Even if you love everything about your job, burnout can still affect you. A person often experiences burnout when they feel as though they are investing more in their work than they are getting out of it. This can happen if a persons job is not rewarding, however it is more likely that it occurs because they are not taking care of themselves.
Before you can treat burnout and prevent it from happening in the future, you need to be self-aware enough to recognise the warning signs so that you know when you need to act. Here are some of the warning signs to watch out for.
Difficulty in both personal and work relationships – When you are stressed it affects everything you do, especially the way in which you interact with others. You may feel as though you are keeping your stress under control at work, however you may find it then manifests itself at home instead and as a result your relationships can suffer. In general stress makes a lot of people more likely to lose their cool, snap at others and get involved in unnecessary conflicts. On the other hand, some people tend to avoid those they care about and become more withdrawn.
Cognitive Difficulties – Research has shown that the prefrontal cortex is hammered by stress, this is the part of the brain which is responsible for executive function. Executive function impacts your memory, emotional control, ability to make decisions and focus. When you realise you are forgetting important things, making silly mistakes and poor decisions or having outbursts of emotion, it is likely that you are on the path to a burnout.
Health issues – Burnout has a severely negative impact on both you mental and physical health. If you’re experiencing depression, back pain, frequently sick etc. you need to take a step back and ask yourself what role your job is playing in this. When you realise that burnout is actually affecting your health, you need to decide whether the approach you currently take to work is worth the consequences.
Bringing your work home – If you are lying awake at night worrying about all the work you never got around to completing and praying that you didn’t miss anything important, this is a sign. When you can’t get work out of your head when you get home, it’s a very sure sign that you are burning out.
Fatigue – A lot of the time, burnout leads to exhaustion as a result of the toll the stress is taking on both your body and mind. The indications that you are experiencing burnout fatigue are drinking significant amounts of caffeine to help you to get through the day or waking up with no energy even after you have had a good night’s sleep.
Decreased satisfaction – The vast majority of the time, burnout leads to a sense of dissatisfaction. The people and projects that once made you excited don’t anymore. This fall in satisfaction makes it difficult at work as no matter what you put into it, you don’t feel as though you are getting much out.
Loss of motivation – When we first start our jobs, we tend to see things through rose coloured glasses. Motivation comes naturally to you in this phase. However, if you are experiencing burnout, it is hard for you to find the motivation to complete the job. You may still complete your tasks and do it well, but the motivation you had at the start which used to drive you is no longer there. You do the work now, for fear of missing deadlines or getting fired, not for the sake of the work itself.
Performance issues – A lot of people who burn out tend to be high achievers and so if their performance starts to fall, other people don’t always see it. It is important to monitor any slips, compare how you were performing last month to a year ago, with your current performance. If you notice a dip in your performance, you need to work out if burnout is responsible.
Poor self-care – We constantly struggle against things that feel good in the moment but aren’t actually good for you. When burnout occurs