WHAT IS A BURNOUT?
Have you ever felt tired? Well, tired is one thing but physical and emotional exhaustion is another. If you have ever felt the latter, you may be experiencing burnout.
Burnout is a result of extreme chronic stress often caused by having the constant feeling of being swamped and having no energy to do anything. Thus resulting in a lack of productivity. Oftentimes, it is related to one’s job; however, everyone can experience it—even students. If you’ve familiarized yourself with the term “gifted student burnout”, it is no more different than experiencing burnout from work. Having the same routine of having to keep up with life’s incessant demands can be physically and/or emotionally draining. Yet, life does not seem to stop there. While the world continues to move, experiencing burnout prevents us to move with the world.
There are different ways to categorize burnout and it can actually help understand why you’re experiencing that in the first place.
- 1. Overload Burnout
An overload burnout happens when you aim for success to the point that you are willing to put your health and personal life at risk. In pursuit of success, you’ve neglected yourself thus, resulting in burnout.
- 2. Under-Challenged Burnout
This type of burnout occurs when you are unsatisfied with your job. Perhaps, you feel underappreciated and/or bored which can lead to neglect of responsibilities.
- 3. Neglect Burnout
This is closely linked to the impostor syndrome or the psychological phenomenon wherein you find it hard to accept your achievements thus doubting your skills and talents. There may be times when things are not going your way therefore you feel incompetent that you are not able to keep up with your responsibilities.
- 1. Overload Burnout
According to a study conducted by Jhoselle Tus et al., job burnout amongst Filipinos has affected their job satisfaction. The researchers suggest that a high level of satisfaction and a low level of job burnout can lead to a better and improved quality of work, engagement, and happiness in the workplace.
Therefore, for employers, one way to keep employees is to prevent job burnout, most especially for in-demand jobs. Currently, in the Philippines, there has been an increase in the demand for tech professionals and web developers. There are a lot of web development companies in the Philippines that aim to be the top performing company thus, it is important to maintain competency in the market. With that said, for companies that want to improve or maintain their web developers, it is important to prevent a developer’s burnout.
However, burnout is not an official medical diagnosis. Still, it can cause problems with work, school, and even personal lives. Furthermore, it cannot be identified immediately; burnout is a process that occurs gradually and is a result of the buildup of stress and responsibilities. One thing about burnout though, is that the more you ignore it, the worse it will get. This is why it is important to start recovery as soon as possible. But how?
HOW TO RECOVER FROM BURNOUT?
RECOGNIZE THE SIGNS
According to research conducted by Maslach et. al., burnout is composed of three main syndromes namely: exhaustion, cynicism, and inefficacy.
Exhaustion – physical, cognitive, and emotional fatigue that demoralizes your ability to work and effectively and makes you feel incompetent and unsatisfied with your work.
Cynicism – the psychological distancing of yourself with your work. Otherwise called depersonalization, cynicism makes you feel uninterested in tasks which is often the result of work overload, conflict, and unfairness.
Inefficacy – incompetence, and lack of achievement and productivity. Inefficacy tends to result in high levels of anxiety as you feel as though your skills are not enough to successfully complete a task. This often develops along with exhaustion and cynicism.
Other symptoms may include but are not limited to:
- • Forgetfulness and difficulty concentrating
- • Diminished pride in your work
- • Losing sight of yourself and your goals
- • Difficulty maintaining relationships and being present with loved ones
- • Lack of motivation
- • Lower productivity
- • Self-doubt and low self-esteem
- • Feelings of loneliness and detachment
- • Feel that every day at work is a bad day.
- • Feel overwhelmed by your responsibilities.
- • Engage in escapist behaviors, such as excessive drinking.
- • Have less patience with others than you used to.
- • Experience physical symptoms such as chest pain, shortness of breath, sleeplessness, or heart palpitations, headaches, digestive complications, muscle tension, pain, fatigue, or high blood pressure.
- • Alienation from Activities
TRACK YOUR STRESS LEVEL AND FIND THE SOURCE
It is important to keep track of your stress level because it helps you understand your personal stress patterns and behaviors. Then, find the “Why” of your burnout. It is important that in order to start recovery, you must first understand the cause of the burnout in the first place. It is only then that you can start to find the solution.
Although everyone is going through burnout and can have general causes, we must understand that each of our experiences is unique and different from one another therefore, only we can understand ourselves and understand our burnout. Thus, we can ask ourselves the question “Why?’ in order to find the source.
IDENTIFY IMMEDIATE CHANGES AND PRIORITIZE YOURSELF
If you have identified your stressors, make immediate changes to your work and lifestyle that can help lessen the load. Oftentimes, people pleasers tend to take on more tasks than they can handle because they are afraid to let people down. If you are a people-pleaser, learn to say no, cancel, and/or reschedule commitments when you already have too much on your plate. This can result in instant relief.
Additionally, reduce exposing yourself to job stressors. Including setting boundaries which may result in resetting expectations of family, friends, and colleagues. In other terms, speak up for yourself. Prioritizing yourself is self-care. Therefore, do work based on what you can do and not on what people expect you to do.
GET ENOUGH SLEEP AND EXERCISE
Sleep not only benefits our physical health but also our mental health. Lack of sleep because of anxiety can highly lead to burnout. Therefore, always get an average of 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night. Create and prioritize a healthy sleep schedule that you should follow every day, even on weekends. This, however, does not mean that you should sleep all the time. Make a schedule that suits you the most so that you are able to do your work and activities while still getting enough rest.
Exercise can also improve physical and mental wellbeing. This does not need to be strenuous, rather, relaxing and calming. If you do not want to do heavy workouts, try doing yoga, meditation, or tai chi. This practices mindfulness and focuses on the bigger picture thus creating a peace-oriented lifestyle.
SEEK PROFESSIONAL HELP
Persistent burnout can lead to other underlying mental health problems. Thus, it is important to seek help as soon as possible. However, we cannot deny that therapists are far more expensive and healthcare in some countries are inaccessible and only cater to those who can afford them. If, for financial and/or other reasons, you cannot afford to go to a therapist or a professional, build yourself a support network. Talk to people you can trust or people who can help you. Do not be afraid because your feelings are valid.
There are other ways to get over burnout but the aforementioned are some of the most important points that you must consider and actually do. At the end of the day, only we can help ourselves because only we can understand ourselves and our feelings. Look for help when it’s due and remember that your feelings are valid.