Burnout is caused by a combination of thoughts and environmental stressors. Here are the top 3 ways to begin to remove the harmful effects of burnout.
*WHAT EXACTLY IS BURNOUT? *
Burnout is the experience of feeling completely drained. This can mean physically exhausted, mentally tired, emotionally spent, and often with a heavy layer of stress on top of all of those other feelings.
Burnout exists on a spectrum, meaning some people have fewer feelings or symptoms and others show all of the symptoms of burnout.
Some people can continue to function in their work and life even while experiencing burnout.
Whereas, others experience debilitating symptoms, like pain and physical illness or impairment.
Burnout is often caused by a combination of thoughts a person has and environmental stressors.
Elizabeth Grace Saunders, with Harvard Business Review, recently wrote an article that listed 6 causes of burnout that I think are really inclusive.
*6 FACTORS OF BURNOUT *
- Workload that doesn’t match your capacity.
- Perceived lack of control, such as lacking resources, autonomy or in the decisions that impact your life.
- Rewards (intrinsic and/or extrinsic) that do not match the time and effort that you are putting in.
- Community that is not supportive or trusting.
- Lack of Fairness in the treatment you receive. This can include getting acknowledged or access to resources.
- Values mismatch and how motivated are you to stay in a mismatched value system. If you are not motivated, but feel stuck and out of alignment with other people’s values, burnout can develop quite quickly.
*COMMON SIGNS OF BURNOUT *
+ Exhaustion, metally and/or physically.
+ Feelings of failure, self-doubt, low self-confidence.
+ Helplessness or trapped feelings.
+ Noticeable lack of motivation, or declining motivation.
+ Seeing many things as negative, as if things are happening to you, instead of being within your control.
+ Lowered sense of satisfaction.
+ Uncharacteristically avoiding tasks you once enjoyed.
+ Physical symptoms of pain that are unexplained by other conditions, this can include headaches, stomach pain, teeth grinding, mood shifts, anger, and sadness.
+ A feeling like you can’t keep it in any longer or that you are going to lose control.
Many people have periods of stress.
This is common and adaptive.
When the stress won’t go away, it can’t be managed with a healthy diet and exercise, and when it starts to impact your performance, burnout is highly likely to be at play.
*3 STEPS TO ADDRESS BURNOUT *
1. Get Relational Support.
Reaching out to family, friends, and professionals should be the first step. Often, when someone first realizes they are actually experiencing burnout, there are deep feelings of sadness. Some people begin to blame themselves for experiencing burnout, which leads them feeling even worse. Supportive family, supportive friends, and supportive professionals can help people begin to put together a plan for recovery. This plan will involve stress-management techniques.
2. Find ways to unload.
When there is an overwhelming number of tasks to complete and a lack of access to resources, people can take steps to remove demands. Perhaps this is a conversation with an employer about job duties, reducing or shifting work hours, or needing to find a new role completely. For parents, they may need to hire a childcare provider or someone to assist with home tasks such as cleaning.
3. Develop a Supportive Mindset.
The thoughts that we believe are a huge contributor to burnout. This aspect, many professionals do not emphasize, but I believe it is the most essential.
First, notice and acknowledge the thoughts that are being said over and over in your mind that are impacting your happiness.
This can include
“Nothing works for me”
“Something must be wrong with me”
“Something is wrong with them”
“This will never get better”
“They are to blame for…”
This kind of thinking will prolong the stress that you are feeling by impacting the cortisol (stress hormones) in your body.
There are many books and online resources for developing a supportive mindset.
Coaching is another incredible method for noticing the thoughts you are having, exploring why those thoughts are present, and helping you see a more truthful thought. This method of stress management is highly effective in the short- and long-term.
*MOST IMPORTANT THING I WANT PEOPLE TO KNOW ABOUT BURNOUT *
I find many people are incredibly shameful that they are experiencing burnout.
I wish the entire world knew that burnout is not because of one person or circumstance.
Many things have not worked right for a person to experience burnout, and it is not their fault.
I also want the world to know that recovering from burnout can be so much easier than the person realizes.
Oftentimes a few sessions with a coach can completely open up their mindset, which then allows them to take the steps of maintaining a healthy routine.
There are many thoughts that a person has that often keeps them inside of a burnout state, but they often boil down to feelings of “not good enough” “failure” and “fear of loss.”
Once those thoughts are explored, people tend to see the truth of the situation more clearly.
This practice leads to honest conversations and evaluations of the situation.
From there, people can make informed decisions with their best interest in mind.
This is what it means to get out of burnout for the long-term without it coming back again.