Burnout is described as a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and chronic stress. Burnout occurs when you feel overwhelmed, emotionally drained, and unable to meet constant demands. But is it really burnout or just stress?
The World Health Organisation recently announced that it will be updating the definition of burnout in the International Classification of Diseases. And though the term may be applied to various aspects, the change in definition is most commonly related to the working environment.
Am I Suffering From Burnout or Stress?
Burnout is very different to stress, but the World Health Organisation highlights that stress remains the core of burnout syndrome. A distinguishing difference between stress and burnout is that stress may be moderated with coping mechanisms whereas burnout is the result of the body’s inability to effectively cope with the stress.
Burnout has very similar symptoms to depression. A person experiencing burnout syndrome may feel physical and emotional exhaustion, a loss of passion for their job and will display feelings of lack of achievement or accomplishment.
You Are Not Alone
Burnout can affect anyone and can be a serious safety concern in the working environment. Not too long ago, Arianna Huffington shared about her own downward spiral into burnout syndrome just a mere two years after founding the Huffington Post. Arianna spoke openly in a Super Soul Sunday interview with Oprah about how she collapsed in her office. She had hit her head on her desk, broke her cheekbone and needed four stitches on her right eye. She was fortunate not to lose her eye completely.
Burnout is not only reserved for media moguls. Just the other day on Twitter ordinary folks like you and me were sharing their own horrific experiences with burnout. The sad part about it all was that even though these individuals were willing to go the extra mile for their respective employers. However, the employers did not care to go the extra mile for the well-being of their employees.
Key lessons to learn from these conversations applies to both the employees and the employers. Employees – take care of yourselves. Your job or career means nothing without your well-being or health (both mentally and physically). As for the employers out there – take care of your staff. Reward their loyalty, because these are the people that are putting their health on the line for your business.
How to Deal with Burnout
Find a Sense of Purpose
Finding pleasure in the work you do is a top motivator. And oftentimes doing something meaningful can outweigh the pay, the hours or the stress of a job. Having a positive impact on the world and making a difference in the lives of others can amplify that meaning
2. Just Say No
Boundaries are important. It’s not always easy to say no but when the demands others place on you become overwhelming it is critical to set clear boundaries. Take stock of your responsibilities and be honest with yourself when you realise that you’re being stretched beyond your limits. Prioritising what’s important to you and then calmly communicating that can be an empowering experience.
3. Get Help
If you feel yourself slipping into a state of burnout, get help. Asking for help does not make you weak. It shows your strength and your bravery. There are trained professionals who can help you find peace of mind and get you back into a healthier routine. You deserve to be taken care of by others and most importantly – yourself.
I’m keen to hear your thoughts. Have you experienced burnout before? How did you deal with it? Let me know in the comments section below or feel free to email me if you want to discuss this privately.