Burnout.

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You’re feeling it, I’m feeling it, and everyone is feeling it. Zoom fatigue is real and all that comes with that sector. Humans are real.  Burnout is real.  So, let’s get real!

The term “burnout” was first used by an American psychologist in the 1970s.  Mr.  Burnout’s name is Herbert Freudenberger. He used this term to present the consequences and findings of what severe stress and high ideals can do in “helping” professions.  The big elephant in the room… mental health and environment which is starting to be discussed more about these days.  As we know more now and seem to have more open dialogue, the term “burnout” can affect anyone that may be in a stressed-out career, is driven, celebrities to overworked employees or partners or caretakers that stay at home. 

A stressful lifestyle can place many people in jeopardy and under extreme pressure.  Think of what a pressure cooker can do – the more pressure and steam applied, the bigger the impact occurs.   Whether it’s a slight pressure point, or a feeling a geyser just hit you, you may feel exhausted, empty, burned out, and unable to cope. Stress at work and or at home can cause multiple physical and mental symptoms; sadly, a loss of hope.  So how can we keep the pressure down and the light up?

Define your job expectations. If you’re unclear about the degree of authority you have or what your supervisor or others expect from you, you’re not likely to feel comfortable at work.

Recognize the office and company culture – is this a long-term good and healthy fit for you?  Don’t ignore the red flags or warning signs.  Dysfunctional workplace dynamics and feeling undermined at work or at home do not feel good. This can contribute to chronic stress.

Find a balance to offset the extremes of activity. When a job is monotonous or chaotic, you need constant energy to remain focused — this too leads to fatigue and job burnout.  Schedule a walk during lunchtime or just stand up and walk around to change your environment.  Your mind and body need this.  Imagine driving your car on empty fumes and overdrive – you’re not going to go too far!

Lack of social support. If you feel isolated at work and in your personal life, you might feel more stressed.  Surround yourself around the people you can trust and provide a positive environment.  They will be there to listen and help you through some of the roughest terrain.  Finding a professional that can also provide additional resources and viewpoints in mental health can help too! 

Just think – If your work takes up so much of your time and effort that you don’t have the energy to spend time with your family and friends, you may burn out quickly.  The flame will go out.

While some work environments may be especially grinding, anyone who’s running out of gas can take steps to alleviate the deleterious effects of burnout and needs to reevaluate their work life.

Remember, jobs aren’t the only source of the chronic stress that causes burnout. Parents, partners, and non-professional caregivers can also experience endless exhaustion, feel overwhelmed by their responsibilities, or secretly believe that they have failed at their role. Imagine juggling both.  You really have to ask for help, because the flame will eventually burn out. 

Non-work burnout, however, is less well-known than that caused by career stress. Stereotypes and stigma can make those suffering from non-work-related burnout feel as if they are to blame for their challenges. As a result, they often hide their struggles from others.

But burnout, in any form, can have severe consequences if left untreated.

Jane Jeong, Esq, attorney, writer, yogi, dog-lover, and former Wall Street analyst and fitness instructor shares in one of her articles :

“We are taught to constantly look upward to the next rung on the ladder—the first-place trophy, the valedictorian speech, the Ivy-League degree—and seek nothing but the best at all costs. And when we place external validation on a pedestal in this way, it becomes difficult, if not impossible, to accept that we are inherently enough: There will always be something more to achieve—to close the ever-persistent gap between who we are and who we “should” be. And wherever that gap persists, it becomes all too easy for us to turn on ourselves—for all of those pesky insecurities and self-doubts to swoop in and take residence in our hearts.”

Over the past few years, I’ve had the pleasure of working with some amazing people who have helped me see my value and learn and grow substantially.

Hubert Joly, CEO of Best Buy, shares some great insights on the “heart of the business.”  His new book focuses on pursuing a noble purpose, putting people at the center of the business, creating an environment and structure where employees can succeed, and treating profit as an outcome – not the goal.  How can we unleash human magic and achieve improbable results?  It starts with making sure our spark doesn’t blow out.  Be good to yourself.  Keep that light within you.

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