March 1st, 2013

Are You Suffering From Burnout?

Posted on 01 Mar 2013 at 10:02pm

There’s certainly nothing wrong with a healthy dose of pressure in some aspects of our lives…if we didn’t have the pressure or incentives of deadlines, appointments or goals we’d all be stuck to our beds/sofas or the sun lounger  It’s when ‘healthy’ pressure turns into stress and exhaustion that we have a serious problem and it’s a problem that needs attention. Even hearing the word stress can make us suddenly feel tense.

Though we are mostly educated and informed about the dangers of stress through public health, media and the educational sector, we still don’t seem to know when enough is enough. we push harder because we feel there we have no choice and that there is not enough time in the day.  A lot of women seem to have forgotten how to use their ‘off’ switch. We really do try and have it all in life, the career  the family the wardrobe, the social life ALL of it.  All this comes at a price, a massive price to your health and price a on hindsight you wouldn’t be prepared to pay.

There’s a difference between feeling tired and feeling  extremely exhausted and when you’ve been feeling that level of exhaustion for so long you’re in danger of suffering with burnout! Whatever it’s officially called,  knowing the signs and symptoms and also  how to recover from exhaustion will make a great difference to the way you feel, look and progress in life. Just because you’re very busy it doesn’t mean you’re going to be successful or produce the best quality of work if you feeling sapped of energy, when you get to this stage…something has GOT to give. 

You may know someone who’s behaviour has  become increasingly erratic and aggressive which is normally out of character for that person. Maybe someone has had the guts to comment on how abrasive or intense you are to be around recently.  Some find that after working to a high standard and competently  in their role they will gradually find that  their job becomes a struggle, you may struggle to do tasks you’ve always done easily such as making decisions and a lack of motivation towards the job itself. You’re doing the job because you have to, because it pays the bills and you moan incessantly about your job to anyone who will listen. 

Both occupational and organisational psychologists have extensively researched how you can know you are suffering from burnout, what causes it and how you can and will recover and avoid falling into the exhaustive trap all over again.


According to the Mayo clinic you may be more likely to experience burnout if…

 - You do not find time for a balance between your work life and your personal/social life: A time when you are laughing, smiling feeling relaxed and happy around the people you love. If you are constantly working and under stress where are the times and moments in your life when you get to experience these emotions that keep us sane and calm? 

 - Though it may sound like a luxury or trivial, we as humans always gravitate to rest and play for good reason. Forcing extra work and chores on yourself is a direct path to burn out. When we play and rest we are restoring our energy levels, which you can’t do if you’re constantly working and under pressure.

- You try to be everything to everyone all the time and not making time for yourself: This tends to be because to want to feel important and feel needed but you will not be much use to anyone if you continue as burn out leaves you exhausted and incapable of sticking to commitments and you may find you are cancelling social events and time with friends and family more often.

You work in a helping profession, such as health care, counselling or teaching: profession which can be emotionally draining and demanding on our energy levels. 

You feel you have little or no control over your work

Your job is monotonous, unchallening and lacks stimulation to keep you excited and motivated.


If you believe from what has been said in this article so far you are suffering from burn out then there is a way forward out of the feelings of exhaustion, apathy and unhappiness. First and foremost, speak to your gp and discuss your symptoms. If caught early it may be a case of talking it through and getting time off to recuperate.  Though the very worse thing we could do is to ignore it and carry on pushing yourself too hard. If burnout is ignored it could lead to the following issues:

  • Excessive stress – which can lead to physical illness such as high blood pressure and more
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • A negative spillover into personal relationships or home life
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Alcohol or substance abuse
  • Heart disease
  • High cholesterol
  • Type 2 diabetes, especially in women
  • Stroke
  • Obesity
  • Vulnerability to illnesses

This may sound both worrying and extreme however there are small but very important changes that need to be made to avoid burnout turning burnout  into irreversible long term physical or mental illnesses.


Recovering from burnout is about focusing on looking after you,taking care of you and putting you first. It’s a time when you are allowed to be selfish as your long term health is at stake. When you are able to do this you are likely to become more useful and more pleasant to those around you. You’re moods will feel better and your level of motivation is likely to improve. It’s not necessary to do all the things suggested on the list but starting off with just one of the suggestions may start to make you feel more revitalized you can consider some of the other suggestions.

  • Start the day with a relaxing ritual. Rather jumping out of bed as soon as you wake up, spend at least fifteen minutes meditating, writing in your journal, doing gentle stretches, praying or reading something that inspires you.
  • Adopt a better form of healthy eating, exercising, and sleeping habits. When you eat right, engage in regular physical activity, and get plenty of rest, you have the energy and resilience to deal with life’s hassles and demands. You don’t need to go all out, sometimes making all these changes, especially when you feel low is too much to think of, start off with walking more, drinking or water or some fruit and build up from there. 
  • Set boundaries. Don’t overextend yourself. Learn how to say “no” to requests on your time. If you find this difficult, remind yourself that saying “no” allows you to say “yes” to the things that you truly want to do.
  • Take a daily break from technology. Set a time each day when you completely disconnect. Put away your laptop, turn off your phone, and stop checking email.
  • Nourish your creative side. Creativity is a powerful antidote to burnout. Try something new, start a fun project, or resume a favorite hobby. Choose activities that have nothing to do with work.
  • Assess your interests, skills and passions. An honest assessment can help you decide whether you should consider an alternative job, such as one that’s less demanding or one that better matches your interests or core values.

As well as the above suggestions it may be you need to talk it through either with someone you trust or with a health professional. Sitting alone in silence hoping it will go away or pushing yourself harder is an added strain that doesn’t help the situation. Take time to consider why you’ve become burnout and then start to make the changes to bring you back to life.

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