After all that hardwork, you finally get that job you wanted. Fully resolved, you work hard, often excessively, to reach your goals. The boundary between work and life starts to diminish. Your attitude starts to change. The work you took pride in previously is no longer interesting to you. You lack a sense of achievement. It starts impacting your work. You start depending on food, or even alcohol, etc, to get some semblance. However, nothing works as you feel the inner fire that fuelled you is no longer there. If this sounds like you, it’s a classic case of burnout.
Not recognized as a mental health issue, but job-related burnout is becoming increasingly common. Simply put, it’s the reaction to work-related stress that persists for quite some time. It’s characterized by a feeling of exhaustion, disillusionment, and a lack of motivation to work. The term ‘burnout’ was first coined by German psychologist Herbert Freudenberger in his 1974 book ‘Burnout: The High Cost Of Achievment’. Quite understandably, it’s work-related issues that cause you to burn out. However, your lifestyle and personality traits can add to the stress too. Not just coining the term, Freudenberger along with psychologist Gail North came up with the twelve stages of burnout.
12 Stages Of Burnout
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Burnout isn’t a good feeling to experience. Not only does it induce a negative attitude, but it can also severely impact your work and even your familial relationships. Knowing the stages that lead to burnout might help you to put a stop to it in the beginning. So, here are the 12 stages of burnout according to Freudenberger and North:
- Enthusiastic Phase: This can be termed as a honeymoon phase when you’re enthusiastic to work and prove your worth. You take responsibilities and work towards fulfilling them.
- Push Yourself: In this stage, you push yourself further, and find it difficult to stop working.
- Self-Care Takes A Hit: As you work excessively, your basic needs start bearing the effect. You sleep erratically, you eat unhealthily, and have no time for familial and societal interactions.
- Effect Starts Building Up: You start to feel the impact as you get panicked or feel jittery.
- Work Is Your Prime Focus: Still, it’s the only work you can think about and do. You have no time for your family and friends and dismiss hobbies as irrelevant.
- Symptoms Start To Show: This is the stage when the major burnout symptoms start to show. You get cynical or critical, get irritated with your colleagues. There can even be some aggression.
- You Withdraw: Since you ignored your societal relationships for work, you’re left with a small social circle. You might also start depending on food, or alcohol/drugs to make yourself feel better.
- Behavioural Changes: There are changes in your behaviour, which make your friends and family concerned.
- Disillusionment: You no longer see yourself and others as worthy.
- Hollowness: A feeling of emptiness might seep into you.
- Depressed: This is serious as you persistently have a low mood. You also have a negative attitude and are no longer hopeful for your future.
- Burnout Syndrome: Burnout doesn’t just impact your mind but your physical health, too. You might need help at this stage. Hence, you must consider consulting a mental health professional.
How To Deal With Burnout
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When burned out, not just your mental health, but your physical health can start getting affected too. Hence, if you feel the problem building up, take steps to address that. Here are some ways you can deal with burnout:
- If the work pressure is dimming your fire, it’s better to talk to your supervisor. Taking some responsibility off your shoulders can greatly benefit you both mentally and physically.
- Excessive work taking up most of your time is one of the reasons for burnout. Talking to your supervisors regarding this, too, can help.
- Striking a work-life balance is easier said than done. However, with consistent efforts, you can reach there where your work no longer feels like a burden.
- Talking to a friend or family member can make you feel better.
- Relaxing activities at the end of the day can be extremely beneficial. Hence, take time off to do yoga or any kind of physical activity you like, meditate, go for a walk, or engage in your hobby.
The feeling of burnout can greatly impact your life. Hence, understanding it and knowing the ways to deal with it are extremely crucial. If nothing works, you can consider taking some time off work. A vacation or break can help.
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