Managing and Preventing Burnout

What is burnout?

Burnout describes a severe stress condition that leads to physical, mental, and emotion exhaustion caused by long term emotionally demanding situations such as demanding work or caring for an ill family member. It’s much worse than ordinary fatigue and stress – it makes it hard for people to manage their stress and handle normal daily responsibilities.

Burnout doesn’t go away on it’s own and may even lead to serious physical and mental illnesses like depression, heart disease, and diabetes.

Signs of burnout

Here are some common signs of burnout to look for:

  • Feeling exhausted physically and mentally every day.
  • Isolating from friends, family, and coworkers.
  • Easily becoming irritable and losing patience with others.
  • Fantasizing about running away or going on a solo-vacation as a way to escape never-ending demands. In extreme cases, people may turn to drugs, alcohol, or food as a way to cope.

Tips on managing and preventing burnout

It’s much easier to prevent burnout than manage it, but there are ways to help with both:

  • Address that you are burnout and address the changes you will need to make to change your attitude and habits.
  • Sometimes a vacation isn’t enough to keep the stress at bay. You’ll need to learn how to mentally detach yourself from your stressful situation. This might mean deleting your email app from your phone, so you aren’t tempted to check it when you are off the clock.
  • More likely than not, it’s not your attitude that needs to change but your workload. These hard conversations may cause more stress but remind yourself that taking a proactive approach and having a discussion is better than the alternative of completely burning out.
  • During stressful times, it’s important to know when to reach out for help. Talk to your close family and friends or contact your primary care provider if you need extra help with feelings of stress, anxiety, or depression.