Burnout is an occupational phenomenon – not an illness or health condition. The 11th revision of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) defines burn-out “as a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed”.
In short you experience your workplace as stressful and you are not able anymore to copy with the demands. It does not apply to other stressful experiences in your life.
If you can identify the symptoms early enough, you’ll increase your chances to tackle the underlying issue on time… and not to drift into an illness.
1. Feeling of Energy Depletion and Exhaustion.
Burnout and depression share some of the same symptoms. Symptom means it is your own subjective experience. Your body feels depleted of energy and vitality. You feel as if your body is paralyzed.
What you experience
- You wake up still tired though you went to bed early.
- Climbing the stairs, preparing for work, taking in the grocery shopping or lifting up your kids takes more effort than you can afford.
- You feel overwhelmed by the tasks ahead of you.
What you can do to overcome your exhaustion
1.Look at the time you’re spending at work and the time you’re actually performing at work. Create buffer zones to create space in your calendar to rewire and not to expire.
- Apps like brain focus can help you create focus and break times. You can adjust the focus time that best fits you. For example 25 min focus and 5 min break. In the break time make sure to do the opposite of what you were doing.
- Great time breaks are: Breathing, Brain Fitness, Stretching, Mindfulness, and Lunch away from the desk. Or use this time to check on social media if necessary.
2. If you’re chasing deadlines instead of finishing them, scale back and set priorities. You can’t do everything at any time. Do a single to-do list for every day with things you must do.
3. You are not designed as a robot who can perform 24/7. Even a robot needs energy to perform. Though you may not follow a 9 to 5 job, the 8 hours work day and weekend were created for a reason. After work time is an important part for your inner balance and social connections.
4. Create a sleep ritual to get your body into sleeping mode. Detach from devices at least an hour before bed time. The bright light interferes with sleeping hormones that are released from your brain when it is becoming dark. Get in the rhythm of becoming more and more relaxed. Guided meditations and calm music can help.
2. Increased mental distance from one’s job.
It is natural that there are time that you don’t enjoy the work you do. However, if this feeling persists even when you are with friends and family, or just thinking about your work makes you feel miserable and you map out how you could escape your work, then this is a symptom of burnout.
What you experience
- You’re calling in sick days on a regular basis.
- You suspect that your colleagues, your boss or clients are against you and you become more irritable and less patient.
- You do not attend company events or parties you were once looking forward to.
What you can do to overcome your distance
The most important thing is to find out, what is truly causing the stress at your work place.
- Is it a conflict you have with your boss or colleague and it effects your work relationship?
- Is it the new software you’re not understanding and you lack behind your work?
- Is it the merging of departments and you fear to be sidelined or laid off?
- Is it that you feel that you have to prove yourself to be in your current position?
These are some guidelines for your self-reflection (adapted from Byron Katie):
- In this current work situation, who/what angers, confuses, saddens, or pressures you and why?
Fill in the blanks: I am _____ with ______ because_____
- In order to be happy in this situation what do you need them to think, say, feel or do?
Fill in the blanks: I want _____ to __________
- What is it about the situation that you’ve never want to experience again?
Fill in the blanks: I don’t ever want to __________
Do this self-reflection to understand the deeper reasons of your burn-out. Only then you can find the right solution for your work situation.
If you need further help to find the underlying narrative of your distance to your work and how to solve it, book a 30-min discovery call with me now.
3. Reduced Professional Efficiency
Once your burnout reaches a certain level, it will affect your work performance and your self-confidence. The nervous system has taken its toll on your stress response, your emotions and thoughts. You experience a mental burnout.
What you experience
- Thoughts in your mind become louder and asking you: “What’s the point!”
- You think this work is awful and it will always be like this.
- You may start feeling hopeless, helpless and powerless.
- You feel that the situation is not in your control, not predictable and you have no abilities to deal with it.
- These symptoms can also manifest as a mental fatigue. You have difficulty concentrating at work and finish your daily tasks not to speak about getting done novel and complex problems.
What you can do to overcome your reduced professional efficiency
1.Make the part of your work you can control predictable. Take time as your precious gift and trade it for the things that bring you and your project forward. This means setting clear boundaries and reducing low value digital noise and optimize tools that benefit your work.
2. Focus on the positive. Burnout can occur because your focus is lost and misdirected to negative emotions and thoughts. Consider your daily thoughts and feelings. Are you focusing on the negative aspects of every situation?
How can you change this, so your thoughts are on a more positive path?
Do this short exercise from The Work by Byron Katie.
- What is your belief/thought concerning your work?
- Can you absolutely know it is true?
- Does this thought bring peace or stress into your life?
- What images or body sensation arise when you think of this thought?
- What are events in your life you felt similar?
- What feelings arise when you have this thought (e.g. anger, sadness, helpless, hopeless…)
- Who would you be without this thought?
You may want to create lists of positive actions and thoughts throughout the day to stay on track. You can keep a notebook of inspirational quotes to help you avoid negativity.
To increase your chances to prevent depression and recover from burn-out fast, take time to relax and follow this advice.
Find time to relax, trade your time as the most precious asset, reflect on the narratives of your work place situation and play with your negative thoughts. Understanding the underlying issue of your burnout will increase your chances to recover from burn-out and possibly make you more resilient in the future.
What insights are you taking away from this? And most importantly what are you going to put into action? Comment below.
How To Recover From Burnout in 4 Sessions
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Consider how you came to be in this situation. Do you need to make some changes at work, a different job, or a more satisfying relationship? Could it help you to speak to a professional? What needs to happen to prevent the same situation from happening again?
My goal as an executive coach is to provide rapid and long-lasting changes for professionals who go through life changes or challenging situations resulting in burnout, stress and anxiety. No matter where you are in the world, the therapy sessions are held online. 4-Hours of my Elevate Intensive and you will improve the quality of your life, switch your body back to peace and balance, and gain clarity and focus.
I hold a master’s degree in psychology with an over 15-years career in counseling and coaching. I trained with a broad range of international experts like the world-renowned therapist and pioneering hypnotherapist Marisa Peer (Rapid Transformation Therapy Practitioner®), Rori Raye (Relationship Coaching), and Prof. Dr. Justin Kennedy (Applied Neuroscience Coaching).
Contact me today to learn how I can help make things better! www.brainbossmethod.com
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