Work Burnout is Dangerous to your Health!
If you are a business owner or an employee, the holidays can be overly busy times. You feel the responsibility to your customers and clients. Added personal responsibilities for extra time needed to get gifts, attend social events can make you feel like you are burning the candle at both ends. Where is the time going to come from? This added pressure can bring you to the point of burnout.
Work burnout is a common occurrence among the best and most responsible workers in all fields. It happens most frequently if you love your job and what you do. You have high standards for yourself; perhaps you are a bit of a perfectionist or an idealist. You want to provide the best service; go over and beyond what is expected to give service to others.
Burnout can sneak up on you. You may not even realize that it is work that is causing your symptoms, and think that you are feeling stress from other areas in your life. In fact, whether the cause is work or other stress, your symptoms can overlap. Burnout can even seem like depression, and often doctors will misdiagnose and mistreat work burnout. That is why it's important for you to be aware of the symptoms. If you are dealing with another stressor in your life, and you don't feel better, you can start feeling frightened and powerless about getting better.
With work burnout, as you get busier and busier trying to get more accomplished, it become almost like the syndrome of a frog in slowly increasing warm water getting boiled to death. You don't even notice until it's too late.
Symptoms of Burnout:
FATIGUE You are working like a maniac, but never seem to get caught up. Productivity declines as you increase they time you are spending to get your projects done.
SELF FORGETTING You are not taking time to do the things you once enjoyed; seeing your friends, shopping for and cooking healthy foods, reading or watching movies, etc.
UNEXPLAINABLE MISERY You are miserable but don't understand why. You may be feeling tired, but unable to get relief from sleep, if you are able to sleep! Headaches and other physical symptoms, your immune system is being compromised. If you see your doctor, (s)he may misdiagnose and treat you for depression. You are NOT depressed: you are overwhelmed from work.
EMOTIONAL REACTION Your frustration level drops, you become cynical and aggressive. Your values of service are being challenged, and you wonder why you ever thought this work was a good idea.
DISENGAGED You don't want to be with friends or people who you had enjoyed. You want to be by yourself. You push away people who want to help you. You feel an inner emptiness and loss of purpose.
PHYSICAL AND MENTAL COLLAPSE Your body, being the receptacle of your negative emotions stops you from continuing on this path by ramping up the milder symptoms to full blown illness. You have passed the point where an easy fix is possible. You MUST stop and rebuild your life.
The fact is that burnout is a very common occurrence in today's economy. People are afraid if they don't do extra, their business or job will be in jeopardy. Frightened about the negative possibilities of the economy, you may be putting extra effort and time into every project and over emphasize the importance of small, otherwise meaningless details.
What can you do to prevent burnout?
It is important to realize that burnout is something that you are creating in your own life. If you work with others who are not suffering from these symptoms, it may help you to understand that there is a reason that you are experiencing burnout and they are not! You may be overworking or taking on too much responsibility. Do you have trouble saying "no"? Are you taking over and not allowing others to do their jobs because you think they may not do it as well as you? Are you a perfectionist, and don't want to share control? Are you enabling others NOT to do the work because they know that YOU will do the job if they don't? If any of these scenarios sound like you, it's time to be honest with yourself. Even if the president of the US stops working, or dies, there is someone who will take over! No one is indispensable.
You must realize that it is not up to you to take care of every one in every moment. If you own your own business, you may need to hire help, because you are trying to do too much yourself! If you are a valued employee, you can speak with your manager or boss, and explain that you are experiencing symptoms of overwork. Good employers and managers will pay attention and help prevent and alleviate burnout and workplace stress with wellness programs, better schedules and job descriptions that don't put their best employees at risk.
Caregiver burnout, work burnout and stress hurt not only an employee, but co-workers and your business clients. It also can make a dent in an employer's bottom line when losing their best workers. Employers will have to pay to rehire and retrain, not knowing if they will get another employee as overly dedicated as the one they lost! Hopefully, your boss will realize that you are an important reason the business is functioning and will help you. Good bosses will provide help for their employees to prevent this from happening. And if your boss doesn't care about helping you these issues, it may be time to start looking for another job.
The best way to prevent work burnout is to be proactive and preventative by doing self-care on a continuous daily basis.
"In an emergency, put on your own oxygen mask first, and then help others".
Cabin Attendant in everyone of the flights you've taken
Other Self care: Be proactive
Eat good food- start with breakfast, healthy snacks (protein - stay away from sugar and white carbs)
Sleep 8 hours - see my sleep hygiene suggestions
Learn to say NO - set up boundaries (see my communication program)
Take a non-coffee/ no cigarette break - Use this time as "Take a Breath break"
Drink a glass of water
Stretch out of your seat (effect of sitting too long: sitosis)
Take a walk, or exercise (park further from your regular spot)
Treat yourself like you are a potential lover you want to impress - say nice things to yourself; make romantic and delicious dinners for yourself; light candles, set the table; listen to yourself - your heart
Keep inspirational quotes around
Turn off bad news - Put on music you enjoy
Smile, relax your face. Smiling has actually been found to be part of a feedback loop that gets your body relaxed, which in turn calms your mind!
The bottom line is: It's up to you to take care of yourself. You can't take care of anyone else if you don't take care of your own needs first. So, to run an effective business, remember to take care of the person who needs it the most: You!