On the verge of burnout? An expert tells you how to stay cool

Burnout can be risky for your life. Know the stages of burnout to find out where you stand and follow these tips to cope with it.

burnout stage
Burnout is a condition that can take a long time to heal. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Aayushi Gupta Published on: 12 May 2022, 09:30 am IST
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Have you watched the Bollywood film Tamasha? Remember how frustrated Ranbir Kapoor (Ved Vardhan Sahni) tries to manage his job and career while feeling stressed and suffering from burnout. Well, if you are also in the burnout stage, you may have have felt a connection.

Well, in today’s busy world, millennials are experiencing burnout at an alarming rate and unfortunately, it is taking a toll on their mental and physical health in more than one way.

The World Health Organization (WHO) considers burnout a mental problem. According to WHO, this is a syndrome that arises due to stress during work and it can also cause many diseases. In fact, an American company Gallup study of nearly 7,500 full-time employees found that 23 percent of employees reported feeling burned out at work very often or always while 44 percent reported feeling burnout sometimes. And that clearly means that two-third of the full-time workers experience burnout in their jobs.

burnout stage
Burnout is a real issue. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Even many employees admitted that they often have stress and anxiety at the workplace. Some even mentioned depression. And all this has started to happen even more since the Covid-19. If you’re confused about whether you’re in a stage of burnout or not, you need to know its symptoms.

Symptoms of burnout look different for everyone. But if you’re curious about it, here are some common signs of it:

  • Physical manifestations such as fatigue, headache, back pain, shoulder pain, thyroid issues, weight loss/weight gain, insomnia, etc.
  • Attitude changes such as easily getting impatient, irritated, critical, or cynical, procrastinating, lack of motivation, etc.
  • Negative coping such as unhealthy eating patterns, drinking excessive coffee or alcohol, smoking, spending excessive time on social media or games, etc.
  • Mental manifestations such as increased anxiety and worry, having a low capacity and desire for change, low self-image, etc.
  • Spiritual manifestations such as feeling distant from God, unable to rest well, unable to continue previous spiritual practices, feeling weary and burdened, etc.

Health Shots spoke to Dr. Sonal Anand, Psychiatrist, Wockhardt Hospitals, Mira Road, Mumbai, to understand the stages of burnout and ways to cope with it.

Dr Anand explains the stages of burnout here:

1. Honeymoon phase

This stage is linked to energy and optimism. Whether it is starting a new job or a new task, one will be productive, enthusiastic, and creative, and performs very well.

2. Onset of stress phase

Once the honeymoon phase gets over, the person will experience stress. One will lose focus at the task on hand or be less productive when completing tasks. Physically, fatigue can also be seen making it difficult to sleep well.

burnout stage
Workplace anxiety and stress can take a toll on your mental health. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

3. Chronic stress phase

As the pressure increases, the stress is likely to impact your work. One will not be able to complete the work within the deadlines and he/she will be late for work or may procrastinate during work. One can get angry and lash out at coworkers.

4. Burnout phase

Here, you will be unable to complete the tasks that you would do normally. Behavioural changes are predominant. Problems at work will make you feel numb and you may self-doubt. You will have constant headaches, stomach issues, anxiety, irritation, and frustration.

5. Habitual burnout phase

If not tackled at the right time, burnout can become a part of your everyday life and cause depression. Thus, you will not be able to work with ease.

How to prevent burnout:

1. De-stress

Try to de-stress by doing activities that you like. You can opt for yoga, meditation, singing, dancing, listening to music, gardening, or photography.

burnout stage
Stay calm with the help of yoga and meditation. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

2. Seek support

Seek support from your co-workers, family members, and friends. Try to openly talk to them about things that bother you and find a solution for your problem.

3. Sleep hygiene is a must

Have a regular sleep cycle and go to bed on time. Taking a good night’s sleep will help you stay focused and concentrated while increasing your productivity levels. You can try meditation, and deep breathing exercises to sleep well and alleviate stress.

4. Prioritize self care

Don’t be harsh on yourself. If you notice that there is burnout due to work then take out some ME time for yourself, rest, get a good night’s sleep, go on a vacation, and practice self-love. You will also have to embrace a well-balanced lifestyle, eat a nutritious diet, maintain optimum weight, and exercise daily. Basically, you need to do things that make you happy.

5. Don’t carry workload at home

Work-related stress is the biggest cause of burnout. So keep your personal and professional life separate and try to balance it at any cost if you want to keep burnout at bay.

6. Set boundaries

Accepting many responsibilities or commitments can be overwhelming or stressful for you. It is okay to say no in a polite manner. Do not burden yourself with a lot of work. Before any commitment, see if you have time and that amount of energy to complete the task in the stipulated time.

burnout stage
Keep your health above anything else. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

7. Take breaks from work

If you have a busy day with a lot of work, try to ensure you take breaks in between. In fact, if you’ve been using social media too much, take a small break from it too or use it in a more monitored way. So, take a break whenever you get a change to!

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About the Author
Aayushi Gupta Aayushi Gupta

Candid, outspoken, but prudent--Aayushi is exploring her place in media world.

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