Burnout

Burnout
Are you just about to burn out? Why not seek help? The staff counselor’s office is available for you. Call Ext. 4703 and talk to the staff counselor or leave your contacts in the voice mail. The staff counselor will call you and organize to listen to you.

Read more about burnout, what it is, how it affects you, who is likely to suffer from it, what causes it, how you can recognize it and how you can prevent it or cope with it plus some tips on how you can take care of yourself.

 

What is burnout?

The term burnout in slang means exhaustion. It is a psychological term used to explain an experience of long-term exhaustion and reduced interest (depersonalization or cynicism) in work related activities. Further according to Ayala Pines and Elliot Aronson, this term can also be used to define a state of physical, emotional and mental exhaustion caused by long term involvement in emotionally demanding situations. Herbert J Freudenberger defined it as: “A state of fatigue or frustration brought about, by devotion to a cause, way of life, or relationship that failed to produce the expected reward.”

How does Burnout affect you and your work?

  • Burnout reduces your productivity
  • It saps your energy
  • It gives you negative feelings e.g. hopelessness, powerless, cynical and resentful
  • It produces unhappiness that can threaten your job, your relationships and your health

Who is likely to suffer from Burnout?

  • The highly committed
  • The passionate
  • Idealists,
  • perfectionists
  • The hardworking (workaholics)
  • The successful people

Burnout therefore posses a major threat to those who care passionately about their careers and about their jobs as it can spell the end of a successful career

What Causes Burnout?

  • High stress level jobs where people give a lot to others but fail to take care of themselves
  • Exhaustion
  • Poor time management
  • Feeling unable or unqualified to do the job
  • Difficult in adapting to changes in the work routine
  • Feeling overwhelmed by work
  • Inability to meet deadlines
  • Conflicts with co-workers, supervisors and managers
  • Deep disillusionment 
  • Feeling that work is meaningless or boring
  • Lack of support from supervisors and managers

What are the signs and symptoms of Burnout?

Burnout develops over a period of time. It has it’s roots in stress hence once you recognize signs and symptoms of stress and deal with them, the better chance you have to of preventing burnout.

Physical

  • Physical fatigue               
  • Frequent illness               
  • Sleep problems

Emotional

  • Disillusionment with the job
  • Loss of a sense of meaning and cynicism towards employer or clients
  • Feeling of helplessness and hopelessness
  • Feelings of detachment, apathy, withdrawal, and isolation
  • Feeling that one is answerable for everything that happens in work place
  • Feeling of being trapped
  • Feeling of frustration of efforts  as one perceives lack of support from co-workers and reduced cooperation
  • A lack of power to change events
  • Strong feelings of anger against the  people we hold responsible for the situation, irritability
  • Feelings of being a failure at what you’re doing
  • Feelings of depression and isolation

Behavioral

  • Increasing detachment from co-workers
  • Increased absenteeism
  • An increased harshness in dealing with team members / colleagues
  • Marked reduction in commitment to work
  • Increased alcohol consumption

How can you avoid Burnout?

  • Take one day at a time and remember that your shoulders are only broad enough to carry one day’s workload
  • Clarify your job description
  • Take leave and where applicable request a transfer
  • Look for a new job that is related to what you are doing but different from what you do now
  • Make a career move
  • Make a career change
  • May ask for new duties
  • Get career counseling / advice
  • Learn to rest when you are tired
  • Learn to deal to deal with job related stress
  • Set job priorities and put your life into balance

Tips on how to cope with Burnout

Since burnout is related to stress, many methods used to manage stress can be used to help cope with burnout. These include:

  • Maintain good physical health (eat right), get adequate sleep, and make exercise part of your daily routine
  • Be with other people, cultivate relationships with other people and spend time socializing with them
  • Cultivate methods of personal renewal, self-awareness and connection with others.
  • Acknowledge  your needs and find ways to have your need met.