The causes do not always lie in the work Burnout can affect anyone. Even people who basically enjoy their work. If you know the symptoms, you can set the course in time.
We had an interesting with an inspirational woman that has a strong work ethic. Lisa is a real estate investor that operates in a primarily male-dominated space: cash home-buying. To get to where she is nowadays she had to work very hard and pave a spot for herself. She is no stranger to pushing herself and told us she had developed her own personal methods to prevent burnouts.
More often than an unsatisfying work situation, a lack of caring for yourself leads to burnout. That may not be exactly what you want to hear. You’re already struggling with overwhelming exhaustion, and then you’re supposed to be part of the problem yourself? At first glance, that does seem unfair. But if you manage to change the way you look at your situation, you will come out of your powerlessness and become able to act again.
Prevent burnout You should be alert to the following signs:
- Work and private life get mixed up
You can’t get your work out of your head and thoughts of it keep you from sleeping.
- Permanent fatigue
Even after many hours of sleep, you do not feel refreshed. You wake up tired. You struggle through the day with the help of coffee and energy drinks.
- Loss of motivation
To get your work done, you first have to overcome great inner resistance. Eventually, the positive motivation to do your job well is replaced by a negative motivation: the fear of failing.
- Negative attitude
You find yourself constantly thinking negative thoughts. You can’t stop judging others. Your remarks are characterized by constant cynicism.
- Poorer memory
You permanently forget important things or make careless mistakes. They feel unable to make decisions.
- Difficulties in personal relationships
The disproportionate stress level changes the way you interact with others. This can manifest itself in two ways: some become thin-skinned and thus get into conflict with others more quickly. Their tolerance level drops significantly. Others withdraw completely. You may manage to maintain normal contact with colleagues and superiors. You can no longer muster this strength at home, and so your relationship with your partner, children and friends suffers.
- Declining performance
When you notice a drop in your performance, it may not yet be apparent to others. Perfectionists in particular are at risk of burnout. Therefore, keep a close eye on yourself, because by the time others call your attention to it, you may already be in the midst of complete exhaustion.
- Health problems
The health problems that indicate burnout are complex. Moreover, they are often associated with other illnesses. Therefore, be especially alert if you notice that you have non-specific symptoms that are atypical of you for an extended period of time: Weight gain or loss; back pain; headaches; migraines; high blood pressure; poor immune system.
- Lack of body awareness
Under permanent stress we lose the ability to feel what is good for us. The constant struggle against inner resistance, makes us hard on ourselves. Do you still know what you really need? Do you still feel hungry, or do you stop eating when you are full? Do you often pass over signs of fatigue? Can you still tell if you need rest or activity? Or does every day feel the same anyway?
Prevent burnout – you can do a lot yourself
However, it cannot remain with the realization. I already emphasized at the beginning that you cannot avoid responsibility for yourself – unless, of course, you want to remain in this state.
If you want to prevent burnout, then it is time to become aware of your own power to act. Now you need strategies with which you can give your work the right, healthy place in your life.
This is what you can do to counter burnout:
- Separate work and private life
Ideally, you go home and take no work with you – not even in your head. During times of high work intensity, this may not be possible. In that case, make an effort to schedule only a certain amount of time for work and stick to it strictly.
- Take body signals seriously
Our body really does everything it can to warn us. But we have to listen. Blaming perpetual headaches on the weather or a constantly tense neck on a bad sleeping position only serves to suppress them. Listen to your body, or start learning to.
- Plan your free time
Take yourself as seriously as you take your work deadlines. If you find it hard to switch off, deal with your free time the same way you do with your projects: Plan. This may seem silly at first, but use this strategy until you can perceive your need for rest on your own.
- Sleep aids
Sleep aids – which include alcohol – are only of short-term success. They have side effects, their aftereffects last well into the next day, and they can be addictive. Talk to your doctor about alternative methods to get back into a good sleep rhythm. These include autogenic training or progressive muscle relaxation.
- Get organized
It is not always the amount of work that leads to overload, but the organization of the work. You may have colleagues who rarely get pressed for time and seem to get their work done with ease. Ask how they do it. Most people are happy to be asked for advice. Inquire if you can attend a seminar on work organization.
- Take regular breaks
It has been proven that we can work with high concentration for up to 1.5 hours. A maximum of eight hours of concentrated work is possible for most of us per day. Get in the habit of taking a short break after 1.5 hours. It would be best if you leave your workplace for this. It is enough to stand up and go to the window.
- Trust your surroundings
Tell your partner what is going on inside you. Only if you are open, others can understand you. Let others show you that there is a life apart from work and consciously spend time with other people. Listen to how they balance personal life and work. But don’t put pressure on yourself; see different life models as your chance to learn about alternatives.
Every burnout sufferer will tell you one thing: “I should have paid attention to the signs earlier, then I could have prevented my burnout.” Benefit from what others have learned for you. You know the signs now and you have it in your hands so that you don’t say the same thing in a couple of years.