Job Burnout: What Are the Causes and Symptoms, Plus 9 Tips for Prevention
What Is Burnout?
Burnout is a physical and psychological state of exhaustion lasting several weeks or months. People feel “burned out” and can no longer perform their usual workload.
In the International Classification of Diseases (ICD), burnout syndrome belongs to the category “Problems related to difficulties in coping with life”.
To date, there is no guideline for the diagnosis of burnout. This is probably due to the fact that burnout can manifest itself in different ways.
What Exactly Causes Burnout?
The causes of burnout are not fully known. It is probably an interaction of biological and psychological factors, as well as characteristics or stressors within one's given environment.
It should be noted that the brain plays a decisive role in burnout. This is where electrical signals are transmitted and emotions and thoughts are processed.
However, if electrical impulses in the brain become unreliable and neurotransmitters weaken, the electrical events in the brain feel more strenuous.
This all means that affected people then find it more difficult to carry out their work as usual.
Emotional trauma can also increase the risk of burnout.
Anyone who is then additionally under high stress or pressure will sooner or later have to ask themselves the following:
- Am I experiencing burnout?
- How do I seek help?
What Are the Symptoms of Burnout?
The process of burnout is gradual and can manifest itself in very individual ways. In addition, each person has his or her very own limits, which must be respected in order not to overburden oneself.
The most common symptoms of burnout include:
- Continuous physical fatigue
- Reduced fatigue tolerance
- Decreased performance
- Emotional exhaustion
- Poor coping with emotional stress
- Distraction and isolation
- Physical symptoms such as sleep disturbances as well as a decreased ability to concentrate
What Tips Help To Prevent Burnout?
Stress fosters the development of burnout. Since we live in a world characterized by stress, you should avoid everyday stress to prevent burnout.
Tip 1: Stop comparing yourself to others
When was the last time you compared yourself to someone? Was it perhaps the colleague at work who earns more, or a fellow competitor in sports who complete his 10 km run in less time?
Comparing ourselves and constantly competing with others stresses our bodies. Everyone is an individual who has their own unique talents. Therefore, set personal goals that fit you and correspond with your long term goals.
Tip 2: Change your environment
Are there people in your environment who are under enormous pressure or stress themselves? Keep an eye on them and see if they influence you. Maybe those individuals are causing situations that are eating away at your energy reserves. Take a bit of distance so that you are not negatively affected by it.
Tip 3: Switch jobs
Do you actually feel healthy, but can acknowledge that your job is making you unhappy? Or does your supervisor demand too much overtime from you? A workload that is too heavy or a job you are ultimately unhappy in may very well be putting you under increased stress. Consider a job change to prevent burnout.
TieTalent will help you in an efficient and stress-free way. After all, the job search should not become an additional burden.
Tip 4: Learn your limits
It's probably human nature that keeps pushing us beyond our body's stress limits. In today's society, we are no longer aware of when we should slow down and stop or just take a break. However, we hit a wall at some point when we don't know our individual limits and ask too much of our bodies.
Become more conscious in your everyday life and learn to listen to your body and set limits.
Tip 5: Do not blame yourself
A big mistake is blaming yourself for burnout – no matter what the causes or triggers are. Realize that you are not the problem. You can neither prevent burnout nor cure yourself of it with constant blaming.
Stay positive, have compassion for yourself, and stop blaming yourself.
Tip 6: Adjust your diet
The body is a true “collector”. This means that any toxins from our environment can linger in the body. So over the course of a lifetime, quite a lot can accumulate, which can lead to physical stress and brain fog.
Therefore, make sure you detoxify with a healthy diet and relieve your body along with your immune system. Fresh, unprocessed food is a weapon against burnout (and frankly, quite a lot of other health issues)!
Tip 7: Make sure you have enough brain food
The term “brain food” says it all: The brain needs energy to function. Here, the right energy is what matters. After all, you wouldn't fill up your car that runs on gasoline with diesel either.
In fact, the brain requires a continuous supply of glucose through the blood, which is found abundantly in, for example, coconut water, natural honey, potatoes, squash, and fruit (brain matter is made up of hardened glucose). Our thoughts are made up of electrical signals. The brain heats up when we are under stress. With the right foods, you can literally cool the brain back down and prevent burnout.
An animal experiment at the Max Planck Institute for Metabolic Diseases showed that a diet that's too high in fat negatively impacts brain activity.
Tip 8: Fill up with oxygen
Take a moment to observe your breath. Is your breathing very shallow? Then your brain may not be getting enough oxygen.
Do sports and get moving, or practice breathing exercises where you consciously take deep breaths. At work, you can set a timer to stretch regularly or air out the office.
Tip 9: Are you constantly available? Change that!
How quickly do you whip out the charging cable when your cellphone battery dies? Immediately? With constant technological advancements, we are always and everywhere reachable. Flexible working hours, remote work, home office, social media or Messenger services don't necessarily make it easier for us - both professionally and privately. How are you going to give yourself time off here? How will you send your boundaries to preserve your personal time?
It's important to consciously sign off, for example, in the evening a few hours before going to bed or by switching on the smartphone later in the morning.
Burnout is a serious illness, against which there is unfortunately no miracle pill, since the causes are not yet clearly understood. It is important that those affected do not judge themselves and know that improvement is possible.
If you are not yet affected by burnout, you should take our tips to heart, reduce stress in everyday life, and thus prevent burnout. At the end of the day, your physical and mental health are essential to daily function. When in doubt, don't hesitate to see a health care professional who is properly equipped with assessing burnout symptoms and treatment.