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How to Prevent Burnout This Time of Year 

This time of year, can be hard on many of us. The summer holidays seem a lifetime away and we are slowly starting to feel the long-term effects of working and overcompensating.  Burnout is a form of physical and mental exhaustion and can have serious effects on your work and family life. There are certain personalities and job structures that create the perfect storm for some of us to become prone to burnout. Learning how to prevent burnout is crucial in our work environment.

Luckily there are a few signs to keep an eye out for.  Managing stress is vital during the end-run of the year. Let’s look at the symptoms of burnout and how you can put your mental health first. 

print burnout

The Red Flags 

Certain factors can contribute to burnout. Emotional exhaustion should be kept in check. Tiredness and burnout can look very similar. This is because lack of sleep is a sign of burnout too. 

Physical exhaustion can show itself in many forms. A sudden demotivation for your job and responsibilities could be one. People who are burning out are most likely not enjoying their job either. 

Chronic stress can have many physical symptoms. Headaches, fatigue and even gastro-intestinal illnesses can arise from a stressful working environment. 

Employees suffering from burnout will also not be as good in their job as they usually are. This is an opportunity to reach out and be empathetic. This is not the time to criticise an employee. They may be going through a very stressful time. 

On the flip side, many employers are to blame too. They can easily overwork employees and expect results in normal time frames. The pressure can become too much for employees. 

A manager’s support can reduce the risk of burnout significantly. Treat employees fairly and ease the workload. Sometimes an employee just needs a break that will prevent burnout. 

Prone Personalities 

Perfectionists are prone to burnout. Striving to continuously do your best can be exhausting. It can also put your relationships to the test. 

A perfectionist or A-type personality can throw themselves into work. This can easily lead to burnout. 

Job burnout is very real for any personality. Pessimists are other personality types who can burnout. Constant worrying that something may go wrong, and always doing your best can hurt your emotional and physical health. 

Excitable personalities are just that – excited. Their joy outweighs the job specs at hand and they usually do it with a smile too. 

Excitability can cause burnout without you even realising it. Take time to have quiet moments and to reflect on your strategy every other moment you get. 

Long Term Management and Prevention 

The road to burnout can be a slippery slope. You don’t want to reach this point as the results are usually negative. Overworked employees who love their jobs can soon become jaded and feel like their job doesn’t matter anyway. 

Discuss heavy workloads with your team and see who is really up for the job. Some people have lots of responsibilities that do not end at work. In some cases, a new job might be the best thing for you. 

Employees who are burning out usually do not take a lot of leave either. Take the leave, even if it means you get to hang around at home all day in your pyjamas. You can sleep late and go to bed early and get the rest your mind and body needs. This is the best way to prevent burnout. 

The 12 Phases 

Psychologists Herbert Freudenberger and Gail North have outlined the 12 phases of burnout syndrome: 

  1. Excessive drive/ambition 
  2. Pushing yourself to work harder 
  3. Neglecting your own needs 
  4. Displacement of conflict 
  5. No time for non-work-related needs 
  6. Denial 
  7. Withdrawal 
  8. Behavioural changes 
  9. Depersonalisation 
  10. Inner emptiness or anxiety 
  11. Depression 
  12. Mental or physical collaps

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