral changes. The feeling of futility at work, rigidity and inability to solve tasks, disengagement from colleagues, lack of motivation, disorganized daily routine and lateness, inability to make decisions, bad habits.

Stages of burnout

Burnout at work: how to protect yourself from it

There are three stages, each of which has its own characteristics. We deal with each stage and give a short characteristic of the condition of the person in the respective Burnout – stage.

First stage. Forgetting individual vocabulary, terms, and facts, confusing words or their spelling while typing. This stage is formed in the course of three to five years, depending on the workload and on individual characteristics of the person.

Second stage. You are no longer interested in work, you have no need to communicate, you are always dissatisfied with yourself and others, and you are often apathetic. One has headaches, is constantly irritable, but hardly tells anyone about one’s condition. This stage can develop for five to fifteen years.

Third stage. Here the burnout symptoms already become quite unmistakable. One loses all interest in work and in life as such, and no longer feels any vitality. Moreover, one is emotionally empty and prefers to carry out work duties all by oneself. Sometimes you catch yourself having suicidal thoughts. It can take a good 20 years to get to this stage.

How to prevent burnout?

The methods of fighting burnout (which are actually best suited to the first stage, because it is practically impossible to get rid of the other stages single-handedly) are very similar to preventive measures. In other words, if you want to overcome burnout, you should look at the list of actions for those who do not want to let it happen in any case.

Be sure to get a healthy solid night’s sleep, which you will need not only on weekends, but also every workday. It is also important to detect moral exhaustion in time, which can be eliminated at the beginning by proper communication with colleagues and management, as well as by proper rest. We advise you to practice sports that suit your schedule and life rhythm, and also to pay more attention to meditation practices.

What else can you do to manage stress on your own? You should get rid of accumulated grievances, the exaggerated expectations (also in relation to yourself!), fear and shame, inner aggression, the unproductive hatred, guilt and pity release. We are aware of the fact that it is hard to. But you will definitely be able to put into words the cause of each of the above feelings. And this will be the first step on the way to acceptance.

Prophylaxis of burnout

It is probably impossible to completely eliminate the likelihood of burnout. But one can try to avoid it. In order to avoid this syndrome, we recommend you to be more attentive in choosing the company where you will work. The working conditions are important, as well as the motivation, the change of personnel and the unity of the team. Understand what career growth they can expect, what duties will come your way, when to expect a raise, how you and the company will perform, etc.

How to avoid burnout if you are completely satisfied with your job?

  • Take short breaks at work, switch your attention, take stress factors with the motto: "This will not spoil my mood at all".
  • Downplay the importance of the situations that make you uncomfortable by phrasing them for you and detailing how you feel about them.
  • Don’t forget the physical stresses, even if they are quite minimal.
  • And think about rest! Switch off completely after work. It is easier said than done. Still: don’t carry your work worries home with you!
  • If you are a freelancer, allocate your time properly. Get used to putting something aside resp. Delegate and then work when it’s convenient for you and consistent with your biorhythms.
  • Finally turn to the hobby you have always neglected.
  • Go through a few training events for effective negotiation. There is certainly free training that takes place in your city online or offline. It teaches you how to build and direct effective communication to defend your own opinion and advocate thoughts effectively.

Possible consequences of burnout, in brief

If you disregard burnout, it can lead to loneliness and social isolation. Other consequences are also possible:

  • Personality disorders or depression set in.
  • Conflict situations at work and in the family are on the rise.
  • There are immune disorders and pains, the general health is getting worse.
  • Decline in performance and dismissal- As a conclusion.

If burnout hasn’t reached the final stage, it can be managed by virtually anyone. The requirements for victory are: the desire to get out of the regression statehave some free time and use at least three to four methods described above.

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