Burnout, this occupational ailment, can affect anyone and totally devastate a person’s life and health. Insidious, this ailment, considered a novelty of our century, is gradually intruding into our professional and personal lives, without our detecting it.
However, there are warning signs that must be taken into account immediately to prevent the disease from breaking out, splashing your general health in the process.
Burn-out, an occupational disease
It is often the work that is at the origin of this evil. People with high-ranking positions and responsibilities that are particularly stressful on a daily basis are the most likely to be affected by the disease. Executives, business leaders, politicians and managers endure a great deal of pressure, which can sometimes result in a collapse. But they are not the only ones who are exposed to it. Occupations in which professional relations are paramount also have a risk of burn-out. Caregivers, social workers or sales agents are also subject to pressure from hierarchy, as well as from customers (or patients), which, despite all the love they have for their job, can lead them to psychological breakdown.
There are some fairly recognizable warning signs. The first sign, often the most obvious to those around you, is ultra-dependence at work. Personal life is totally put on hold in favor of professional missions.
You stay late at work, you no longer have any hobbies, your family complains that they no longer see you… Beware, you are on the wrong track! If it can happen to have more intense periods at work, it must remain episodic.
The second sign is a direct result of the first: victimization. Faced with the remarks of your relatives or colleagues, you complain about their incomprehension and blame them en masse. You think that no one recognizes your true worth, that they don’t understand you and that they only frustrate you.
Conflicting emotions turn into tears, anger and a nervous breakdown that is difficult to control.
In addition to the warning signs mentioned in the previous paragraph, other psychological symptoms manifest themselves as burnout sets in. Your emotions become uncontrollable, before falling back completely and putting you in a lethargic state. Like a zombie, you become insensitive to the world around you, you give up, you are convinced that you won’t be able to overcome this and you look at yourself very negatively.
You can no longer relax, you can’t even concentrate and your performance suffers. It is at this point that addictions can appear: drugs, alcohol, medication or cigarettes.
But despite all these signs, you refuse to admit that something is wrong…
It’s not only the morale that takes a hit during a burn-out. All this stress and conflicting emotions also reach the body. Extreme fatigue is felt. You have attacks of insomnia, you find it difficult to get up, migraines arrive, as well as aches and pains. Eventually, cardio-vascular diseases may appear because of the high blood pressure caused by this state of permanent tension.
Burn-out is often detected by the family before the affected person agrees to admit it. The victim often remains in denial until it is too late. When they finally accept this state of affairs, the damage is already profound and the treatment requires a long period of care, leading to a work stoppage of several months.
There is, however, a test that allows everyone to know if burn-out is close or, on the contrary, if you are rather serene and balanced in your professional life. Known as the Maslach test, this 22-question questionnaire evaluates your feelings in your work. If you would like to take the test, click here.
Prevent burn-out and fight stress
Burn-out affects people who are too invested in their work and take the goals and pressure on them too much to heart. It is therefore necessary to work on oneself and accept that it is possible to be efficient without wringing one’s stomach with stress.
If you feel that you are extremely tired and emotional, you are too stressed. Take the time to go outside to clear your mind, do some breathing exercises and, above all, take up sports. Why do you think many leaders or important people do sports? It’s a great way to relieve pressure and clear your head.
When you’re doing a particularly stressful job, add 30 minutes of exercise to your routine every day. This could be walking or running, going to a yoga class or joining a gym. You can relieve your stress after work and before you go home. When you get home, you can focus on your family time, which is also great for clearing your mind and avoiding burnout.
Burnout is a breakdown of the body and mind that can lead to severe exhaustion and stop you for several months. It is difficult to recover from such a state and as always, prevention is better than cure. If you are experiencing the symptoms described above, then you need to talk about it. To your family, to your boss and why not to a psychiatrist. It is essential not to let this illness intrude and become part of your life. Your health is the most precious thing you have. So lift your head off the handlebars once in a while and enjoy the wonders of life!