A Guide to Burnout

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The World Health Organization just recognized “BurnOut” as an official disease, and they defined it as a “syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed”. 
Burnout is a state of mental and physical exhaustion that can steal the joy of your career and even personal life. Left untreated, it can lead to serious physical and psychological illnesses like depression, heart disease, and diabetes.
Today we will help you identify the symptoms, stages, and ways to prevent burnout.

Burnout Signs

According to different psychologist, anyone who is continually under high levels of stress can be a victim of burnout. The following symptoms will help you identify burnout signs in your persona or your friends:

  • Exhaustion: A state of extreme physical or mental fatigue. Exhaustion symptomatology includes headaches, stomach-aches, mood swings, and sudden changes in appetite and sleep patterns.
  • Isolation: Stopping socialization, and all forms of recreative contact with family and friends.
  • Fantasies: In extreme cases, burnout patients can escape their reality with the help of running away fantasies, or dreams of quitting everything to find themselves in faraway places. 
  • Irritability: Burnout causes people to lose their temper under the smallest inconvenience.  Coping with normal activities like getting ready to work, or driving can become unstandable and extremely overwhelming.
  • Illnesses: Since stress suppresses immune system functionality,  burnout patients have a tendency to be more susceptible to colds, insomnia, and recurrent flu. In the long term, burnout can cause people to fall into depression and chronic anxiety.

The 12 Stages of Burnout

Burnout intensity increases as time goes by, and unfortunately, it can be hard to identify at early stages. The following phases will help you recognize the syndrome:

1.- Excessive Ambition: This is common in people embracing a new task/job/position. Pushing yourself way out of the limits can be the first symptom of burnout.

2.- Pushing Yourself to Work Harder: This happens as a result of unmeasured ambition.

3.- Neglecting Your Own Needs:  The third stage of burnout is characterized by abandoning yourself. Patients forget to eat, they sleep poorly and don’t exercise because they make work their topmost priority.

4.- Displacement of Conflict: Instead of recognizing self-efforts, people with burnout blame it on other people but themselves. It’s always their job, boss, work responsibilities, etc.

5.- No Time For Friends: Since patients feel overwhelmed and anxious, social related activities start to look like a burden, so they just avoid them.

6.- Denial: Patients have absolutely no patience for those around them, so they just blame them for their lack of control and rage.

7.- Withdrawal: Since social events are more of a punishment, patients tend to isolate themselves and aggravate the problem.

8.- Behavioral Changes: Patients become more aggressive and hurtful to the people around them.

9.- Depersonalisation: People start to feel less and less like themselves, finally losing all sense of identity.

10.- Emptiness/Anxiety: Feelings of depression, unease, and emptiness are common in the tenth stage of burnout. Patients might run to drugs, alcohol, or food to fill the void.

11.- Depression: Life loses all meaning, and everything starts to look senseless.

12.- Collapse: Physical and mental health collapses and the patient is required to seek help urgently.

Preventing Burnout

Although stressful situations are not avoidable, burnout can be. The following tips will help you deal with stress in a better, healthier way:

  • Work Out: Exercise boosts your mood and improves your mental and physical health. If you lack time to spend 3 hours at the gym, no worries, even a little 20-minute walk can be a game changer for your health.
  • Eat Healthily: Omega 3 and healthy fats can be a great way to lift your mood and improve your brain functioning and health
  • Get in some ZzzzzZ: Adequate sleep is key to your proper brain health. According to the National Sleep Foundation, avoiding caffeine before bedtime, establishing a relaxing bedtime ritual, and banning smartphones from the bedroom can help promote better sleep.
  • Have Fun: Spending time with people that love you, doing something that you love is key to your emotional health. So make it a rule to have a special free day a week to do something you enjoy and spend time with people who make you feel loved and understood. We guarantee you that this time will be the best investment ever, and both your body and emotions will thank you.

Although being responsible and having ambition is a healthy/necessary part of life. Having the right measure for it is key to ensure our wellbeing and emotional health. Remember, work is an important part of life, but is not supposed to be your whole life. 
At Rehealth, we believe that having informed patients is the only way to deliver optimal healthcare. Visit our website to find out more interesting content and be a part of an amazing health integrated community!

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