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E-Quipped to... Realise You’re Burning Out
When a fire has burnt out it is not much use. We can’t use it for warmth, cooking or drying. We can’t use it to burn unwanted materials, warn off wild animals or signal our location to potential rescuers. In short, a fire that has burnt out is useless.
In my practice as a psychologist and a coach, I am finding that many of my clients who are working from home are presenting with symptoms of burnout and in the same way that a fire is no longer useful when it’s burnt out, these clients are no longer able to function effectively either. Although they do know that something is going wrong, they don’t realise that they are burning out.
Image by: webandi
While burnout has always been something to watch out for when working from home, it is now, with full time work from home so much more prevalent, that we need to be paying more attention to it than ever.
But even paying attention to it has become harder. Before COVID, it was usually our managers and colleagues who first noticed that something was wrong and brought it to our attention. Now, without our colleagues to give us feedback, symptoms of burnout can be harder to recognise. For people living alone, spotting the early signs of burnout has become especially difficult as there is no one to observe the changes in our behaviour and emotions and sadly although burnout develops progressively over 5 stages, most people do not recognise the symptoms until they have already reached full-blown burnout.
So, what are the tell-tale signs that you might be headed towards burnout? Let’s first understand what burnout actually is.
What is Burnout?
Burnout is a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed. It is characterized by three dimensions:
Burnout refers specifically to phenomena in the occupational context and should not be applied to describe experiences in other areas of life. In other words, burnout is an occupational phenomenon. It is not classified as a medical condition.
What are the Symptoms of Burnout?
There are many symptoms. Some of them are:
For more symptoms, read my article Spurn the Burn
Be aware that many of the symptoms of burnout are the same as the symptoms for depression and anxiety. For example, depression and burnout share the common features of loss of interest and impaired concentration. Depression, anxiety and burnout share many of the same symptoms including memory and concentration problems, sleeplessness, diffuse aches, profound fatigue, irritability and feeling of being emotionally drained.
If you are not sure if you are suffering from burnout, depression or anxiety – and it could easily be all three - seek professional help from a psychologist or other mental health professional.
How do I Know if I am Burning Out?
If you recognise that you have many of the symptoms mentioned above, then burnout has already been developing for a period of time.
If you are not sure, take the Burnout Test in my article Spurn the Burn
What do I do if I Realise That I am Burning Out?
If you realise that you are burning out, then it’s important to act straight away. Burnout doesn't go away on its own; rather, it will get worse unless you address the underlying issues causing it. If you ignore burnout, it will only cause you further harm down the line. Recovery can take weeks, months, or even years, so it's important that you make changes in your lifestyle to begin recovery as soon as possible.
There are three things you can do right now:
In my next E-Quipped newsletter I will share some tips on how to Prevent Work From Home Burnout.
Thank you for the Feedback
Thanks to Bill, Gordon, Cathleen, Mili, Biddy, Joao, Debbie, Liz, Nirvana, Wendy, Julie, and Lance for the feedback after the last newsletter.
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About These Emails
You may have been forwarded this email by a friend. In that case, allow me to introduce myself. I am a psychologist, speaker, trainer, coach and hat lover based in Kloof, a suburb of Durban, South Africa. I also do online counselling and coaching and I have clients all over the world.
On my website you'll find lots of free articles, posters and worksheets. I have written and created them all with the intention of helping you find your inner winner. Read, them use them, share them!
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+27 82 491 1136
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