How to Identify and Address Burnout

How to Identify and Address Burnout

By Mina Ayoub, Communications Executive at EFG Hermes.

Burnout is a word that popped up a few years ago and suddenly became a staple in everyone’s vocabulary. But what is burnout? How can you tell if you suffer from it? Can it be treated or mitigated?

What is burnout?

Burnout is a modern ailment, stemming from our stressful and busy daily lives where we’re constantly running around to squeeze in all the components of ‘the perfect life’ in 24 hours. From a successful career to a picturesque family and cool hobbies, everything feels like it’s being scrutinized to fit the modern definition of success. Our lives are constantly being displayed and judged on social media, creating levels of stress that previous generations never experienced.

Burnout can also be caused by our incessant need to be ‘in the know’ about virtually everything going on in the world. We read news as it happens 24/7, from the US elections to the Australian fires, we find ourselves worried and stressed about events happening hundreds of miles away from us, but we can’t help it, we’re modern citizens of the world, we have to know what’s going on.

Do I have burnout?

Now you might be wondering if you suffer from burnout. According to the experts, burnout is a state of chronic stress that leads to physical and emotional exhaustion, cynicism, detachment, feelings of ineffectiveness and lack of accomplishment. You might be suffering from burnout if:

  • You’re tired all the time, even if you had a good night’s sleep
  • You suffer from chronic insomnia
  • Your anxiety is starting to interfere with your work and personal life
  • You stop enjoying the things that previously brought you joy
  • You’re feeling disconnected from others or your environment
  • You’re not as productive and have an increased feeling apathy and detachment towards everything and everyone

Okay! I have burnout… Now what?

Suffering from burnout is not the end of the world, and it doesn’t mean that you will have to live with it for the rest of your life. Diagnosis is the first step in treatment, and now that you know you’re not in the best place mentally and emotionally, you can do something about it.

You can use these simple steps to mitigate and avoid burnout:

  • Disconnect

As evolved human beings, we have developed the need to stay informed about anything and everything whether it’s world news or the latest social updates on our friends and family. Put your phone down occasionally and control the urge to constantly monitor your social media because it can be overwhelming to keep up all the time. No one will think less of you for disconnecting or choosing which items to invest in emotionally, we’re not built to follow every single piece of news that’s taking place in the world around us.

Also, try not to compare yourself to the images you see on social media of people living their best lives and remember that people don’t share their hardships or bad news. There’s much more than meets the eye in the glamorously filtered photos that your acquaintances are posting.

  • Accept imperfections

You’re not perfect and neither is anyone else. It’s as simple as that. While we all do our best to juggle multiple duties and responsibilities, it’s inevitable that things will slip and that is ok. Remind yourself that every once in a while it’s okay to take a break, stay home, not attend a family gathering or social event, and even not to give 110% every day at work. This push for perfection in everything we do, not only causes us extra stress, but can also lead to the opposite result; apathy and not trying at all.

  • Listen to your body

In recent years, the idea of pushing yourself to your limit has gained traction. If you’re not doing more than 100% of your capabilities 100% of the time, then you are not doing enough. This is not a sustainable concept; our bodies need rest, good sleep, good food, and the ability to switch off. Don’t keep on pushing yourself when your body is giving you clear signals that it needs a break, listen to it and take some time to breathe.

Experiencing burnout is nothing to be ashamed of, and it definitely is not uncommon. Most people experience it at one point in their lives whether they realize it or not. The important thing is to adopt a healthy attitude. Burnout is not you failing, it’s your mind and body going into self-preservation mode, meant to encourage you to prioritize your efforts and focus to reach your greatest potential.