What is burnout you ask? The definition of burnout is physical or mental collapse caused by overwork or stress. Wow! Physical or mental collapse! Try both simultaneously. Another definition I found stated that its emotional or mental exhaustion with doubts about your competence and value of your work. Wow again, because I’ve doubted myself a lot more lately than I ever have in the past. Burnout is real and burnout sucks! Burnout can occur in any type of field, but especially in the mental health or helping field.
Since I began in my promotion, a short 3 months ago, I literally have not taken care of myself. I have slacked dramatically with my self-care, I used to work out with a trainer and now I’m lucky if I hit the gym 2-3 times a week, I don’t get enough rest, I’ve been cranky and sad and mad, and the answer to all of that is, I was so close to burnout or perhaps hit burnout, in such a short amount of time. So how does someone get burnt out? Well, for me, I wasn’t taking care of myself and I was putting my job above everything and it was not good for me mentally or physically. I know I’ve gained weight, I know my mental health has been slacking, I know I was close to collapse. I’m not saying that this must happen to everyone who experiences burn out, nor do they have to experience both, I’m only speaking for myself.
How can you tell if you are close to burn out? Ask the following questions:
*Have you become cynical or critical at work?
*Do you drag yourself to work and have trouble getting started once you arrive?
*Have you become irritable or impatient with co-workers, customers, or clients?
*Do you lack the energy to be consistently productive?
*Do you lack satisfaction from your achievements?
*Are you using food, drugs or alcohol to feel better or to simply not feel?
*Have your sleep habits or appetite changed?
*Are you troubled by unexplained headaches, backaches, or other physical complaints?
I didn’t realize at first that all I was feeling was attributed to that. Burnout can lead to so much more, if not discovered soon enough. You can become excessively fatigued, suffer with insomnia, depression, anxiety, and various medical issues. What am I doing since discovering this? I’m going to therapy weekly, I’m trying not to let the little things overwhelm me, and I’m remaining confident in my abilities.
What are some things I think you can do if you are feeling like you are on the edge? I’ll provide a list of things to start with and feel free to adjust according to what works best for you.
1. Manage the stressors that contribute to your burnout.
2. Discuss specific concerns with your supervisor. What are the options for continuing education or professional development?
3. Adjust your attitude. Rediscover enjoyable aspects of your work. Take short breaks throughout the day. Spend time away from work doing things you enjoy.
4. Seek support.
5. Assess your interests, skills, and passions.
6. Get some exercise. It can help you get your mind off work and focus on something else.
7. Get some sleep. Aim for at least 7-8 hours each night.
I think if you incorporate more of those things into your daily to do, then you can either overcome burnout or prevent it from occurring. Trust me, its not something you want to experience, and you must take care of you. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, no one is going to love you like you!