Are you suffering from burnout? Expert on top warning signs and prevention tips

Published on Apr 06, 2022 09:45 AM IST

A burnout is a state of physical or emotional exhaustion caused by long-term stress or overwork. An expert on how to recognise warning signs and prevention tips.

When left untreated, burnouts can lead to depression or other mental health problems.(Pixabay)
When left untreated, burnouts can lead to depression or other mental health problems.(Pixabay)

Burnout in the age of pandemic is becoming more common than ever before as people struggle to manage stressors such as long working hours and unpredictable situations. According to WHO, burnout is a syndrome that occurs due to workplace-related stress that has not been successfully managed. Feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion, increased mental distance from one's job or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one's job, and reduced professional efficacy are some of its signs. (See pics: How to beat pandemic fatigue and stay positive)

What is a burnout?

"A burnout is a state of physical or emotional exhaustion caused by long-term stress or overwork. Burnouts can be caused by many different things, including work overload, role conflict, and lack of social support," says Dr Chandni Tugnait, Psychotherapist and Life Coach.

Dr Tugnait says it is common for a person who's experiencing a burnout to feel overwhelmed, cynical, and detached from their work. They may also have trouble sleeping, eating, and concentrating.

"When left untreated, burnouts can lead to depression or other mental health problems. If you think you may be experiencing a burnout, it's important to seek help from a professional. There are many treatments available that can help you get your life back on track," says the psychotherapist.

What are the warning signs of a burnout?

Recognising burnout early on can make sure the problem doesn't go out of hand and become too severe. If you notice you are losing interest in tasks that you enjoyed once, feel exhausted all the time, troubled by pessimistic thoughts, it's time to take a step back.

Here are some of the most common warning signs of a burnout described by Dr Chandni Tugnait.

* You feel chronically exhausted.

* You have trouble focusing or concentrating on tasks.

* You feel irritable and impatient with others.

* You have lost interest in activities you used to enjoy.

* You feel overwhelmed and stressed out all the time.

* Your physical health has deteriorated, either because you've been pushing yourself too hard or because you've been struggling to cope with stress.

* You're constantly feeling negative and pessimistic about your life.

* You have problems sleeping, or you're sleeping too much.

* You feel like you can't go on anymore.

Burnout can affect our physical and mental health in a number of ways and can lead to headaches, high blood pressure, heart problems, and make us prone to anxiety, depression and other mental health issues. It can also make us lose interest in work and other activities that we once enjoyed. Moreover, it can lead to problems with relationships and family life.

Here's how one can beat or prevent burnout

Dr Tugnait says acceptance and awareness of your situation could be the first step to resove it. One you know whether you are suffering from initial stages of stress or chronic stress, the next step becomes easier.

• Recognise the signs of burnout: The common signs are unexplained fatigue, pains and aches, snapping at family members & co-workers, difficulty in concentrating, increased health concerns and insomnia. Don’t ignore the signs.

• Take time for yourself: Make sure you set aside time each day to relax and do something you enjoy. This can help reduce stress and keep you from feeling overwhelmed.

• Take a break from the rigorous schedule: When you're feeling overwhelmed, take a few minutes to yourself to relax and rejuvenate. Also avoid overscheduling yourself.

• Intense bending can lead to ‘breaking’: It’s wiser to accept the situation, ask for help, take frequent breaks, prioritise and delegate instead of over-burdening self.

• Set healthy boundaries: Make sure you take care of yourself by setting limits on how much work you do and how much time you spend in different activities at home and at work.

• Practice self-compassion: Be direct and assertive and take on only what you can handle without pushing yourself to extreme physical and mental exhaustion. Do what you would suggest a friend to do in such a situation - a key tool in channelising self-compassion.

• Progress over perfection: It’s better to progress than exhaust oneself while trying to be perfect. Treat yourself with love and compassion you give others. Use your strengths and don’t run empty as that wouldn’t serve anyone.

• 5-5-5 Technique: Start every morning with 5 minutes of gratitude, 5 minutes of physical exercise and 5 minutes of reading a book. These 15 minutes assist in starting a day on a positive note instead of panic or stress. A continuous practice of this technique helps in overall spirit-body-mind alignment.

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