This Friday night, I had a difficult choice to make between watching Rajnikanth’s senseless flick Robot 2.0 and Ranbir Kapoor’s slow-as-a-turtle drama Tamasha. Deciding to go with the latter and watching Ranbir struggle with his job made me realise how sometimes in life we’re likely to feel bogged down and suffer from burnout, losing our will and motivation to go on.
Not to mention, the pace of the movie practically gave me a taste of being burnt out. But sarcasm aside, I thought it was important to talk about this condition with y’all. Yes, life situations, the societal pressures, the unbearable workload can take a toll on all of us–especially in these strenuous times that 2020 has brought about with it. And yes, it can result in the burnout syndrome.
So, let’s get to know what the burnout syndrome is
Dr Preeti Singh, senior consultant, clinical psychology and psychotherapy at Paras Hospital, Gurgaon defines burnout as “a persistent negative, work-related state of mind in normal individuals, that is primarily characterized by exhaustion, accompanied by distress, a sense of reduced effectiveness, decreased motivation, and development of dysfunctional attitudes.”
But what causes burnout?
Nothing in life happens without a reason. You feeling burnt out is no exception to this rule.
Blame it on your office: “It is mostly triggered by a lack of work-life balance,” points out Dr. Prakriti Saxena Poddar, a leading mental-health expert and CEO of Mind Over Image.
“Organizational factors like heavy workload, conflicts with co-workers, imbalanced effort rewarding, and rapid changes in the institution could also be the contributing factors according to Dr Singh.
In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) touts “chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed,” as one of the main reasons behind most of us feeling burnt out.
Your emotional state also has a part to play: Burnout could even be an emotional one, after all, there’s more to life than just work, right?
In this case, the causes could range from going through a significant life change such as coping with the loss of a loved one to simply getting too bored of the monotony of life. Perhaps, just like Ranbir in Tamasha, you too are tired of trying to meet the expectations of the society and have lost your sense of self in the process. Yes, that could be a trigger.
Needless to say, it can also be due to a prolonged problem like financial instability, an illness that refuses to go away, or maybe just the emotional exhaustion that comes with being an overtly caring person, who always ends up being the giver in relationships.
Warning: Don’t confuse burnout with life’s usual stresses
Surely, stress is quite similar to burnout, which can obviously make you dismiss this condition of yours as temporary. However, a burnout is much worse and needs to be dealt with way more carefully. Here’s how you can differentiate between the two:
“It is difficult to know where normal stress stops and burnout begins,” says Dr Poddar. She adds:
When there is chronic stress, it can manifest into a burnout, although, this may not always be the case. And though burnout does not develop without stress, stress can develop without a burnout.
Basically, stress culminates when you think that the expectations from you exceed your ability to deliver or when things are out of your control. However, if this stress persists for a longer time it can result in a burnout.
For further clarity, check out these symptoms of burnout
Exhaustion: If you have a sense of constant fatigue and tension with no relief, then you might be experiencing burnout-related exhaustion.
Depersonalization: She also points out depersonalization as a symptom, which basically refers to the negative or cynical behaviour of the person going through this tough condition. It can be characterized by impersonal or indifferent interaction with colleagues and people around you.
Unprofessional comments directed towards your co-workers and sheer inability to express empathy to your folks are a part of it.
Inefficacy: This, Dr Poddar states, refers to a lack of belief in your ability to perform your job well and a decrease in achievement and productivity.
Physical signs: “In case of a burnout, you may not be able to sleep well, have recurrent pains and aches, gastrointestinal disorders, hypertension, and fatigue. Additionally, you may have a low self-esteem,” Dr Singh points out.
So, how can you treat burnout?
For starters, don’t panic if your symptoms match. Because you can still kick burnout to the curb. Here’s how: