If you felt utterly drained-out, helpless, tired, and lost all the time, you might be paving your way towards burnout. Burnout is the state of being emotionally, physically, mentally, and spiritually exhausted due to excessively long periods of stress and trauma, or, well, a lot of mental and physical work!
The term ‘burnout’ was made famous by Herbert Freudenberger in 1974 in his book, Burnout: The High Cost of High Achievement. He defines burnout as “the extinction of motivation or incentive, especially where one’s devotion to a cause or relationship fails to produce the desired results.”
Certain people believe that they tend to perform well under pressure, but imagine being constantly under pressure, in a constant struggle of proving oneself. As a result, we sometimes become exhausted, empty, and unable to cope with it.
People mostly confuse burnout with stress, but there is a difference between the two. Stress is characterized by one’s over-engagement in work, whereas burnout is disengagement from work.
Stress can lead to urgency and a state of hyperactivity, whereas burnout can cause helplessness and hopelessness. Therefore, burnout is a condition much worse than anxiety or stress, which is why you have to understand it.
What Is It and How Does It Happen?
As we suggested, burnout is a state of having a void in life, where one doesn’t know where to go, what to do, and how to overcome this feeling of emptiness, loneliness, and hollowness. Burnout happens among employees who work either full-time or do multiple part-time jobs. Now let’s look at some of the factors that may contribute to the manifestation of mental and physical burnouts.
What Causes Burnout?
Too Much Pressure
Working with a demanding boss, assigned tasks to be unattainable, late-sittings now and then, or software that you don’t know how to use, all of these situations can be stressful, and too much of that stress can lead you to the road of burnout.
Going to work daily from 9-5 in a stressful environment means exposing yourself to constant pressure, which highly increases the chance of burning yourself out.
Stay mindful during those situations and CHOOSE how to respond instead of relying on your automatic reactions, which can often stress you out!
Deadlines Over Deadlines
Cutthroat deadlines can be fun and motivating for some people as they find a thrill in doing such a task. There is a sigh of relief for those challenged with a deadline once they complete the job.
Now imagine that you are barely at the finish line of your first task and assigned another one? If your supervisor/boss is only piling up deadlines over deadlines for you, it can eventually lead to it, even if you love working under pressure.
Where is my Appraisal?
Remember when your mother rewarded you with your favorite food for completing your homework on time, or when you scored 10/10 on a test and received a star?
Well, we learned to expect a reward for our hard work, whether it be materialistic, monetary, or appreciation. However, MOST companies that employ plenty of workers believe that payment is a sufficient stimulus.
Nevertheless, the thought and notion of living paycheck to paycheck, working a 9-5 job, is often stressful and can thus, lead to symptoms of a classical burnout. If that’s the case for you, talk with your colleagues and the higher authority figures in the company to set up better reward systems based on working performance!
When such systems are implemented, you and your colleagues will find burnout less often and maybe motivated and happy to work.
People who are not happy or satisfied with their workplace tend to look for other jobs, but it’s not easy to find employment in the market, and they find themselves stuck with their current employer.
In fear of losing the job, they can’t discuss the issues with their employer and feel left out. The feeling of no way out makes people depressed and less focused, thus increasing the probability of burnout and even a breakdown!
Our society is built in a way that demands workers to focus on a task for at least half of their wake time, with little to no rest.
Unfortunately, most positions you can take do not consider attention span & rest times between working sessions. This, in combination with a variety of other factors, can make you exceed your working capacity, thus leading to a state of burnout.
Nevertheless, there are ways to deal with this, so stay tuned for our second article on this series, where we will give you actionable tips to keep on top of your productivity game!