You Can Have It All…and Burnout Too.

 

“People experience burnout as a gradual erosion of their spirit and zest as a result of …too many pressures, conflicts, demands.”[i]

 

Doing your best and “giving your all” is what many of us strive for on a daily basis.  In our workouts, we are encouraged to push through burnout rounds and work to exhaustion.  Outside of our workouts we often try to give that same “all out” effort.  But what happens if we start to function in a burnout state for a prolonged period of time rather than a short burst?  We can experience burnout in our personal lives and in our careers.  Working mothers, for example, are particularly susceptible to burnout due to the demands of simultaneously maintaining a career and raising a family.  Burnout can lead to increased depression, anxiety and alcohol dependence.  If you are approaching burnout (or you are already fully burned out) and you can’t just take a sabbatical to de-stress, there are a few things you can do to control the situation.

 

  1. Be realistic about what you can and cannot fit into your schedule. Use a weekly calendar and fill in all the appointments and tasks that you have for that week.  If you feel stressed and burned out just looking at the schedule, start eliminating things.  Turning down a work project may be difficult, but it is the right choice if it protects your sanity.  Identify which commitments generate the most stress and think about how to eliminate or revise those commitments to be more manageable.
  2. On a daily basis, keep a log or journal of burnout triggers. If there are particular aspects of your job or tasks that make you cringe, make note of what they are and try to delegate them.  At the very least, try to tackle them early in the day so they don’t bog down your thoughts throughout the rest of the day.
  3. Control and protect your personal resources. Your self-efficacy, self-esteem, and optimism are valuable resources that you possess.  Build up your self-esteem by focusing on all that you have accomplished in your professional and personal life and all that you accomplish each day.
  4. Try to avoid negative spillover from your job to your family and from your family to your job. It’s not always easy to separate the two, especially if you work from home, but a clear transition can help control spillover.  In the morning develop a transition ritual that symbolizes the beginning of the work day.  Similarly, at the end of the work day develop a ritual that kicks off the transition to family time.  This can be a simple as playing a particular song or lighting a candle.
  5. Take time to refuel your emotional energy. Take part in leisure activities, especially in green spaces, in order to increase positive emotions.  Studies have shown that individuals who participate in more leisure activities in green spaces experience more positive emotions.[ii]  The best types of leisure activities in green spaces are personal activities that are not related to work or family obligations.  By immersing yourself in a natural environment it is possible to temporarily leave stressors behind, relieve stress, and increase positive emotions.

 

Burnout can come on gradually or it can hit you all at once.  When you realize you are experiencing burnout you can take steps to overcome its effects.  Realizing that burnout is normal and common can help to make it more manageable.  Sometimes small changes are enough to get things back on track and other times it takes a whole new direction or career change to get out of the burnout rut.  If you have any suggestions on how to deal with burnout, please share in the comments below.  As always, thanks for reading!

 

[i] http://www.tnla.org/?page=TL66_1_staff citing Malakh-Pines and Aronson (1988, p. 11).

[ii] http://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/14/7/757/htm

16 thoughts on “You Can Have It All…and Burnout Too.

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  1. I may well be at risk of this (at least, I would be if I wasn’t being so lazy right now) and so this is timely and useful for me, Rebecca – thanks muchly. 😉
    Kindness – Robert.

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  2. Hi Rebecca:
    Great article, it certainly points out the obvious to others who know and care about you. The greatest risk we have is not seeing it for ourselves.
    I reached that place in 2011 with a highly demanding position and it was horrible place to be. Even though I spoke my concerns to my employer the only response I got was a genuine pat on the back and the words “You are doing a great job” All great to hear until you reach that point of hopelessness and the only relief you get is in sleep when it would come.
    Always and I mean always listen to those who love you as they see far more clearly than you do.

    Hugs from Canada

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. Being burned out is not a fun place to be. It’s kind of like being on a treadmill that keeps going faster and faster. If you don’t run faster you wipe out.

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    1. Thank you. We are expected to perform at an insane pace, so the result is going to be burnout sooner or later. You’re right though, downtime should be seen as an essential part of our schedule. Thanks for your comment 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree. It’s hard to get ahead when the expectations are so unrealistic. I remember working so hard get through school and looking forward to working, only to realize school was the easier part. Take care and thanks for reading!

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  3. Nice read. We all go through this because of our stressful lives, but it always helps to plan and prioritise. In the end we are all humans and it is ok to choose easy paths at times rather than difficult ones. Thanks for sharing 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for reading and for commenting. It’s easy to get to the point of burnout with all we have on our plates. You are right…it’s okay to take the easy way sometimes:)

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  4. I have been using my bullet journal to help me stop burnout, I have so much on that if I do not organise and prioritise things then I start freaking out and not doing anything. It has certainly helped, thanks for the great advice

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I need to have everything written down too, or I’ll start getting stressed out and then do nothing. I’m also learning that I have to keep reviewing my priorities or I’ll lose sight of what’s important. Thanks for reading.

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