Burnout impacts many leaders in the workplace. Women who work in corporate America tend to carry a larger load on their shoulders by bearing the weight of work and family life. We tend to juggle completing our office responsibilities, leading our staff, managing our households, dealing with our kids, and an endless list of other tasks. The never-ending to-do list is always looming over our heads.
What is Burnout?
Research has found that women are often more emotionally exhausted than their male counterparts in corporate environments. (Purvanova, 2010) This often leads to burnout, a term that’s described as a ‘combination of exhaustion, cynicism and perceived inefficacy resulting from long-term job stress’. (Reith T.P. 2018)
There are a couple of symptoms that surface as one nears burnout. According to the psychologist who coined the phrase the symptoms are:
- ‘A feeling of exhaustion
- Unable to shake a lingering cold
- Suffering from frequent headaches
- Gastrointestinal disturbances
- Sleeplessness and shortness of breath…’ (Freudenberger, H. J. 1974)
5 Signs You May Be Experiencing Burnout
1. Not Excited About Anything
Burning out means you find your work monotonous and lacking any thrill. You dread Mondays and the endless list of demands that are never satisfied. Complaints about the work environment, industry, and upper management linger in your mind throughout the day. This gives birth to a level of negativity that kills any excitement for the activities after work. You may get excited about a mani-pedi but you are too tired to go to the salon, so you reschedule your appointment.
2. Feeling Fatigued Emotionally and Physically
Exhaustion can appear both mentally and physically when one experiences burnout. The emotional energy exerted to do a good job depletes you by the end of the day. This makes it hard for you to enjoy your family, kids, and fun activities because the job is living in your head even when you are not physically at work. You are always complaining about being tired and having no energy. Due to exhaustion, you have a hard time concentrating and are easily distracted. Let us not forget to mention, irritable.
3. Suffering from Physical Ailments
Burnout negatively impacts your immune system and can easily be identified by certain physical ailments as well. While most people do not have the same physical symptoms, some complaints are common.
These can include anything from insomnia, chest pain, headaches, shortness of breath, dizziness and other acute conditions
4. Being Cynical About Everything
Sometimes it can be difficult to be optimistic about your job, but this sort of cynicism is different from what you experience during burnout.
A person afflicted with burnout can begin to have strong objections towards not only their jobs but also to other tasks in their everyday lives. They may start to feel there’s no escape from their daily drudgery and thus, suffer from feelings of guilt and worthlessness.
5. Being Forgetful
Prolonged job stress can cause a lack of focus and memory lapses. This type of forgetfulness can either be mild or severe, depending on how long the burnout has gone untreated. Some experts in the field say that it can take up to 2 years to recover from burnout. What are some ways to overcome it? So glad you asked!
Tips to Overcome Burnout
According to professional psychologists, there are several ways you can treat burnout. Some of these tips are outlined below (Melinda Smith, 2018):
- Get at least 7-8 hours of sleep a night. Yes, there will be the occasional burning of the midnight oil but that should be the exception, not the norm. Fitbit is a great way to monitor how many hours you are sleep verse tossing and turning.
- Align your purpose, skills, talents, and strengths with your work. This will increase the value attached to the day-to-day activities. When you are doing work that you love, it makes it easier to deal with the things you don’t like about your job. You can just make money or you can make money and have satisfaction too.
- Developing deeper friendships with peers on your job can help to increase job enjoyment.
- Limit your contact with negative-minded people who gossip and complain.
- Take some time off to unplug, recalibrate, and recharge in a different environment than the same 4 walls of your home.
- Take a daily break from technological devices. Put down the phone, close the laptop, and walk away from the TV for an hour a day. Read a book, have a cup of tea, and watch the sunset. It will make you sharper when you return to work.
- Make exercise a priority in your life and get an extra boost of energy. Getting your heart rate up for 20 – 30 minutes a day can make a world of difference in your concentration, memory recall, and overall mood.
- Stick to an energy-laden diet. Fruits give you energy and vegetables stabilize the energy. Giving your body the fuel it needs to serve you better is vital to overcoming burnout.
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