Burnout can sometimes be confused for normal tiredness, but on the contrary, burnout and in specific work burnout is fatigue beyond needing one night of sleep. Many things can indeed leave you burnt out, but the number one cause of burnout is being overworked, and in turn that overwork mounts up into excessive stress.
We spoke to Paul Ngunyi, Lead Coach at Better People Consulting, and we were able to gain more understanding of what burnout is, and how to point it out and avoid it.
Here’s how to know you are burnt out:
Loss of energy at work: It is normal to feel tired once in a while but if you want to know that it is burn out is when the tiredness at work is regular/often.
Diminishing interest at work: Every time you get to work it’s a drag, you have no interest or passion to do the tasks at hand, and it takes more energy than usual each day to do your daily tasks.
Irritable at slight provocation: anything small gets you easily annoyed, things that you would normally pass over get you irritated.
Psychosomatic illnesses: these are your body’s responses to the burn out like upper back pain and/or migraine
Forgetfulness and diminished attention: simple short memory responses are affected and minor things that should be taken note of are forgotten. This happens not once in a while but often. Paying attention to work, tasks, and meetings becomes a regular challenge when experiencing burnout.
Social disconnection: your energy levels begin to diminish and so regard for social life decreases
Reduced emotion: responding to appropriate emotional cues becomes a challenge as indifference sets in from the pressure of burnout.
Having looked at the signs of burnout, where there is a way in, there is a way out. Here’s the exit plan, which can also work as the pointer to tap into to avoid burnout:
Paul says that:
Planning and following a work plan is one of the first ways of avoiding burnout.
Prioritize on a few and most important engagements, because it is easy to be overwhelmed with a myriad of tasks and forget that each day has its achievable task other than taking in a week’s load of work for a day
Avoid multitasking. Whilst most people would think it is a trait that would help you finish the tasks at hand at the same time, it can also work against you and confuse, or result in an average output of all tasks in question other than the excellent output of the few that would have been concentrated on.
Take reasonable leave when due or when the body signals. Rest is key, and is not a sign of laziness but is a time to reset, strategize and make a comeback.
Eat a well-balanced diet, because as the saying goes garbage in, garbage out. Feed your body well and the results will give you back what you have sown.
Rest and sleep sufficiently even on regular nights when you have work the next day, it is important as much as possible to have sufficient sleep during the week, to always let your body reset daily.
Delegate work where possible, and trust other people with work. It is okay to be passionate about your work but it is also important to realize that no one is an island, and this applies in the workspace as well.
Exercise physically, even if it means working from or to work. Physical activity is said to improve sleep and performance.
Connect socially, and make time for family and friends. at the end of the day, life is also about relationships and human connections. This is also a good way to recharge and be in touch and inspired by the social side of life.
Balanced living, may sound like a myth but each person can find a healthy balance according to season, and not according to the comparison of other people. This is a very personal thing and is paramount in creating a good and healthy life for yourself.