There was a time last year that I felt tired and blue. Going to work was a drag and I could not feel the energy and level of motivation that I had before. I felt that I was losing my direction and could not grasp my mission. I also became irritable with my students, as well as my family members.
Little by little, I was sensing that something sinister is creeping in my system and if I am not quick in discovering what it is, I was sure I would lose balance and will suffer more of its effects.
And so, I took a break and looked deep into myself and listened to what it has to say. And the answer came through. I was starting to burnout. And reasons began to roll in my head why I possibly reached this point.
I understand that I am not alone in this malady. We all get tired and exhausted sometimes. But that is normal. However, when burnout seeps in, it may get out of hand and affect in major ways the different areas of our lives.
Just what is burnout? Dr. David Ballard, a psychologist, described burnout as “an extended period of time where someone experiences exhaustion and a lack of interest in things resulting in a decline in their work performance.”
Burnout has a lot to do with chronic stress. In these situations, the demands exceed the resources available to deal with the stressors. And if not responded well, it may evolve into something more dangerous.
A clear sign of burnout is when you feel tired all the time and you get exhausted emotionally, mentally, and physically. When you also lack the motivation and enthusiasm which you had before but are now depleting, the chances of burnout are high.
Burnout also manifests in feelings of frustration and other negative emotions. Because we feel sluggish and tired, we get frustrated and angry since we cannot fulfil our different activities.
There are also accompanying cognitive problems like difficulty paying attention and concentrating. This may also lead to interpersonal problems at home or slipping performance at work. Worst, you may end up not taking care of yourself anymore and experience various physical problems.
What can we do if we experience the symptoms described above? There are actually several ways in which we can treat burnout, which if acted out appropriately, will heal us and give us back the zest in life.
First, relax… and take it up seriously. When I say seriously, you need to decide to designate time and learn various relaxations strategies like meditation, listening to music, reading a book, etc. whichever fits you.
Second, have a life outside your work life. It is important that we find a hobby or passion that is not an extension of our work. It may be serving in the parish, or volunteering for a non-profit organization, gardening, vising friends, etc.
Third, check if you get enough sleep. Lack of sleep tires the body, lowers the immune system, and alters our mood. Hence, let us manage our sleep time and see to it that we wake up refreshed and not all the more tired.
Fourth, increase your locus of control. And that can happen when you organize your life and delegate those tasks that can be delegated. When things and situations get so overwhelming, we lose our sense of control and that’s when we suffer burnout.
Hence, we need to understand when enough is enough. If it is necessary that we quit because the situation in the workplace is not in any way improving and it is getting through our sense of balance, then we should make quitting as an option, otherwise, it may be too late.
So, let us be attuned to our feelings and find out if we are starting to burnout. Through that, we could respond effectively and help ourselves get back to the groove.
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