Burnout can and does strike anyone who’s under continuous pressure to perform or achieve. Also, anyone who’s just plain tired of what they’re doing can burn out.
Burnout isn’t something that hits out of the blue. Rather, it is a long, slow process arising from repeated frustration and unmet expectations.
Here are some symptoms of burnout:
- Loss of energy
- Reduced efficiency
Different people respond to burnout in different ways: by feeling guilty or irritable, denying anything’s wrong, blaming others, or working even harder. These responses are futile, though, and only fan the flames.
Here’s what you can do to prevent burnout or nip it in the bud:
- Pay attention to any signals your body is sending. Insomnia, overeating, and other minor complaints may be signs of burnout.
- Ask yourself what you really expect to accomplish in your career or personal life. Are your expectations realistic? If not, re-evaluate your goals and make sure they’re reachable.
- Mentally distance yourself from work.
- Treat yourself to something special from time to time. A pleasant break, a change of scenery, or a slight indulgence can reduce negative feelings that often lead to burnout.
- Reduce work hours – if possible. Take breaks. Learn to delegate some tasks.
- Learn meditation or practice other relaxation techniques to help you through stressful periods.
- Pursue some kind of physical activity.
Used with permission from A Year of Health Hints by Don R Powell, PHD and the American Institute for Preventive Medicine, copyright 2010. www.healthylife.com