Monday, June 4, 2012

Avoid burnout

Burnout is a state of wreckage, emotional apathy and depression due to protracted levels of high strains, usually related to superfluous work environment or domestic demands. People who feel a lack of control over their environment, who have unclear expectations placed on them, who receive little recognition, lack social support are at the highest risk of burnout. In other words, anyone who feels overworked and undervalued is at risk of burnout   

Burnout is a common phenomenon in today’s corporate world. Every employee irrespective of tenure or position undergoes this situation. In order to achieve targeted corporate goals and to sustain business growth, all employees are required to deliver their best. Their day to day assignments demanding the best performance pull them into tremendous anxiety and the pressure is built up.  A cyclic phenomenon goes on and on. Time bound critical tasks cast fatigue, boredom and exhaustion on the employees which further rebound depression on them.  These are all classic manifestations of burnout. Now, one has to understand how burnout evolves at workplace. Even after best efforts, if you fail to produce desired results, or your accomplishments achieved through maximum pains and talents are not well recognized by your superiors may pull you to resentment and frustration. This will be having a direct bearing on your psychophysics and can cause hypertension and lastly weaken your defense mechanism. On the contrary, it is also seen that the people who are well acclaimed by their bosses for their accomplishments do not encounter burnout.

Symptoms of Burnout

Signs of burnout do not appear spontaneously, but grow gradually. Jadedness, lack of concentration and pushback at workplace are the symptoms of burnout. Once you are engulfed with them, you seem to be helpless and weary; lose interest in work, and your personal relationship with others is endangered.  Sometimes, burnout becomes so serious that one loses interest in life.  Because of exhaustion, one loses courage to return to a normal lifestyle. However, it is also seen that burnout can’t encircle those who, by their grit and determination, have earlier shown immense results in their assignments. But, consciously or unconsciously they invite burnout through the endeavours they put in to achieve targeted goals. Thereafter they are found to be caught up in a situation where their professional life is imbalanced; they are also found to whine and find nukes in their ability.

Causes of Burnout

v  High pitched targets set by superiors which are next to impossible to achieve.
v  Irrelevant assignments poured into your basket because of your image as a brilliant performer and a doer.
v  Extra ordinary work pressure
v  Ambiguity about roles and responsibilities.
v  Continuous & frequent reshuffling of goals within a short period.
v  Conflict management policies and overlapping function

As an act of precaution, a manager should make out the early sign of burnout to his staff and address to it so that the employees are not put into unwanted situation. He should counsel the employees and reduce the burden of work pressure.  In this way, employees’ confidence is regained and his enlivenment towards the work is intact, and thus he helps the respective employee to overcome the beginning of burnout situation.

Preventing burnout

If you recognize the warning signs of imminent burnout, remember that it will only get worsen if you leave it alone. But if you take steps to get the life back into balance, you can prevent burnout from becoming a full-blown breakdown.

Burnout prevention tips

  • Start the day with relaxes. Rather jumping out of bed as soon as you wake up, spend at least fifteen minutes meditating, writing in your journal, doing gentle stretches, or reading something that inspires you.

  • Adopt healthy eating, exercising, and sleeping habits. When you eat right, engage in regular physical activity, and get plenty of rest, you have the energy and resilience to deal with life’s hassles and demands. 

  • Set boundaries. Don’t overextend yourself. Learn how to say “no” to requests which you cannot comply with. If you find this difficult, remind yourself that saying “no” allows you to say “yes” to the things that you truly want to do.

  • Take a daily break from technology. Set a time each day when you completely disconnect. Put away your laptop, turn off your phone, and stop checking email.

  • Nourish your creative side. Creativity is a powerful antidote to burnout. Try something new, start a fun project, or resume a favorite hobby. Choose activities that have nothing to do with work.

  • Learn how to manage stress. When you’re on the road to burnout, you may feel helpless. But you have a lot more control over stress than you may think. Learning how to manage stress can help you regain your balance.

Recovering from burnout

Sometimes it’s too late to prevent burnout – you’re already past the breaking point. If that’s the case, it’s important to take your burnout very seriously. Trying to push through the exhaustion and continue as you have been, will only cause further emotional and physical damage.

While the tips for preventing burnout are still helpful at this stage, recovery requires additional strategies as detailed below.

Strategy #1: Slow down

When you’ve reached the end stage of burnout, adjusting your attitude or looking after your health isn’t going to solve the problem. You need to force yourself to slow down or take a break. Cut back whatever commitments and activities you can. Give yourself time to rest, reflect, and heal.

Strategy #2: Get support

When you’re burned out, the natural tendency is to protect what little energy you have left by isolating yourself. But your friends and family are more important than ever during difficult times. Turn to your loved ones for support. Simply sharing your feelings with another person can relieve some of the burden.

Strategy #3: Reevaluate your goals and priorities

Burnout is an undeniable sign that something important in your life is not working. Take time to think about your hopes, goals, and dreams. Are you neglecting something that is truly important to you? Burnout can be an opportunity to rediscover what really makes you happy and to change course accordingly. 

Coping with job burnout


The most effective way to combat job burnout is to quit doing what you’re doing and do something else, whether that means changing jobs or changing careers. But if that isn’t an option for you, there are still things you can do to improve your situation, or at least your state of mind.

In order to avoid job burnout, it’s important to reduce and manage stress at work. Start by identifying what factors are stressful. Then you can take steps to deal with the problem, either by changing your work environment or changing the way you deal with the stressor.

  • Actively address problems. Take a proactive approach to the issues in your workplace. You’ll feel less helpless if you assert yourself and express your needs. If you don’t have the authority or resources to solve the problem, talk to a superior.

  • Clarify your job description. Ask your superior for an updated description of your job duties and responsibilities. Point out the things that you’re expected to do which is not part of your job description and gain a little leverage by showing that you’ve been putting in work over and above the parameters of your job.

  • Ask for new duties. If you’ve been doing the same work for a long time, ask to try something new: a different grade level, a different sales territory, a different machine.

  • Take time off. If burnout seems inevitable, take a complete break from work. Go on vacation, use up your sick days, ask for a temporary leave-of-absence—anything to remove yourself from the situation. Use the time away to recharge your batteries and take perspective.
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