Is your career or lifestyle burning you out?
For 12 years my career was my everything. Straight out of high school, I was a keen, eager, driven young employee striving for a great career opportunities, seeking approval and gratification from my superiors.
I worked long hours, travelled regularly, had a perfectionist attitude, was very organised and reliable. For most of those years as I worked full time, I was also studied my degree and accounting chartering on a part time basis.
My ‘normal’ became regularly working my rostered day offs for projects or peak periods, accumulating hours of annual leave, working from home when I was sick. I even jumped off a plane once from a short holiday to go straight into the office – crazy!
As a result my personal life was exactly the same! Miss social bunny here had no boundaries and felt guilty saying no to anyone or anything, including my personal relationships.
Back in May 2014, the month of my ten-year anniversary with the company, which also happened to be the week of my 30 birthday, my life completely changed.
I was not only burnt out, but an emotional and mental mess and very sick with chronic fatigue.
This “wake up” as I call it, took two years for me to recover and be functional in my life again.
Looking back, it’s obvious that my lifestyle was not sustainable.
As it turns out, my story isn’t that uncommon; many men and women are experiencing burnout.
So what is burnout?
Burnout is the result of prolonged chronic stress which can affect your physical, emotional and mental wellbeing. Quite often you are no longer the person who you want to be, or who you used to be.
Stress => more stress => a lot of stress => too much stress => burnout
If not conscious, burnout can wreak havoc with your physical health, mental health, relationships, job performance and your life. In order to catch burnout and combat it early, it is important to know what to look out for.
Here are the signs you may experience from burnout:
Exhaustion and Fatigue
No matter how many sleep ins or afternoon naps you take on weekends you still feel drained and tired all the time. This can be on a mental, physical or emotional level. Everything is such an effort.
Anxiety is an uncomfortable feeling of worry or fear. However, when we are stressed the normal levels of anxiety may become a daily routine, especially at work. Anxiety could include panic attacks, sweating, headaches, needing constant reassurance, getting upset by mistakes, rapid heartbeats, nausea, difficulties sleeping, concentrating and much more.
The attention to detail you once had has gone and you struggle to concentrate for long periods of time. Burnout can then make small tasks, deadlines or things in the future become impossible to achieve.
Lack of Motivation
You no longer have the enthusiasm about your work or business. You have lost that inner joy, passion, and drive for your work and sometimes your entire life.
Emotions changing very quickly from anger, sadness, overwhelmed, depression or frustrated. You may also cry at things that would not normally, or snap at people or situations quickly. Self doubt, negative emotions and your confidence may also diminish.
Slipping Work Performance
Compare your job performance now to your performance in previous years. As burnout tends to happen over an extended period of time, taking this long-term view might reveal whether you’re in a temporary slump or experiencing more chronic burnout.
Problems falling asleep or staying asleep. Many people think that waking at 3am in the morning is just their normal sleep pattern – it’s not! Getting a consistent 7 to 8 hours per night is essential for the body to heal, repair and regenerate.
So if you ‘are’ experiencing burnout then;
Find what this is for you; yoga, meditation, walking, listening to music, reading a book, visiting friends and family. Just make sure you designate time each day.
Discovery what your boundaries are for work, with friends and family. Only you will know this and it will definitely mean you will learn to say that one really hard word “NO”!
We come from a “people pleasing society”, but remember the only person that you really need to please is yourself.
So the next time you are asked to work back or to attend an event stop and ask yourself – “Do I really want to?”
Create a rich non-work life
Find something outside of work that you are passionate about that’s challenging, engaging and really gets you going, whether a hobby, sports or fitness activities or volunteering in the community.
Plan and be organised
Often, when people are burnt out, they spend a lot of time worrying that they’ll forget to do something or that something important is going to slip through the cracks.
Create a to-do list or plan each day and prioritise. I suggest doing it just before you leave work each night or an hour on the weekends for the week ahead.
Talk to your manager
Consider talking to your manager or HR about resilience or stress management training.
At least discuss how you can improve communication and create a better, more positive work environment. Angle the conversation about how those cultural shifts will enable you to continue to serve the company and become an even better employee.
If possible ask for an extended break so that you can really heal.
Eating a healthy and balanced diet is essential for you to function.
If you’re eating foods high in carbohydrates, saturated fats and refined sugar you are adding to the stress in your body.
This is also true if you are skipping meals and consuming too much coffee, tea, alcohol and not enough water.
Get help! You don’t need to do it alone.
There are many naturopaths, integrative doctors, Chinese medicine practitioners, massage therapist and kinesiologist who can assist you to manage your stress, burnout and fatigue.
Their support and advice for diets, supplements, books, understanding your emotions and mental symptoms will fast track your healing journey.
The key is to manage burnout before it manages you!
From my own burnout journey my passion and dedication is in assisting others who are suffering from fatigue and burnout. As a qualified kinesiologist and coach my mission is to guide my clients in living a life full of self care, health and balanced lifestyle.
So if you are ready to overcome burnout and fatigue, I am ready to work with you! Let’s get to know each other with a complimentary 30 minute “Lets get energised” session.
My promise to you is to motivate, empower and guide you to overcome burnout and fatigue just like I did.