Even the best jobs can lead to burnout. The harder you work and the more motivated you are to succeed, the easier it is to get in over your head.
The problem with burnout though, is that it sneaks up on you. It’s easy to ignore the early warning signs, because it’s a gradual process. The signs and symptoms are subtle at first, but they get worse as time goes on. Sometimes, it’s hard to notice when the physical or mental exhaustion from work is taking its toll.
Here some warning signs to watch for:
Physical exhaustion is one of the earliest warnings signs of burnout. You feel physically and emotionally exhausted, drained and depleted. You are consistently lacking the energy after work to do regular things like cook, go to gym or spend time with your family.
Keep an eye on your health. Because your body is depleted, your immune system becomes weakened, making you more vulnerable to infections, colds, flu and other immune-related medical problems.
You struggle to find the motivation to get the job done. You find yourself frustrated and not looking forward to the day ahead. You may complete tasks, but the motivation that used to drive you is gone. Instead your motivation stems from fear – of missing deadlines or getting fired.
At the same time with lack of motivation, you’re bored to the bone even though you have plenty of work to do. Even being bored while you do the work is a bad sign since it shows you’re not engaged with what you’re actually doing.
Excessive stress can cause you to feel like your thinking is constantly foggy and memory can alter. Because of that you’re messing up normally easy tasks and you’re unable to focus on the task at hand. Despite long hours, you are not productive as you once were.
Stress effects over into everything you do, particularly how you interact with people. You have shorter fuse than usual and little things bother you. Your responses are petulant in nature and others may even find themselves uncomfortable around you.
Disengagement at work often leads to avoiding co-workers and minimizing responsibilities. It can take the form of the isolative behaviors, and result in removing yourself emotionally and physically from your job.
Do you love your job? Great! But be aware, people who are overly passionate about their work are at risk for quickly burning up. Job dedication is usually considered a good thing, but if you want to avoid exhaustion and emotional distress, it’s important to find good life-work balance.
If you’re experiencing some of these symptoms, this should be a wake-up call. Take control of your work situation and take stock of your options. The most important thing is to address the issues early.
Tell us your opinions. Have you experienced burnout?