- Mental Health
Causes and Symptoms of Stress Burnout
The Difference between Stress and Burnout.
Each one of us has a different level of what we can endure before something starts to give.
Although burnout doesn't happen overnight, it can creep up on you if you're not paying attention to the warning signals which can be subtle at first.
This article is aimed at helping you find your tipping point, by recognising the signs and symptoms, you may avoid the fall over the burnout cliff.
Stress involves too much: too much pressure, too many demands both physically and mentally. Stressed people can still imagine that if they can get everything under control they'll feel better. Stress is drowning in responsibilities.
Burnout, however, is about not enough. Feeling empty, devoid of motivation and beyond caring. Often not seeing any hope of positive change in their situations. Burnout is about being dried up.
Burnout may be the result of unrelenting stress leading to following the three dimensions:
1. Exhaustion: Feels as though you are all 'used up'. Too much of life is draining, and not enough is fulfilling.
2. De-personalisation. Detachment or distancing oneself from other people, especially those who exhaust us, which in turn creates a cynical attitude. Your coping structure is becoming un-glued. You feel numb
3. Inadequacy. A reduced sense of accomplishment in that you're not getting things done, or you don't have the time to complete the tasks expected of you, or rarely receive positive feedback for what you do. You feel helpless.
Stress, which is not always job related, if unchecked leads to burnout, which is a state of emotional, mental or physical exhaustion.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Have you become cynical or critical?
- Are you disinterested in what's happening around you and have trouble getting started on a job?
- Do you lack the energy to be consistently productive
- Do you lack satisfaction from your achievements?
- Do you use food, drugs or alcohol to feel better?
- Have your sleep habits altered or appetite changed?
- Do you have stress illnesses such as unexplained headaches, backaches, digestive disorders or other physical complaints?
- Do you feel isolated at work and in your personal life?
- Does your work take up so much time and effort that you have no energy is left for your family and friends?
- Increasingly pessimistic outlook on life. Do you find it's harder to get excited, harder to let things roll off your back and hard to look on the bright side in general?
Although any 'yes' answers are related to stress or burnout, some of these symptoms can indicate a thyroid problem or depression, please consult your doctor or mental health advisor to obtain clarity.
JOB BURNOUT Add these four pointers :
- Lack of Control in the decisions that affect your job, or lack of resources.
- Unclear job expectations or a poor job fit
- Extremes of Activity e.g. either always monotonous or always chaotic.
- Dysfunctional workplace dynamics or a mismatch in values.
In a Nutshell : Stress vs Burnout
Characterised by over-attachment
Loss of Energy
Loss of Motivation and Hope
Produces Urgency and Activity
Leads to Anxiety
Leads to Depression
Medically: Initially Physical Damage
Medically: Initially Emotional Damage
Tips for Pulling Back from the Edge
Before you beat yourself up, remember burnout is not for wimps.
You have reached burnout because of your dedication and ability to see a job through. You have a strong sense of responsibility and expect to reach your goals. However, a strong streak of perfectionism, especially in times of overload, uncertainty and significant change can transform a performance benefit into a personal and professional liability.
Burnout is the response to putting in too much effort, without taking the time to balance and restore oneself.
Getting out of the cycle of negative emotions, withdrawal and paralysis requires you to put your hands back on the steering wheel of life, realign your personal vision and surround yourself with support and make time for laughing.
Help with the Silent killer - Stress
Make a new Life Plan
Take Stock of your Core Values
- Pare down your schedule and cut out activities which are not in line with things that are most pertinent to you.
Ask yourself about Trade-Offs.
- Would you get more out of exercise rather than watching television?
- Would you rather spend time with your family than do a favour for an ungrateful colleague or acquaintance.
- Stay conscious about your choices so you know what needs to change.
Shortcuts - Look at shortcuts and ways to cut corners without cutting quality.
- Can you make dinner by using some pre-cooked ingredients.
- Could you put your sprinklers on a timer?
If you look for shortcuts, you are likely to find quite a few.
Men and Women React Differently to Stress.
- Men engage in some sort of activity like cleaning out the garage, fixing broken appliances, doing hard physical exercise.
- Women often need to talk, or clean, cook or nurture to regain a sense of calm.
Nutrition, Exercise & Wellness - Coping with Stress
Here are a Some Tips for Reducing Stress
1. Clear the Clutter.
Clutter weighs you down, both the stuff in the office, in your home and in your head. Get rid of outdated emails, paperwork, to-do lists that actually don't matter. Clear up the stuff in the cupboards - great rule is "if you haven't used it for two years, you don't need it - get rid of it".
2. Watch what you Eat and Exercise
Healthy food, lemon water, fruit is better than any fast food.
Walk whenever you can - even if its just parking further away and walking to the shop.
3. Breathing Exercise when Stressed :
The key is to breathe deeply from the abdomen, and not the shallow breaths from your chest. You will feel less tense, short of breath and anxious if your body receives more oxygen.
- Sit comfortably with back straight.
- Place one hand on your stomach, and the other on your chest.
- Breathe in deeply through you nose.
- The hand on your stomach should rise, and slight movement from the one on your chest.
- Exhale through your mouth pushing out as much air as possible while pulling in your stomach muscles.
- The hand on your stomach should move in as you exhale, but your other hand only slightly.
- Counting slowly to ten as you inhale and again as you exhale.
4. Visualisation: One Minute Relaxation
Close your eyes and imagine your dream holiday spot.
- Look at what's around you, sharpen the memory and the images.
- Then tune into the sounds, the sensations and feelings on your body.
- Bring in the weather and the smells.
- Once this all comes together, steep yourself in your favourite place for one minute.
You will be pleasantly surprised at the length of a minute and amazed at how relaxed you feel when you leave your vacation visualisation.
If you have reached burnout or it is inevitable, take time off work - a complete break from everything is ideal.
If possible, go away by yourself, take a vacation anything to remove yourself from the situation. Take the time to sleep, recharge your batteries and take stock of your life and get everything back into perspective.
Work on a new Life Plan to guide you on your return.
More ways to relieve Stress
- The Gentle Art of Letting Go
- Manage Stress - Give Yourself More Time
Suffering from Stress and need more time to take the pressure off? Read on, for tips and advice on how to get more time.
- Melt Away Stress and Find More Energy
Relax and find more energy with soothing remedies and wonderful stretches.
- Mindfulness: Your Inner Source of Happiness
Mindfulness is overcoming problems, using your own innate wisdom and finding happiness in your life.