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Are you experiencing burnout...without knowing it?

Burnout is a term that many of us are familiar with. Sadly over two-thirds of full-time employees report that they have experienced burnout at some point in their careers and multiple studies show workplace burnout is becoming increasingly more common.


The term burnout is often associated with work. Indeed the World Health Organisation itself defines burnout as:

"a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed"

but there is more to burnout.


Burnout does not only materialise as feeling drained from working too much, collapsing a desk at 10pm on a Friday (if not a Saturday or Sunday) before trying to gather steam to do it all again come Monday.


Burnout is more nuanced and expansive than this narrow (but also very real for some) picture.


Let's explore some broader truths about burnout.

 

It is not always about work


We do not experience stress only at work. So it follows that we don't only feel chronic stress from work.


Burnout can result from other stressors and influences:

  • care-giving;

  • relationships;

  • parenting;

  • societal pressures;

  • family dynamics; ...the list goes on...


One, two, any number or even all of these stressors combined can contribute towards chronic stress and burnout.

 

It isn't always a feeling of exhaustion


Burnout does not only manifest itself as feeling run down, tired and exhausted. There are other feelings which can present themselves when we are experiencing burnout, and indeed newer, clinical approaches are using these 'dimensions' to measure and diagnose burnout.


The Dimensions of Burnout


Cynicism

You experience feelings of detachment.. from your role, activities you are doing or partaking in, your relationships and/or people around you.


You feel disconnected and can lack empathy (even when this is an attribute you have previously possessed in abundance).


You feel that what you do no longer matters. You find yourself asking - what is the point?


Ineffectiveness

You feel you are never able to do a good enough job. Whether that is being a "good enough" professional, entrepreneur, role model, colleague, parent, friend, son, daughter, partner...


You feel incompetent and unproductive. Tasks that used to be a breeze feel extremely challenging or entirely insurmountable.


More often than not you are actually being effective, but your perception is that you are not.


Exhaustion

Yes feeling physically tired and exhausted is indicative burnout. But it also goes further.


You feel constantly drained and depleted, not just physically but also emotionally.


You feel you are "always on" - at work, at home, in professional and personal life and "switching off" feels impossible.


Everything feels overwhelming.


 

It is not a binary experience


It is not as straight forward as one day you are not, and then the next day you are burnt out.

Burnout does not happen overnight, it happens gradually over time... it is chronic stress.

The definition of chronic is "continuing for a long time; constantly recurring; developing slowly or of a long duration.


And, it is generally not a case of you suddenly feel or experience one, two or all of the dimensions described above. These feelings can grow, develop and manifest along a continuum. Some days you might feel more of one dimension than another, or certain stressors may trigger more of one dimension than another.


But, if you recognise you are feeling any of the three dimensions, as a result of work or any other life pressures and stressors, then you are experiencing your own unique shade of burnout.

 

If you want to discuss the dimensions you are experiencing and the best place to start to turn the tide and prevent burnout then let's talk today.





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