Feeling Stressed And Burned Out?
The 4 stages of burn out are commonly experienced by men and women who are just too busy and who don’t have enough down time. Do you wake up and can’t get back to sleep? Are you one of those people who will get up and go to the kitchen and look in the fridge? Maybe you go to the toilet and go back to bed, but your mind is still racing and you just can’t seem to get back to sleep, you end up tossing and turning. Perhaps you run through the events of the day, having conversations with people at work, you want to resign and have had enough, drafting an imaginary letter of resignation, fighting a sense of outrage and inadequacy. You keep thinking that the senior management is down on top of you, and you worry about your job, your partner, your kids. You worry that you may not be able to service that mortgage. Are you the kind of person who worries about everything, about your lack of interest in exercise and sex, you worry that you are drinking a too much, the wrinkles and the size of your love handles? You are tired of thinking that people may see you as “letting yourself go” and you’ve just had enough of everybody and everything. You could well be suffering from serious job or life burnout, and you need to take action now before this ends in a serious health problem in time! Welcome to burn-out, people, an all too common problem I see in the clinic today affecting many people.
Common Signs Of Burn Out
• I feel tired even when I have had my normal eight hours of sleep, I wake up tired.
• I am bored with my work and have difficulty concentrating, I need more fun in my life.
• I carry too much responsibility, everybody asks me to do something and I’m sick of it.
• I have got to a point where other people’s’ needs don’t concern me anymore.
• I feel emotionally empty at the end of a normal working day.
• My workload is far too heavy, I keep getting more work.
• I do not feel as sensitive as I used to feel, I couldn’t care less anymore.
• I often worry about my ability to do my job after hours, I frequently do work at night.
• I’m on the computer many nights a week, feel tired but keep on going.
• My boss has completely unrealistic expectations of me.
• I often drink too much alcohol or coffee.
• I eat too much, skip breakfast at times too.
• I am often ill, I seem to get sick a lot.
• I wake up in the morning dreading the thought of going to work. Not another day!
• I am no longer interested in sex, just leave me alone!
• I can get depressed on Sunday evenings, not another week ahead.
• Life generally seems pointless to me.
• There is not much in life I look forward to.
• I take less care of my appearance than I used to.
• My family constantly complains about not seeing enough of me.
• I spend a lot of time watching TV when I am not at work.
4 Stages of Burn-Out
1. The Alarm – The Honeymoon Phase
During this phase, your new job seems to be the answer to everything. You say yes to everything, take on plenty of work and are positively stimulated by it. You are seen to be diligent, and a willing employee. Your boss keeps on loading your plate. “If you want something done, ask somebody who is busy” so the saying goes. You are happy and fulfilled and your enthusiasm knows almost no bounds, you even work at nights and weekends. No task is too demanding and you are never loathing to walk that extra mile. The housework slides a little, but you try to pick up the slack on the weekend, even though you want to sleep in till 9.00am. At this point you probably have mild adrenal fatigue score when taking Dr. Wilson’s Adrenal fatigue questionnaire. You feel fulfilled and stimulated, albeit temporarily. Your body is in stage 1 of the stress phase, you are stimulated and the adrenalin is flowing. But can it last? It seems too good to be true.
2. The Resistance – The Reality Check
3. The Burn Out – The Disillusionment
You start feeling angry a lot, blaming others for all the things that go wrong in your life. Your short term memory is shot, work deteriorates and you become openly critical of your partner, family, superiors or colleagues. Anxiety and depression become a part of your everyday existence and you often are ill.
4. The Exhaustion – The Red Alert
• You need to learn how to balance work and play, don’t let your job take over your life. Working overtime will impact negatively on your ability to do the job in the long run, your health and relationships will be second best. Was it worth it?
• Overworking in an effort to avoid dealing with personal or relationship problems will lead to major problems, deal with problems and communicate effectively with the important people in your life before it is too late
• Maintain an active social life, become involved with others on a regular basis.
• Do you have a non-tech hobby such as playing an instrument, board or card game, painting or drawing? It can be very therapeutic.
• Learn to say no before you become overloaded, and don’t feel guilty for doing it.
• Accept the fact that you cannot be everything to everybody and that you are not irreplaceable. Learn to say no!
• If you work in a helping profession, remember that you cannot take responsibility for other people’s problems. They have to do so themselves, and all you can do is point them in the right direction.
• Doing things for people that they should be doing for themselves says quite a lot about you and possible unresolved control issues. Learn to relinquish control!
• There is little point in taking medications unless you also deal with the source of the stress, treat the cause, not the end result. Get help if it is something within you that causes you to work to the point of burnout.
• If you can’t change jobs, change your attitude with regards to the existing one.
• By learning to set boundaries and to sticking to them you can avoid burnout to a large extent.
• Learn to read your body – take a holiday when you need time out. A change can be as good as a holiday, but a holiday can be the best way to recharge those batteries.