BURNOUT: Signs and management


The stresses of the modern world and the demands of the workplace today are taking their toll on our lives. A very commonly used term these days without a proper understanding of what it means, the word BURNOUT is used to define a state of mental, physical and emotional exhaustion which may have an impact on us at some point of our lives, due to the extraordinary pressures and tension levels we are facing.

In most cases it has an impact on high achievers who are always ready to go the extra mile, see themselves as able to do everything and anything and are constantly taking more onto themselves. Since high achievers normally work much longer hours, and keep putting pressure on themselves to achieve results they are typical cases for burnout. But in order to prevent it reaching a stage of having an impact on our health, being aware of the signs and dealing with them on a timely basis is very important.

First, it is important to recognize the signs of burnout and identifying whether you have them :

STATE OF EXHAUSTION – This could be in the form of physical or mental exhaustion and also be identified as chronic fatigue, sleeplessness, lack of focus and concentration at work or a state of anxiety which may overcome you. On the other hand it could also result in physical symptoms like palpitations, headaches, panic attacks, etc. Your immune system could be weakened resulting in a greater tendency to catch colds, coughs and other immune related illnesses.

PESSIMISTIC ATTITUDE – An individual does not feel motivated and also does not feel a sense of accomplishment in doing anything, which leads to a feeling of purposelessness in life. With that a feeling of pride in ones work, the urge to accept challenges and even the ambition to grow are all affected and one begins to feel that you cannot achieve anything.

LACK OF SUPPORT – Going the extra mile again and again, can over a period of time lead to a physical and emotional toll on one’s body. A person can do so for a while and may be boosted up by any rewards which may come, but if that does not happen then it results in a sense of exhaustion and bitterness. This may ultimately result in a sense of detachment and isolation from colleagues and also family.

However, burnout doesn’t happen suddenly. It has a tendency to creep upon one slowly so at times we are not even aware of what is happening to us. When we are in the throes of  a full-fledged burnout situation, we are not able to function effectively.


The moment you are aware of what is happening it’s very important to take appropriate steps to deal with it. The most simple method to do so is try to achieve a WORK-LIFE BALANCE . How ?

  • Maintain Health : Our jobs are usually sedentary in nature, so if we develop a routine of including some physical activity in our days it will be worth the while. First, any exercise or physical activity helps to relieve the stress of the day, relaxes one and promotes a good night’s rest. Secondly it also helps our mind to function more efficiently and effectively.
  • Stimulate your Mind : No doubt working the whole day already does a lot to kindle your mind. However it will refresh your mind if you spend some time to sharpen your mind and keep abreast with what’s happening in your fields of interest. Or even just being up to date on current affairs and everyday matters which one can easily do while commuting, or other household activities will help to divert ones mind.
  • Take a break : Try to take a break on a regular basis be it a long weekend or a short holiday . You will return fresh and energized to begin facing the daily challenges of work again. Another way you can reinvigorate yourself on a long day is to take a short break during work or have a lunch out with a colleague or friend.
  • Leave work in the office : Work is a constant and since the era of the Blackberry and Smartphone began work is constantly at ones fingertips. We tend to carry our office with us at all times. So its up to us to manage this smartly. You can make a rule to check your mails every 3 or 4 hours after work or on a day off. Another way could be to turn it off after 9pm or at other times on a holiday. This will give you a respite and let you focus uninterruptedly on other activities.
  • Social activities : Make a practice of recharging your batteries by planning regular activities and interactions with family, friends and relatives. You can also broaden your horizon by doing volunteer work, joining club activities which interest you, helping you to meet and network with other people which will divert your mind from your work. Involving yourself in different activities will be worth the time you invest and will refresh you and keep you going on your career path!

Just by taking the above steps to reach out and make small changes in your life can make a big difference. Experiencing burnout can seem like the end of your career, but it is not. With changes to how you work, think, and take care of yourself, you can make it back on track and have a complete recovery. Always remember that the key is to maintain a work life balance and reach the heights in your career, you dream of.


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