“Burnout: nature’s way of telling you that you’ve been going through the motions, but your soul has departed; you’re a zombie, a member of the walking dead, a sleepwalker.”
Our work can be unforgiving on us at times. Rather, I should say that the work is cruel to working professionals most of the time.
The mounting pressure of meeting deadlines, completing and delivering projects on time, and dealing with multiple things at a time can take its toll on you in more ways than we can imagine.
Ironically, many working professionals do not even realize that they’re on the verge of burnout until they’ve actually drained all their fuel cells. They continue to work when symptoms are subtle.
Only when their physical and mental health deteriorates to an extent where it’s next to impossible for them to work further do they realize that they have pushed themselves beyond the red line.
I’ve felt what it’s like to be on the receiving end of “burnout”. As my responsibilities as the Chief Marketing Officer at ProofHub increased, I wanted to prove myself and worked tirelessly.
Initially, I felt it’s ok to feel a little tired and stressed as that’s the part and parcel of a managerial position. But that’s where I made the blunder — Didn’t recognize the file line between work-life balance.
And one day, I found myself struggling to go to the office. I lost the zeal, my mind was not aligning with my body, and I felt overwhelmed. I knew then that burnout had taken over me.
Fortunately, I recovered soon and went back to work with new-found confidence and energy.
So, how do you know that you’re heading towards burnout? What are some clear symptoms that can help you know it’s time to press on the brakes? Before we get to that here are some statistics that prove how serious this problem is in today’s context:
“A survey from FlexJobs and Mental Health America (MHA) has reported that 75% of workers have experienced burnout, and 40% of polled attributed it to the coronavirus pandemic.”
Now, let’s read about some telltale signs that signal you’re on the verge of burnout.
Six Clear Signs That Help You Know You’re On The Verge Of Burnout
You don’t need to have a dream where you’re drowning to figure out burnout is imminent. You see, the thing about burnout is that it doesn’t occur overnight. Also, burnout is no way similar to stress.
Some warning signs that can make us aware that we’re nearing burnout are as follows:
1. You’re Constantly Exhausted
It’s normal to feel a bit sleepy and tired after a few late nights, but if you’re constantly feeling exhausted day in, day out, then it’s a clear warning sign that burnout is imminent. If you’re struggling to be in your complete control during the day, and struggle to sleep as soon as you hit the bed then you’ve got a strong case of burnout.
2. Increased Negativity Related To One’s Job
If you find that you’ve lost your empathy and compassion, get angry and anxious easily, get irritated quickly over small things, then you should know that it’s time to get your act together. Worse, you may even appear apathetic.
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3. Your Body Has Given Up
Do you try to understand when your body is trying to tell you that it’s too much for it to take? Sleeplessness, headaches, low energy, frequent sickness, poor digestion, etc. are some common signs of excessive stress. Keep a close eye on these warning signs so you can overcome them before it’s too late.
4. Reduced Productivity At Work
We miss deadlines, we make mistakes too often, we start placing blames on others, and we argue too much with colleagues. The result is poor productivity, increasing frustration, and unacceptable behavior at the workplace, which is something that you’re not known for.
5. Poor Concentration
If you’re constantly finding it difficult to focus on even straightforward tasks, leave alone complex ones, it’s an indicator that either you’re overwhelmed or mentally exhausted. Another sure sign that you’re nearing burnout.
6. Not Taking Care Of Yourself
People suffering from burnout tend to engage in an unhealthy lifestyle to cope with it. Being too sedentary, relying on sleeping pills, consuming excessive alcohol and junk food, not taking enough sleep are some common examples.
Seven Things You Must Do ASAP When You Find Yourself On The Verge Of Burnout
Once you’ve identified the major symptoms of burnout, it’s time for you to pull up your socks and overcome this challenge with flying colors! It might seem a tough task early on, but there’s no hurdle you can’t cross when you are determined to do so.
You don’t have to practice all of these things at one go. Rather start by making slow but steady changes to your routine by implementing a couple of these steps, and then notice the change.
Once you start to feel a positive change, you can implement more tricks in your routine.
1. Dedicate Adequate Time For Relaxing
Ok, so you’re experiencing burnout, or on the brink of it. One of the best ways to counter this condition is to manage your time better and dedicate an adequate amount of it to indulge in relaxing activities that give you immense joy.
Take up meditation, play that guitar, take a long walk, go out with family and friends; do what makes you happy and do it regularly. Spending quality time with people you love is a great way to reduce stress and refresh your mind.
2. Use Technology To Relieve You Of Work Stress
It’s true that you can’t stop working to avoid burnout. The point is are you working smartly to achieve more in less time? Do you know how to prioritize work? Are you using a project management tool, note-taking apps or a time tracking tool to simplify complex tasks and keep track of where you’re spending most of your time?
Depending on the type of work you do, there are always some tools that can alleviate your workload by automating tasks. Figure out what tools would best suit you and invest in them to get more out of what you do.
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3. Adjust Your Mindset
Common burnout symptoms include feeling frustrated, anxious, and cynical. You don’t feel motivated to go to work. This is where you’ll have to change your mindset. While it’s ok to experience negative emotions once in a while, you should not let negativity become your default state of being.
Try to see the positive in the most trying situations, and be thankful for all the things you have, including your job.
4. Get Enough Sleep
Research suggests that having less than six-hour sleep is one of the major risk factors for burnout. Poor sleep can hamper your performance and job productivity. Fatigue, decreased motivation, and increased stress are all results of poor sleep.
Also, poor sleep leaves you more susceptible to errors. So get a sound sleep and replenish your resources.
5. Work That Body
Sedentary lifestyles have contributed to poor mental and physical health. Lack of physical activity has led to poor fitness and people suffering from a variety of health ailments. Exercise regularly, but don’t push your body to the brink of exhaustion.
You don’t have to lift weights to exercise; you can do cycling, walking, jogging or play your favorite sports where some physical effort is required.
6. Practice The Pareto Principle
The Pareto principle, also known as the 80/20 rule, says that 80 percent of results we get are due to 20 percent of causes. In other words, small things that we do daily are likely to give us significant results.
When dealing with stress, focus on 20 percent of the causes of stress to improve 80 percent of the results. Identify main burnout causes and then find ways to reduce them.
7. Ask For Different Responsibilities
Burnout in work can also happen due to job monotony; when you are continuously working on the same tasks or working with the same clients over and over again. Remember, a change is as good as a rest. You can ask your manager about taking on different responsibilities.
For example, you can ask for a role that involves going outside of the office for meetings, presentations, conferences, etc. This will help to break the chain of repetitive tasks and you will feel more motivated to work better with a change in job responsibilities.
The Final Thought
With mounting job responsibilities and seemingly never-ending pressure to meet deadlines, it’s not uncommon for working pros to push themselves beyond their limits (mental and physical).
What you’re mistaking as an overstress can easily be dreaded burnout before you realize it. Make sure you recognize the symptoms of potential burnout in the nick of time before it consumes you.
I hope this article proves to be an eye-opener for you and helps you in countering potential burnout by making small but meaningful changes to your daily routine.
Draw a fine line between work and life, and stay safe before it becomes too late.
Thank you for reading this, before you go
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Follow: Vartika Kashyap to read all the articles
Vartika Kashyap is the Marketing Manager at ProofHub and has been one of the LinkedIn Top Voices. Her articles are inspired by office situations and work-related events. She likes to write about productivity, team building, work culture, leadership, entrepreneurship among others and contributing to a better workplace is what makes her click. Follow her on Linkedin.
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