What the emotional burnout is. Photo: Pixabay
Daily physical and mental fatigue, loss of interest in what was previously guaranteed to bring pleasure and constant irritability: "I’m lying, I can’t do anything, everything around is annoying". Do you feel the same? This can be more than just fatigue, but burnout.
"Life in the negatives": what is emotional burnout?
Emotional burnout isn't just about being tired. It appears due to many stress factors. They accumulate, and over time, fatigue and overstrain transform into burnout.
This word began to be used in the 1970s. Burnout has been described as the asthenia experienced by nurses and doctors. Now, due to the coronavirus pandemic, doctors and nurses are facing burnout more and more often. But people of other professions are also susceptible to burnout: teachers, entrepreneurs, creative people, etc. Those who work with people are most susceptible to burnout: HR managers, executives, health workers, bank employees, sales managers. But people of any profession burn out.
According to a study by grc.ua, an international recruiting portal, people who suffer from burnout do not have their "eyes shining". Among other characteristics lack of initiative, passivity, the desire not to go beyond the assigned tasks were noted.
Everyone has experienced the features described above. The insidiousness of burnout is that these and other symptoms are felt at the same time and for a very long time. Often, burned-out persons cannot even remember when it all began, or for a long time did not pay attention that something was wrong with them, because the syndrome develops gradually, day after day.
Emotional burnout is a more serious and deeper problem than fatigue. When a person gets tired, it may be enough for them to get enough sleep and devote their time to a hobby or loved ones in order to recover. If a person is burned out, they need more time and resources to recover.
Imagine a thermometer for measuring air temperature. When a person has the strength and internal resources, the thermometer seems to be in zero-above temperature. When a person gets tired, the thermometer shows zero imaginary degrees Celsius. When a person burns out, the temperature goes to "minus". And the lower the temperature, the longer it takes to "warm up". It will not work out to "reach the plus" right away.
That is, burnout gets worse over time and can even lead to depression.
"I'm tired, I'm leaving": why does a person burn out
According to the study of grc.ua, the majority of respondents associate burnout with constant stress at work (53%) or, conversely, with professional "stagnation" (45%), that is lack of professional and career growth. Other popular reasons include pressure from management (38%) and monotonous work (24%).
Emotional burnout also occurs due to an unfavorable climate in the collective, problems in the family and personal life. Multitasking at work, fear of missing out on something in life, and excessive perfectionism are also direct paths to burnout.
The main burnout symptoms
Drowsiness. This is when in the morning after waking up and the rest of the day you just want to sleep. No matter how much a person sleeps, they still do not feel rested.
- Almost constant malaise.
Headaches, endless colds—all this can be a signal from the body that it urgently needs a good rest.
- Decreased performance.
The desire is just to look at the wall, and not at all this. It is more difficult for a person with burnout to cope with current tasks, and new ones cause panic and resistance.
- Fear of something new.
Instead of an enthusiast, a burnt-out person turns into a conservative squared. Because innovations require energy that a burnout person simply does not have.
- Decreased social activity.
"Potato Syndrome"—that's what net users call it. It's about when you don't want to talk to anyone.
- Increased irritability.
A burnout person wants to be left alone. And when they are not given such an opportunity, they begin to get very irritated.
- Loss of meaning.
Emotional burnout often goes hand in hand with a professional one. A burnout person may lose faith in his professional abilities.
"Now I’ ll have a coffee—and it's okay": how to cope with emotional burnout
Unfortunately, just coffee won't help. It, of course, could get the reserve forces of the body, but when a person burns out, these reserve forces are simply not there.
But it is absolutely possible to replenish the reserves. Ideally, go on vacation and change the environment, but, unfortunately, it is not always possible to take and go on vacation when the body asks for it. Other recommendations will come to the rescue.
- Healthy nutrition and sleep.
The body is a little bit like a car that needs gasoline in order to move and just stand there so as not to break down. The "car" will serve longer on good fuel. The body, especially a burned out one, needs healthy nutrition that will give the body the necessary vitamins and energy. The same is with the sleep—it's good when there is sleep, even better when there is enough of it. Healthy sleep and nutrition are the foundation for overcoming burnout.
It's winter outside, the weather is constantly changing, and it's dark almost all the time. This greatly affects both mood and well-being. The body needs vitamins, it may be worth taking them in a complex. But in order to choose the optimal complex, you need to consult a doctor.
- Regular meditation.
Or any other emotional release. Art therapy, reading, watching your favorite movies—any process that helps the brain to temporarily turn off the flow of stress and problems. Sometimes it is enough to regularly look at the wall with a blank look. The main thing is to choose the action in which a person does not think about anything.
- Physical exercises.
In a state of burnout, of course, you just want to lie down, but you can "lie down", for example, in a plank. Physical activity is necessary in order to relieve mental stress. Let it be running, swimming, gym, dancing or massage. In general, everything that will make you feel your body and will not allow you to think about current problems.
- To separate work and personal time.
It is very difficult, especially during a pandemic when most people work remotely. "Yes, I’m not a problem to answer a work letter in the evening—anyway I’m sitting behind the computer" is a wrong approach. No, there is a problem, you are not in the working world when the working hours are over. It is necessary to set the boundaries between the work and the personal time. Otherwise, all the time will feel like working time, and the stress will increase.
- To get out of the information flow.
It's about limiting the amount of time a person spends with gadgets. And we are using them almost always: to read the news, to reply to a message, to watch a video with cats. And in this short amount of time, the brain processes tons of information.
- Allow yourself to want nothing.
Sometimes a burnout person feels guilty that it is difficult for them to complete their usual tasks. The result is that the remnants of energy are spent not on restoration, but on devouring oneself from within. It is necessary to realize and accept the fact that now is not the best period, not an ideal state, not an "immortal pony." Accept, stop self-flagellation and start recovering.
These are fairly simple tips, and it is really possible to follow them. Burnout will not go away by itself, so it is necessary to start moving towards recovery and a healthy, harmonious life as early as possible.