Work-life, lack of relaxation, stressful assignments are some of the things, among others, that everyone faces. At times of stress and pressure, an individual experiences burnout. Burnout is a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. It occurs when you feel overwhelmed, emotionally drained, and unable to meet constant demands. This is most common with working professionals who struggle to cope with workplace stress. Burnout can leave people feeling exhausted, empty, and unable to cope with the demands of life.

To understand more, TC46 connected with Ms Deekshaa Athwani, Clinical Psychologist, Fortis Hospital, Mulund, where she explains what is burnout and how it affects an individual. She also tells us how we can tackle the after-effects of burnout. 

1.  Emotional exhaustion + stress = burnout

Burnout is emotional exhaustion due to prolonged stress. This often leads to feelings that things are not going to work out well. You might feel inefficient in the work you do. Every day seems like you are just going through your days and not living it. These feelings are majorly related to stress or excessive demands at your work. If this is how you feel constantly, you are experiencing burnout.

2.  Burnout can lead to the feeling of inefficiency 

There can be various factors that contribute to burnout:

  • Workload – You do not have sufficient time to recover from the demands of your work
  • Lack of control – There are role conflicts, which deny you your autonomy
  • No Rewards – It may not only be the paycheck but can also be when you are not valued or appreciated for your work
  • Work Environment – This could be lack of co-worker support, workplace bullying, awkward politics leading to passive aggression
  • Values – If your job profile does not match your values and you feel the work is meaningless. This may cause burnout
  • Perfectionism – Having unrealistic expectations from self

The symptoms of burnout are:

  • Extreme Exhaustion
  • Cynicism
  • Feeling of Inefficiency

Did you know putting too much pressure on yourself can be self-sabotaging? Watch this video to learn about 5 signs that you’re self-sabotaging and learn how to stop in order to grow into a better version of yourself.

3. Burnout results in chronic fatigues and constant mood swings     

Burnout affects you both psychologically and physically. You may notice signs of chronic fatigue, frequent headaches, body aches, lack of sleep, all this is also accompanied by having constant mood swings, feeling of irritability, anger outbursts and isolation.

4. Unable to fulfilling responsibilities or get work done      

Yes, burnout often leads to professional and personal consequences. Few of which can be – job dissatisfaction, withdrawing from colleagues, inability to get the job done, consumption of alcohol or substance abuse, isolating oneself from friends and family, irresponsibility towards finances, and not being able to fulfil responsibilities.

5. Socializing and anxiety with the new normal   

Adjusting to change is challenging and over a period of time, we have experienced numerous changes related to the way we live, the way we work or study. Also, the way we socialize has become very different. There was a lot of anxiety about the unprecedented change, but we are slowly adapting to the new normal, building resilience and growing as individuals in these changing times. These are trying times for everyone and you need to be patient with yourself. Watch this video and learn about 5 quick ways to indulge in some self-love!

6. Identifying the ‘Why’ and addressing the problem        

Identify the ‘Why’ 

The first step is to find the cause of your burnout. What makes you feel overwhelmed, resentful or inattentive? Try to track your triggers to identify a pattern. This will help you root the problem. Question yourself – Are you overextending yourself? Are you engaging in negative self-talk? Are you overburdened and procrastinate or neglect what is important?

1. Use problem-solving: Once you identify your triggers, write down ways you would like to manage or eliminate the factor causing you stress. What is it that you can do at the moment to help reduce stress? It can be by re-evaluating your priorities, practising positive thinking, politely saying no when you have too much to do. Set goals based on what is more important.

2. Establish a routine: The major reason behind burnout is when you feel you are losing control over situations. Having a routine gives you a sense of control hence reduces burnout.

3. Take care of your health: Have 6- 8 hrs of sleep, follow a healthy diet and have some time out for exercise. Focusing on basic needs helps in reducing stress and boosts mood.

4. Stay socially connected: It is really important to stay connected with your loved ones and have meaningful social interactions. Share your feelings and be empathetic and compassionate towards others. This will make you feel socially connected.

5. Engage in hobbies: Indulge in activities that make you happy, don’t make it like an additional task. There should be no goal attached to this hobby. Do it because it makes you feel good and relaxed.

6. Assess your values: It is necessary to be in touch with your values. For example, if you are an individual who likes charity and that makes you feel happy and adds purpose to your life, go do it.

7. Reach Out: There is no harm in seeking help. Remember you can always reach out to a mental health professional.

Watch this video to learn about 5 simple ways to deal with a burnout at work!

7. Meditation and mindfulness 

Practice mindfulness. This technique encourages self-awareness, acceptance and helps you focus on what you are doing right now. Be mindful on your way to work, while travelling pay attention to your surroundings. Be mindful when you eat, bring all your focus on your meals and try to savour them. Take a few minutes out to meditate, all you have to do is close your eyes and pay attention to different parts of your body as you breathe.

8. Take a break to motivate

Take a break from work. Sometimes all you need to do is take some time out, take a break, and you will feel more refreshed and motivated

  • Practice positive affirmations: Burnout often makes you feel defeated and insufficient. Begin your day with some positive affirmations
  • List your Accomplishments: Making a list of your achievements will help you break the downward spiral of negative thoughts and self-doubt

9.  Self-care to avoid burnout

One of the main reasons for burnout is taking up more work than you can. While only you can understand yourself best. Taking up more responsibility can be more draining than fulfilling. To avoid burnout, keep a check on how you are feeling? Understand your wellness domain, identify the activities that give you pleasure, and take timely breaks. Create a self-care plan for yourself. Lastly, talk to someone you trust. 

Watch this video to learn how personal habits can lead to low energy.

10. Have a support system

Working together as a family can reduce the amount of stress faced both by you and your child. You can ensure this by having a balance between family time and me-time. Share and divide responsibilities between the family in a fun way, while also taking some time out for self-soothing activities like the entire family can have tea together, listen to music or play board games. Communicate during this time about, for example, “How was your day?” “How have you been feeling lately?.” Such activities can make a huge impact on your overall mental health.

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