The past year has undoubtedly enriched our speech with new concepts: pandemic, crown crisis, self-isolation – changes have touched our habitual rhythm of life, work routine, and infrequent weekends. Because of the increased stress, another word that characterises the current era, burnout, has also become more widespread. 

People who are overworked face emotional fatigue, anxiety, and lack of motivation. And naturally, they start looking for a way to solve it – they take vacations, look for fun in games at during work hours, quit their jobs.

Let’s learn how to recognise professional burnout and what to do to avoid it.

How Do You Know if You Are Burned Out?

There are several key signs of burnout:

  • A feeling of exhaustion, a feeling of lack of energy;
  • detachment from work;
  • feelings of negativism or cynicism related to work;
  • a decrease in professional activity.

A person, solving work tasks, spends more and more resources that cannot be replenished in time. To continue working more or less effectively, the person begins to spend even more internal resources and does so until they are almost completely exhausted. Internal restlessness arises, nervousness increases, the person becomes more irritable, and it becomes more and more difficult for him/her to concentrate. Added to all this is anxiety, difficulties in making decisions. And in the end, after a while, the person may be unable even to get out of bed – so little strength he has left.

This being said, burnout never starts abruptly: it is always stress that accumulates over time. A few times you take on extra tasks, stay late at work a couple of times, argue with a colleague, get mixed up in routine tasks, do not hear the necessary words of praise from your boss – and already the first signs appear.

Burnout does not necessarily have to be a professional burnout; it can occur from any activity to which a person devotes a lot of time. Such burnout is called emotional. And the reason can be the fast pace of life, sudden changes, and a great burden of responsibility.

  • Look after yourself: do you sleep well, do you enjoy your work, do you often get nervous, do you have no problems with your memory, have your relationships with your colleagues deteriorated lately? If you realize that all of this is about you, it is worth taking action.

How to Fight Burnout?

  • To begin with, it is worth taking a vacation to come to your senses, rest, and gain strength in a couple of weeks. People who are faced with burnout often think about quitting their job – but do not immediately quit, because the reason may not even be the current team or task, but your excessive perfectionism or desire to take on too much responsibility.
  • Start by building a strict daily routine and establish a clear time frame: so much of one hour a day you devote to work, so much – a hobby or a sport, for example. Think about how you relax: reading specialized literature can not fully be called leisure, it is equal to the continuation of the working day. Try to make it a rule at least once a week to watch movies or visit exhibitions.
  • Never sacrifice sleep! Give up the habit of staying up late at the computer or leaving extra tasks for the evening: even if today you get more work done than usual, in a few days your concentration, and with it, your productivity, will drop.
  • Allow yourself to “be offline” from time to time. The abundance of information that everyone absorbs daily negatively affects the psyche. Therefore, it is worth trying to limit it. Try not to check your mail and not to enter the work chats at least on weekends. It’s not easy to do, especially when you have a smartphone or laptop with endless notifications at your fingertips. A good solution would be a push-button phone – such as a Philips Xenium E172 or Nokia 150 – that allows you to stay in touch with family and friends even as part of your weekly work digital detox.
  • Try to start meditating. In addition to improving your concentration and reducing the impact of negative emotions, proper breathing will reduce anxiety and improve sleep.

Burnout (especially in its initial stages) is not always a bad thing. A feeling of fatigue and emptiness only draws your attention to the fact that your current mode of work and rhythm of life is too active. Burnout is not the end, it is a reason to finally think about yourself, your health, and your emotional and mental state. Maybe after a burnout, you will be able to evaluate your strengths and abilities better, and maybe you will even change your profession or place of work – the main thing is that you feel inner harmony.