I gotta get up
I gotta get goin’
I gonna see a friend of mine…
– Can this be the theme song of your morning ceremony, or do you rather think: “Wish I could stay at home and just sleep through the day!”
Have you lost interest in your job? Are you unmotivated? You don’t feel like taking care of yourself anymore? It all can be symptoms of getting close to a type of psychological stress: burnout. Even though this is a frequent theme of business articles, psychologists and coaches are deploying themselves to give advice on how to avoid this state or to assist those who would fall out of the front line, but it still seems as if people wouldn’t be able to recognize the symptoms of burning out. Actually: do you know what are the alarming signs of it? Would you recognize them in yourself, in your family members, friends or in your colleagues? Do you know how to get out of it once you got into its trap? Here is a handful of collected signs of burnout and some advice on how to heat up the passion for your job again by cooling down.
- Do you feel like having a smokescreen over your thoughts? You don’t have a single clear thought, you lose focus easily, your short term memory is shorter than it supposed to be because your mind is just overloaded with tasks and problems to be solved. At the same time you might feel that all your emotions are blunted, nothing interests you and you lack of enthusiasm.
- You hardly remember those passionate moments when you couldn’t wait to get into the office and get things done. The only thing that stops you from leaving your job, is the paycheck, but you don’t hear the calling anymore that made your heart skipping for the thought of going into work in the morning. Your job doesn’t seem to be your vocation anymore and you slowly but surely become more and more disengaged from it.
- You give it up before even giving it a try: you feel like being helpless and lose hope that it can get better at all. Future seems to be something dark in the far distance, the land of hopelessness.
- You feel like: thank you, but NO thank you when it comes to taking on new challenges. Even solving a simple problem takes up a lot of your mental energy, not talking about those positions when you are supposed to envision strategies and not just accomplish a mission. You lost your intrinsic motivation and neither extrinsic motivation can keep you going.
- No strings attached. Actually you become detached from your colleagues, friends and family, because you lack of that emotional and mental capacity that it would take to carry on even short conversations with others not talking about taking care of other person’s emotional needs.
- You don’t feel that life seems worth living. You don’t see the beauty in anything, everyday tasks and routines are more like burden than comforting. Going to work, having family, learning and trying out new things – everything is meaningless.
- Even though the primary damage of burnout is emotional, it might cause physical damage as well. Some people put on unhealthy strategies to cope with burnout: eating junk food or not eating at all, drinking and smoking more than they used to, sitting all day and brush away the aching need for a good walk, drinking more coffee in the morning to summon up the energy that supposed to come from enough sleep.
You might think: Good, these are some of the symptoms that I could experience, but what are the causes of burnout at my workplace? Without getting into details, here are some of those causes that might trigger burning out:
- You feel that you have only a little or no control over your work
- Your good work doesn’t get rewarded not even recognized
- The job expected from you is unclear or the expectations are overly demanding
- You close to bore out because the work you are doing is monotonous or not challenging enough
- Your work environment is chaotic and you are continuously under high-pressure
How to cope with job burnout? The most effective way would be starting it all over again even just at a new workplace or even at a completely new career. Don’t get exasperated if this solution is out of question for you. There are still options for improving your situation or at least your state of mind:
- Take on more responsibility and ask for autonomy in your role. Shake off your passivity and actively address all the problems that you experience at work including the ones that cause stress. Expressing yourself and becoming assertive can help you to feel less helpless.
- Your job description has nothing to do with your daily tasks – probably it’s time to clarify your duties and responsibilities and get a clarification of your job description. Don’t forget to point out those extra works that you were putting in over and above of the parameters of your original job.
- Are you bored with your tasks? Probably it’s time to ask for new duties, learn new tools and skills, ask for training, getting to know new colleagues of different offices at various locations.
- Simply: take time off and get out of there! Go on a holiday, use up your sick days, ask for a longer non-paid vacation if possible and make sure to recharge yourself and rethink your perspectives.
If you already got into the trap of burnout: don’t worry, there’s always a way out and you can recover from it by using the following tips:
- Slow down: Get detached from all electronic leashes, get lost in the nature, put on a healthy diet, restart exercising. Do anything that it takes to get a lot of rest, heal yourself and recover. It even means that you should set up boundaries and cut back commitments and learn to say “no”. Learn how to deal with stress to get back your balance.
- Get support: You can relieve some of the stress by turning to others. Even though you might feel that you don’t want to be a burden to your friends and family, you might get surprised how opening up can strengthen your relationships. If you would prefer to talk to a complete stranger who would see the whole situation as an outsider then turn to a coach or a psychologist who can give you professional help in rebuilding your own life.
- Reevaluate your goals and priorities: You might forgot along the way why you fell in love with your job in the first place. Burnout can be a good sign that you have lost something on the road and you don’t see clearly your own goals anymore. Maybe your neglecting the change in your family status that would require some changes in your priorities? Maybe you learned some new skills and practicing those makes you happier than your current job? A good coach can help you to find your answers for these and many other questions as well.
Now, as I am at the end of this blog post, just hit me how easily we can mix up burnout with disengagement. Let’s take for example Jen, the Executive Assistant of the new General Manager in the leadership developing game: FLIGBY. She seems to be irresponsible, neglectful, she easily loses her patience, so one might think that she is not interested in her job anymore. While the truth lies somewhere close to the fact that she is simply overloaded and close to burnout.