Are you busy? You probably are. I am. My neighbour is. All my friends are. And now that it’s summer, I’m supposed to be relaxing and enjoying the weather and outdoor recreation but instead I’m cramming in work at all hours so I can go on a vacation but it’s stressing me out!
Exhaustion, mental detachment, poor performance on the job
We all have workplace stress; it’s part of life and the climbing the career ladder. But burnout is more than stress at work; burnout is chronic, on-going workplace stress that hasn’t been managed, or perhaps even acknowledged, and it’s characterized by
- mental detachment, and
- poor job performance
Burnout often starts as depression. A few hard days at work can turn into feelings of inadequacy. So, to feel better, you have a few extra drinks to relax or a candy bar every afternoon and these become habits that are difficult to break. Soon you are tired every day, every night, and all you want to do is sleep. You certainly don’t have the energy or wherewithal to exercise or make a healthy meal.
The combination of stress and anxiety that continues day after day leads to disappointment in your work and social isolation. If you feel that you are not doing your job well anymore, are getting annoyed by daily requirements along with the pressure of little time and support, and are avoiding the social commitments that come with career-life then you are a prime candidate for burnout.
There are treatments for depression and if this is how you are feeling, it’s time to talk to your doctor now so you can manage depression in a timely and effective manner. Burnout can prove more challenging to work through. Managing burnout requires lifestyle changes and should also be worked through with the help of a physician who can distinguish between depression and the ramifications of burnout’s chronic on-going stress.
To start putting your life and attitude back together you must find what is underlying your situation. What can you let go of in your life both temporarily (come back to these goals when you are feeling stronger) and permanently (what is wreaking havoc on your mind that you may want but really don’t need)? Are you overwhelmed with demands that leave you unable to pursue your real goals? Do you feel you have to be perfect? Or do you want it all, right now? Maybe you have imposter syndrome? Or maybe it is actually your work environment that is the direct cause of your burnout.
Step back, and think about these things. Be kind to yourself and also honest. And then you will really be able to enjoy your vacation. Your heart will thank you.
James Kneller treats atrial fibrillation, arrhythmia, and other heart conditions. He is an internationally recognized authority on cardiovascular health and personal development.