Burnout: are you there?

I read this in a newspaper over the weekend:

“According to the World Health Organisation, work related burnout could soon be one of the most prevalent diseases”

“Why am I not surprised?,” did I think. With the lives most of us are currently leading, it is actually rare to find anybody who has not experienced the state of “burnout” several times in their life. And I am not talking about being stressed. There is a fundamental difference between being stressed and being burned out, although the first one, in excess, leads to the second.

Stress most of us recognise and some of us “manage to manage”. Stress is easier to relieve and there are proven short term measures that will reduce it.

Burnout however, creeps into your life like a snake, silent, treacherous and dangerously unexpected and, before you know it, it is there to stay. No quick fix, no easy off the shelf solution will make it go away. No, you will have to find your own way up and back and sometimes this may be slow and painful.

So what is the difference then? How do you know if you are just stressed or headed into full blown burnout?

I have been there. In my case I can somehow call myself lucky because I will see a clear physical reaction. Granted, it is not pretty, buy very effective and obvious: I do get sick and get  physical pains, such as back- and neck-pain, headaches. I struggle sleeping at night, although I will be very, very tired. So, good for me, as I can watch out for these wake up calls.

Then there are the more subtle side effects that are more difficult to spot, so you may want to read through the 5 questions below and try to answer them in all honesty:

6 questions that may tell you if you are burned out:

  1. Do you have feelings that you are “stuck in your life”, that you need a change, that you are unhappy, or have lost your motivation?
  2. Are you eating badly, not exercising and overall neglecting your health?
  3. Are you constantly “busy”, but have the feeling that you are not being productive?
  4. Are you constantly tired and drained finding it hard to become energised?
  5. Do you feel anxious about “not being in control”?
  6. Are you irritable with others, impatient, quick to anger?

Now if you have answered “yes” to a few of those, you may want to take a step back, slow down and really consider pausing and focussing on bringing you back to a better place.

Take that time to reflect, this often enough is sufficient to start a change.



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