Burning the candle at both ends.
Your alarm bursts to life at 6am each morning you hit snooze and roll over, but the amount of sleep you are getting never seems to be enough. You wake up exhausted no matter how early you go to bed. No amount of caffeine seems to do the job to shake the fog that surrounds your brain. You sit down to start your work day and the job you were once excited for is now the thing you dread most. Everything seems more difficult. The littlest inconvenience is enough to take you over the edge. You are one spill away from absolutely losing it. You are likely burning the candle at both ends.
Does this sound familiar? If it does you might be on your way to burnout. Maybe you’re already there. The term burnout has come up more frequently in recent years but has been used since the 70’s. Workplaces and individuals alike are facing the effect of burnout at an alarming rate. But what does burnout even look like? And how do we stop it?
What is burnout?
There are many layers and stages of burnout, depending on who you talk to and where you look. Burnout can range from minor to complete and it will look different in different people. At its core Burnout has 3 identifying features: 1. Exhaustion 2. Cynicism 3. Inefficacy, or failure to perform as you used to.
No matter how much sleep you get you can’t seem to wake up. You are falling asleep at your desk or on the couch. Your morning coffee and afternoon pick-me-up are just not doing the job anymore. This doesn’t have to just be physical exhaustion either, burnout also includes emotional exhaustion.
What is Emotional Exhaustion? This can present as physical fatigue but can also present as a lack of motivation and brought on by high stress situations.
To be cynical. To have an overall bad attitude towards daily life and activities. This could be in relation to your job, house/ family, hobbies, or your regular activities. This typically relates to activities that used to bring you joy and fulfillment.
This isn’t you just didn’t feel like doing the dishes for a couple days or you had a bad day at work after losing an account. This is weeks or months of increased loss of interest in any and all areas of your life.
In addition to the lack of motivation your performance will drop in accordance to your burnout. Even when you are able to work on and complete tasks they are not likely to be completed in the same way they used to.
A report that used to take you an afternoon to complete now takes most of the day to get the same result. You may feel like you are putting in twice the effort for half the result. It is likely not for lack of trying, but when you are on the verge of or in full burnout everything will take more effort. Getting your kids out the door for school you used to be on time now you all are running late nearly every morning.
How do I prevent burnout?
Allow your body and mind time to shut down. Give yourself frequent breaks and time to decompress between tasks. If a car is running on empty eventually it will break down, you are no different then you minivan in many ways.
Switch up your routine. If you feel like you are in a slump and not being fulfilled, change up parts of your routine. Start going for walks in the evening. Start journaling in the morning. If you are dreading going to the gym then try a new workout class that is completely different from what you are used to. If you dread going to work, ask to work from home for a week, or spend some time in a communal workspace for a change of scenery.
Practice self care. Check out our list of Self-care tasks for inspiration whether you have 5 minutes or a whole day.
Already Burnt Out?
If you fear that you are already on your way to full burnout our team is ready to help. You can contact us and book a consultation to discuss your situation. Our team is ready and willing to work with you to provide you with the tool to rebuild after burnout and prevent future burnout as well.
Special thanks to the Canadian Psychology Association. If you would like more information specific to Workplace burnout, refer here to their article.