Managing Stress Techniques
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Preventing Burnout

Simply said, burnout is a condition that builds up slowly over a period of prolonged stress. You may be suffering from burnout if you often feel disillusioned, hopeless, helpless, and totally worn out. One of the main symptoms when you are burned out is that, you may keep feeling that everything looks bleak, problems seem insurmountable, and it is very difficult for you to muster up the energy to even care, let alone do something to help with your situation. In medical definition, buronout refers to a state where you feel overwhelm, emotionally listless and depress due to prolonged accumulation of high stress. The stress causing burnout is usually related to excessive workplace or lifestyle demands, and a general imbalance in lifestyle.

In my own opinion, people who tend to suffer from burnout are those who feel a lack of control over their environment, receive little recognition, possess unclear expectations placed on their shoulders, and lacking of social support and love. Another main cause of burnout is to have too high a performance expectation placed on yourself. In order words, people who suffer from burnout usually feel like they are working too much but with no rewards or they see no path to excel at their task further, or even see no end to their persistent workloads. While burnout isn’t a recognized clinical psychiatric or psychological disorder, burnout does have some similarity to diagonosable conditions to depression, anxiety disorders or mood disorders.

One very important thing that you must take note is that, burnout is caused by situational stressors rather than a biologically mandated chemical imbalance. It’s kind of like non-clinical, less intense cousin to depression that just comes for a visit and will leave if you find ways to reduce stress in your life.

Am I Experiencing Burnout?

Like heartburn, burnout is a slow burn and it is a very agonizing burn. Having said that, burnout is a process rather than an event. "Erosion" is a very good word to describe burnout. One day, you saw a gigantic boulder under the waterwall. One day you return and the gigantic boulder is reduced to half its original size. Then one day, it becomes a small stone, even to a pebble. This analogy reminds us that burnout is an insidious and pernicious internal erosion.

The Signs of Job Burnout

  • Chronic fatigue -- exhausted, rundown, etc.
  • Negative, irritable, critical of self, easily angered
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Frequent headaches or gastrointestinal upset
  • Weight loss or gain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Feelings of helplessness
  • Anxiety/panic attacks, depression
  • Declining productivity
  • Interpersonal problems

Causes of Job Burnout

  • Feeling unable to meet job expectations
  • Feeling your true abilities are underutilized
  • Poor relationship with supervisor
  • Difficult relationships with coworkers or customers
  • Unappreciated for good work
  • Lack of timely feedback or praise from supervisor
  • Feeling supervisor doesn't listen to your issues
  • Feeling left out of things
  • Changes in business or work environment
  • Inability to balance personal and professional life

In today's hectic and fast pace world, many people will suffer from job burnout every now and then. Many of us are working longer hours for our job and career. However, the most significant is how the way we work today. The more we overworked ourselves, the more likely we are to make mistakes in our work and have conflicts with our employers and may even resent our co-workers.

The early symptoms of burnout include a deep sense of tiredness, fatigue, or exhaustion that seems to be never-ending. Emotionally, you feel that you are at your wits end of your emotional rope. Psychically, you keep possessing a realm of negativity in your mind - you experience a sense of dread, hopelessness, cynicism and frustration in your life.

On the other hand, your relationships with your family or your significant other will suffer and become exhausting. Your relationships are no longer fun and enjoyable and work itself becomes a chore rather than a passion. You will lose your concentration and simply staying focus is a feat to you. Slowly, you feel detached and maybe even become unattached from the people in your life and your work.


How To Prevent And Cure Burnout

Once you recognize the warning symptoms and signs of burnout in yourself, you must remember that if you leave it alone, it will only get worse than before. However, if you make effort to get your life back into balance, you can effectively prevent burnout from becoming a full-blown mental breakdown. Simply put, the earlier the stage of your burnout you are in, the easier it will be to find resolution to the situation.

Below are some ways to prevent burnout:

  • Enroll in a class or learn a new skill related to your field. Doing something new and out of the ordinary can be a great energizer.
  • Change your routine. Try doing your usual morning activities in the afternoon and vice versa. This simple change can make a big difference.
  • Award yourself “comp time." If you were working at a corporate office you’d be rewarded with overtime pay or comparable time off from work. Be sure to do this for yourself. Schedule an afternoon to go to the zoo or meet a friend for lunch. You’ll find when you are refreshed you work much more effectively. I’m sure you’ve heard this many times, but be sure you actually will "DO IT".
  • Get sufficient sleep and rest. Various studies have shown that most adults need 7 to 8 hours of sleep every day to feel well rested and energetic. Additionally, proper rest is necessary to maintain good health and reduce the chances of burnout.
  • Get daily non-stressed fun aerobic exercise. Exercise can make you feel less tired and stressed. Fun aerobic exercise like walking, running, and bicycling have been found to be very beneficial in overcoming work-related stress and burnout.
  • Take time to read and learn. Develop a daily balanced reading habit by avoid depressing news stories). Try studying history or learning about the great philosophers like Socrates and Plato. This will expand your mind, develop new neurons and decrease the chances of succumbing to burnout.

Nonetheless, the most effective way to combat job burnout is to quit doing what you’re doing and do something else, whether that means changing jobs or changing careers. However,  if is option is not feasible for you, you can always try to take time off and go on vacation. Use your off-in-lieu, medical leaves, annual leaves or ask for a temporary leave-of-absence, to remove yourself to your current situation and work. Use the free time to rejuvenate yourself and assimilate new perspectives. Alternatively, you can also ask for new tasks and duties. If you have been doing the same kind of work for a prolonged time, ask for something new: maybe a different grade level, a different work department or a different project to work on.

No matter what you do to prevent or cure burnout, you must understand that curing burnout is a process too, just like burnout is also a slow process before it becomes full-bloomed. You must allow time and space to indulge in your own personal things or simply just relax and do nothing. Listen to good music, eat well, sleep well and go out to the outdoors and do some exercises. As time goes by, your body will return to the normal status and your burnout will vanish totally.

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Useful Information


Stress Management Tips - How To Manage Stress?

Stress Relief Techniques

Dealing with Job Stress

Dealing with Relationship Stress

Preventing Burnout

Causes Of Chest Pain - Chest Pain Stress

Don't Let Stress Wear You Out

Cures For Insomnia - Ways To Fall Asleep

Effects Of Stress On The Body

Symptoms Of Stress

Ways To Manage Stress

Occasional Sharp Pain In Chest While Breathing

How To Cope With Work Pressure And The Office Environment