Each of us has a certain personal limit, surpassing which hits us hard, leaves us vulnerable. Unfortunately, our reserves of strength are not endless, so it is imperative to maintain balance at all levels: physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional.
Sometimes overworking yourself can lead to burnout – a state of apathy and exhaustion, which makes us feel drained of strength, confuses our feelings, leads to loss of joy, and taste for life.
Nowadays most of us are forced to handle all our affairs and meetings remotely, which only adds to nervousness, upsets the balance between work and personal life, and makes a threat of burnout even more imminent.
Defining and Explaining Burnout
The World Health Organization has recognized burnout as a real problem. In January 2019, it was included in the International Classification of Diseases. Burnout is not classified as a medical problem, but it is included in the list of factors that affect the population’s health and may be the reason for seeking medical attention.
Burnout is caused by chronic stress in the workplace that employees can’t overcome. It happens when a person has troubles separating work from leisure, spends excessive time as well as effort on the former, which depletes their inner resources much faster.
Working during a pandemic, many employees started working remotely, which makes burnout an immediate threat. When working from home, we often lack a proper schedule and, therefore, push ourselves to constantly be online. For example, work correspondence can go well into the evening, which makes it difficult to disconnect from work, which can elevate levels of anxiety in no time.
What Causes Burnout
Burnout is often caused by external reasons. Some factors that can negatively affect an employee’s emotional state are:
• Excessive workloads – tasks appear constantly and seem to be never-ending.
• Not enough support from team and leader – people are not willing to cooperate, help, give pieces of advice, explain.
• The effort is not being validated – for some people, it is essential to feel special and to be recognized for their achievements, even if they may look not so important.
• Insufficient reward – employees do not receive any perks for their efforts, well-done projects, the closing of successful deals, etc.
• Vague requirements and poor criteria for evaluating work – the employer did not provide clear KPIs and the employee gets assigned to various types of tasks that may not be within his expertise.
• Unclear prospects – employee holds one position for several years and does not go up on the career ladder.
• Not enough vacations/excessive work during weekends – people have no time to have a rest, switch from work mode, and have some time for themselves.
Key Signs of Burnout
An early sign of burnout can be over-commitment to a specific project or task. The employee plunges into the process, ceases to control work time, gradually going beyond his usual schedule. At some point, when their expended forces outweigh the return, a feeling of motivational and physical exhaustion appears. Then the person begins to gradually distance himself from his work duties, which become less emotionally significant to them.
In such situations, negativism and cynicism often appear, and the likelihood of devaluation of one’s own achievements gradually increases. Unfortunately, tracking as well as stopping the process of burnout at early stages is very hard, so you should always keep an eye out for early signs of burnout.
The following signs will help you understand if an employee is experiencing burnout:
• Complaints about continuous fatigue, lethargy, and drowsiness that do not subside throughout the day;
• Lack of former initiative and interest in the work process, loss of energy;
• A negative assessment of one’s own achievements and an underestimation of competency;
• Distancing from colleagues;
• Concentration on processes that do not require immediate attention, but ignoring real problems that need solving ASAP;
• Violation of work schedule, inability to follow it;
• Indifference to customers;
• Disregard of previous hobbies;
• A sense of work’s meaninglessness;
These are just a few signs you should keep an eye on, so they could be handled properly as well as in due time to avoid escalation.
Now that we are more familiar with burnout, it is worth mentioning that it is not only limited to workers. Everyone regardless of age and occupation can experience it.
If you show symptoms of burnout as a student, it would be wise to get assistance with your academic tasks. Such aid can be provided by Subjecto – a service governed by Linda Ferguson, which offers help with an academic writing task and other projects that may arise during the education process.