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Beating Burnout

Cartoon exhausted woman sitting at table and working

Given the current climate that we find ourselves in, it’s no surprise that many people are suffering from burnout. It is a very real set of physical symptoms, cognitive challenges, and emotional reactions that can be quite debilitating – in some cases may even lead to depression and suicide. 

A particularly tricky part of recognizing burnout is that it often comes and goes, making it difficult to pay attention to, especially if you are feeling “better” about things on a different day. Trickier yet is that it often manifests as the experience of personal failure versus a response to chronic stressors and depletion. 

Burnout Symptoms
Burnout typically has three main symptoms and you can exhibit one, two or all three.

  1. A profound lack of energy. You feel drained and so deeply exhausted that you struggle with the normal activities and responsibilities of your life. 
  2. A sense of depersonalization. You treat yourself and others around you more as objects or demands, rather than as people and connections. 
  3. A lack of accomplishment – even when you’re doing things well. You end the day feeling ineffective and that you haven’t accomplished anything. 

It’s helpful to remember that burnout is, in many ways, a response to depletion and has very real physical, emotional, and spiritual consequences. Beating burnout is critical so you can live with energy, success, and satisfaction. If you can relate to any of the three symptoms above or know that you are experiencing burnout, there are ways to beat it.

Three Ways to Beat Burnout 

  1. Identify your purpose and priorities. Identify what really matters to you and make sure that you’re doing things every day that are aligned with your purpose and make you proud. Let this sense of meaning and purpose guide you. If you’ve been charging ahead doing, doing, doing . . . take some time throughout your day to PAUSE and ask yourself, “Is what I’m doing aligned with what really matters to me?” 
  2. Build resilience. Taking care of yourself is not selfish! It’s key to a strong, successful you, and it helps you build resilience for those times when life and work are particularly stressful. Make sure you’re fueling yourself physically, emotionally, and spiritually. 
  3. Create connection. Strong relationships help you stay healthy, cope with challenges, and live a longer, heart-healthy life. Take time to nurture relationships and develop new ones throughout your life and work. Connection interrupts the experience of burnout and depletion. It reminds you that you matter. 

By identifying your purpose and priorities, building your resilience, and creating connection with others, you will be well on your way to beating burnout. If you’re at all worried about yourself, don’t wait – reach out to your physician, therapist or a mental health line for support. 

Burnout is very real. It can lead to anxiety, depression, and even suicide. It’s no surprise that it’s on the rise, with up to two-thirds of full-time workers experiencing burnout on the job. And it sneaks up on those of us who are most committed, most responsible, and most service-oriented.

 


Heather Stewart is the Director of Coaching Services at Carpenter Smith Consulting where she is dedicated to helping individuals and teams bring the best of themselves to their personal and professional lives, and to grow in their ability to lead and create success. Connect with Heather via LinkedIn.

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