Mental Health
We need to stop glorifying burnout

We need to stop glorifying burnout

Burnout is not a joke people!

There are some serious health risks involved if symptoms are prolonged and ignored. Burnout is a syndrome characterised by exhaustion, cynicism and decreased efficacy.

It’s very situation specific, and normally job related, but definitely not an indication that you just need some more shut eye.

What to look out for?

How burnout can show its ugly head depends on your body.

Yep, this is going to be one of those confusing ones.

In its basic form it is extreme physical and emotional exhaustion, I’m talking the type that knock you for six, no fuel in the tank, can’t be fixed by just simply taking a nap, and continues to impact your life in a negative way for a prolonged period. It’s a funny one to explain because as a simple explanation it is like experiencing a lot of stress for a long time in a particular situation – sounds legit, right?

What it does sound, is simple. And if it’s simple, why do so many people suffer with burnout?

It’s easy to fall victim to the merry go round. Starts off as just a shitty workplace, maybe a boss who asks you to do extra work or stay back late. But it continues, and becomes pretty regular. On top of that you are not sleeping well because you’re thinking about work all night, so then you end up suffering from insomnia. Then all the real problems start, feelings of ineffectiveness and lack of achievement, a disconnection from those around you, not interested in things that were once important and the list goes on. It’s all coupled with more unrealistic job demands, insufficient resources, lack of control and inadequate support.

Sounds too good to miss.

The scary part is, it’s 100% ignorable.

How close are you to burnout?

That’s where the real problems start

If you weren’t already thinking this is a problem, then now you will. Burnout is so easily ignored, that the prolonged ignorance of it leads to depression. Serious depression. The type where you start to think that suicide is the only option. Yes that serious.

The next serious part. Because burnout is so similar in its presentation to generalised depression, it’s severity can also be easily missed.

Those particularly at risk are younger women, but any human is at risk of burnout, especially those high achievers.

Think you might be a high achiever – you could be a perfectionist, click here to find out.

What can you do about it?

Burnout can happen at any point in a career, sometimes right at the start even, taking on too much for too long. It starts out as feeling like just a bit of stress. The disruptions of sleep can come from going over and over issues without actually solving them.

But there are some simple things you can do to help wind down from the busy day,

  • reading about a different topic before bed
  • reduce your exposure to news that outrages you – you are powerless in these situations
  • alcohol is a big no no – sorry
  • avoid caffeine after 7pm
  • take time to do simple exercises, such as walking. You want to slow the mind not increase its workload

And lastly, burnout indicates that the body is under stress, so either the stressor or the individual needs to change. Make your decision before you get on that merry go round.