Aparna is exhausted as a sales executive. She works hundreds of hours, even outside of office hours, organizing marketing programs, circulating surveys, meeting clientele, campaigning, answering queries for potential clientele, introducing new products, etc. “I’m feeling overwhelmed by the immensity of the problems we face,” she says, “but I keep forcing myself to keep pushing.” Lately, Aparna has developed an aversion to her work; she feels increasingly annoyed to go to work as days go by. “I hate work. It is so exhausting” she says, “I’m doing the work of four people. Why isn’t the company hiring more staff?” Aparna wishes to quit her job.
Aparna is suffering from burnout. Burnout is a chronic problem and extends beyond simply having a bad day or ‘feeling blue.’ Individuals suffering from burnout often feel exhausted and overwhelmed and are bitter and cynical about their professional lives.
Burnout is an indication of an uneasy relationship between people and their environments. Reversing the effects of burnout requires focus on both the individual as well as the organization to create sync. Overcoming burnout requires, on an individual level, incorporating positive thinking and building the opposite of burnout, i.e., engagements.
Different individuals experience the manifestation of burnout in different ways. The key signs of burnout include diminished pride at work, losing sight of your goals, frustration, irritability while working, etc. The performance of the individual decreases, minimum standards of working and minimum production quality is seen. Individuals tend to make more errors, become less thorough, and have less creativity for solving problems. Personal costs of burnout include strained interpersonal relationships and poor health, e.g., fatigue, insomnia, muscle tension, etc.
While burnout often relates to job and professional triggers, one can experience burnout due to a hectic academic schedule, relationship problems, caring for loved ones with a chronic condition, etc.
The following strategies will help you alleviate your burnout symptoms;
Identify how to fix immediate problems.
It is essential to recognize ways to lighten your load right away. Try to avoid undertaking projects that consume a lot of time. When this is not possible, it is essential to ask your supervisor for more time or add someone else to your team.
It is important to ensure that adding more tasks to an already hectic day will only add to your frustration and stress.
Practice basic good health and well-being etiquettes
If you’re experiencing burnout, your body is in dire need of some self-care and attention. Thus, it is important to indulge in practices that will help you enhance your good health and well-being.
You can start by exercising regularly, which will help you reduce stress and boost your mood. It is also important to ensure that you’re getting enough sleep, an adequately balanced diet, drinking plenty of water, etc. Busy professionals often ignore the basic needs of their bodies and focus on other work responsibilities. This negligence of self may contribute to burnout.
Taking Back Control
Burnout can make you feel like your life is rushing past you and you’re unable to keep up. While you may not have control over every aspect of your life, it is important to practice the following tips to take back some control over your work life;
1. Prioritize: It is important to label your tasks as most important to least important and work on the basis of this priority list.
2. Delegate: You must accept that it is okay to ask for help. There are only twenty-four hours in a day; practice delegating tasks that do not require your immediate attention to individuals you trust.
3. Attaining work-life balance: It is important to leave your work at work and try not to let it hinder your personal time. It is important to relax and indulge in things you have fun doing in order to recharge for the next day.
Reassessment of Goals
Burnout may occur when your work and your values do not align or when your existing work does not contribute to your long-term goals. Not having an understanding of your goals can also lead to burnout. It is important to identify your values with respect to your work life. It is important to gain a deeper understanding of what you find important and evaluate what elements are missing from your work life.
It is important to create an amalgamation of your values and your career goals. Try finding jobs that fit you better, or try to change your perception of your role in the organization.
Experiencing burnout may make you feel like a failure and cause you to experience a loss in the sense of direction. It is important, during these times, to grant yourself love and support, and remind yourself that it’s okay to take a break. It is important to do your best with the tools you’ve got, but it is also important to not overwork yourself or put unnecessary pressure on yourself.
Talk to a Therapist
Identifying and confronting burnout is not an easy task. Burnout can take a toll on your professional as well as personal life. A therapist can offer guidance during burnout by helping you identify causes, explore coping methods, and navigate various challenges you may face while trying to overcome burnout.
Long-term burnout may lead to mental disorders like depression. It is important to talk to a therapist if you are experiencing a persistently low mood, feeling of hopelessness, or helplessness, having thoughts of harming yourself or others, etc.