Is work becoming a chore? Has cynicism replaced the enthusiasm you once felt and do you wonder if there’s even any point to the work you do?
Could it be that you’re experiencing burnout?
Prolonged periods of high stress can lead to burnout and to corresponding feelings of mental and physical exhaustion, cynicism and even to despair and hopelessness.
But while we rarely fail to notice the stress that leads to burnout, recognizing burnout when it occurs is not always so easy.
And this is problematic, because left unchecked, job-burnout can have serious health and wellness consequences, such as: insomnia, anxiety problems, depression, substance abuse/addiction and many others.
So to beat burnout you need to learn more about the condition and what causes it and be on the lookout for the signs and symptoms that may indicate its presence – and when you recognize the signs in yourself, you need to be ready to make some changes, because no job is ever worth your health and happiness.
Burnout – Who’s Most at Risk?
People who may be more prone to burnout include those who:
- Work in health care or teaching professions
- Lack a balance between home and professional life (your work defines you/you spend far more time working than you do socializing or relaxing)
- Lack control over work-life
- Have a very boring job
- Have a perfectionist nature or those who have a pessimistic outlook
- Receive little recognition or reward for a job well done at work
- Take on more than they can handle
- Lack a social support network of close friends1
Signs of Burnout – Burnout Self Test
Ask yourself the following 20 questions based on the typical warning signs of burnout. The more yes answers you rack up, the greater the chances you are experiencing the condition.
- Do you feel less decisive than you used to?
- Do you often feel tired, even when you get sufficient sleep?
- Have you developed sleeping problems – trouble falling or staying asleep?
- Do you care less than you used to about other people’s problems?
- Do you feel like your work doesn’t really matter very much?
- Do you feel unappreciated for the work that you do?
- Are you less efficient at work than you used to be? Do you fail to meet the goals you set for yourself or that others set for you?
- Have you lost interest in the work that you do?
- Are you more forgetful than you used to be?
- Do you have mostly negative feelings about your work?
- Do you get more headaches or unexplained aches and pains than you used to?
- Do you drink or use more drugs than you used to? – Or are you smoking more cigarettes or overeating?
- Do you work more than 10 hours per day and do you lack at least one full day completely off from work a week?
- Do you have more trouble concentrating than you used to?
- Do you feel unable to do a good job on work you are assigned?
- Are you more easily frustrated and or irritated by minor annoyances than you used to be?
- Do you feel like most of the people you work with do a poor job at work
- Do you avoid spending time with friends or family or find that you don’t enjoy the time you do spend with those closest to you?
- Do you feel sad?
- Do you feel like you are being ‘used’ at work?2
Answer yes to many of the above questions? If you did, then you probably need to make some changes to your professional life.
Career change can be one way to overcome burnout, but it’s not the only or even always the best way forward. Sometimes, making a few small changes to your work routine or responsibilities, getting more support at work or simply managing your expectations and attitudes is all that’s needed to really turn things around.
Think you may need to make a few changes – then read Overcoming Burnout – Ways to Beat the Blahs.
Page last updated Jul 05, 2012