Are you heading towards Burnout? Whats the difference between Burnout and Stress?
Everything comes at a cost?
We live in a time when so much is possible. A time when the top headlines we are reading is things like Work, Life, Balance and You can have it all. Everyone wants to be rich famous successful and amazingly happy. We are told to think abundantly and it will come true.
We tell ourselves that whatever we want to achieve, if we work hard enough, we can do it. Achieve more, be the best, push to the top, reach your goals, have no limits.
The term “Burnout” was coined in the 1970s by the American psychologist Herbert Freudenberger. He used it to describe the consequences of severe stress and high ideals in “helping” professions. Doctors and nurses, for example, who sacrifice themselves for others, would often end up being “burned out”
Burnout can come from a sense of overwhelming stress, but it tends to come most from specific types of stress and factors in a job. There are several factors that can contribute to burnout, including job-related features, lifestyle factors, and personality characteristics.
There is though a distinction between Stress and Burnout. They are not the same.
The difference between stress and Burnout.
Stress puts a lot of pressure on the body. This can be manageable in the short-term, but if it's constant, it can be bad for both your physical health and emotional wellbeing. Eventually, too much stress on your body over a long period of time can cause you to burn out. Burnout is a state of complete mental, physical and emotional exhaustion.
According to the journal Help Guide (helpguide.org) Burnout may be the result of unrelenting stress, but it isn’t the same as too much stress. Stressed people can still imagine that if they can just get everything under control, they’ll feel better.
Burnout, on the other hand, is about not enough. Being burned out means feeling empty and mentally exhausted, devoid of motivation, and beyond caring. People experiencing burnout often don’t see any hope of positive change in their situations. And while you’re usually aware of being under a lot of stress, you don’t always notice burnout when it happens.
This is emotional burnout. Some of the signs of burnout include:
feeling exhausted and unable to perform basic tasks
losing motivation in many aspects of your life, including your work and friendships
feeling unable to focus or concentrate on tasks
feeling empty or lacking in emotion
losing your passion and drive
experiencing conflict in your relationships with co-workers, friends and family
withdrawing emotionally from friends and family.
Essentially, when you've reached the point of burnout, it can feel like you’ve had the life sucked out of you. You no longer feel capable of caring about what’s important to you, to making any effort, or staying motivated.
The negative effects of burnout spill over into every area of life—including your home, work, and social life.
What can you do?
First step is of course to recognise it and accept that things need to change.
I think one of the things I see in many of my clients and I know I have been here as well is Boundaries or a lack of them.
Set boundaries. Don’t overextend yourself. Learn how to say “no” to requests on your time. If you find this difficult, remind yourself that saying “no” allows you to say “yes” to the commitments you want to make.
Put yourself first It’s about putting yourself first once in a while. Turn off your phone. Leave work at a reasonable hour. Draw boundaries between your life and your work that allow you to succeed in both.
Take a Break Time out. Take time for yourself. Have a holiday. Go on a Retreat. If your working use up your sick days, ask for a temporary leave-of-absence. Use the time away to recharge your batteries and pursue other methods of recovery.
Find balance in your life. If you hate your job, look for meaning and satisfaction elsewhere in your life: in your family, friends, hobbies, or voluntary work. Focus on the parts of your life that bring you joy.
Set time everyday for Yoga, meditation and/or exercise Yoga and deep breathing activates the body’s relaxation response, a state of restfulness that is the opposite of the stress response.
Get plenty of sleep. Feeling tired can exacerbate burnout by causing you to think irrationally. Keep your cool in stressful situations by getting a good night’s sleep.