Burnout: 4 signs and 11 things you can do about it

What is Burnout? | Signs of Burn out | Burnout Risks on the Job | Treatment & Prevention of Burnout | Conclusion

If you feel exhausted and sluggish and even simple tasks overwhelm you - or if you're so stressed that you quickly become angry or frustrated - you may be suffering from burnout.

While burnout is often associated with a stressful job, it can affect many areas of your life and even cause health problems. Fortunately, there are ways to overcome burnout or counteract the onset of burnout.

If you convert the AOK Absenteeism Report from 2021 to the total German population, about 180,000 employees took sick leave for burnout in 2020. What exactly is this burnout that caused over 4.5 million days of absence in Germany? [1]

What is burnout?

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Burnout is an English term coined by the American psychoanalyst Herbert Freudenberger in 1974. It translates as "burned out" and initially referred to the state of stress in the workplace in nursing professions. [2]

Even though burnout is used to refer to the entire world of work, there is no generally accepted and scientifically studied diagnosis. Burnout syndrome is classified in the international classification for diagnoses, ICD 10, as a problem related to difficulties in coping with life. [3]

You may not realize you're burned out until it's too late and you've crossed the line between "really tired" and "too exhausted to function." But it could also be that you are a personality that likes to be busy and doesn't notice when you've taken on too much.

Burnout also occurs when the balance between work and personal life is out of whack. This has been a common occurrence in recent years, as home offices and constant accessibility via smartphone have allowed jobs to permeate our daily lives.

Signs of burnout

Although burnout is not a diagnosable mental disorder, there are some signs that point to burnout. One thing is clear: Burnout needs to be taken seriously.

4 Common indications are:

Alienation from one's own work: if one suffers from burnout, then one feels that one's work is increasingly stressful and frustrating. A side effect is a growing cynicism towards the employer but also towards colleagues. One also distances oneself emotionally from the job and begins to view work as uncaring.

Physical symptoms: Chronic stress can lead to physical symptoms such as headaches, stomach aches or intestinal problems.

Emotional exhaustion: burnout causes people to feel drained, overwhelmed and tired. They often lack the energy to get their work done. Difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep despite immense fatigue are common.

Lower performance: burnout mainly affects everyday tasks at work - or at home if working remotely. People with burnout feel negative about tasks. They have trouble focusing and often lack creativity.

Burn Out Risk Factors on the Job

Of course, not every stressful job always leads to burnout. If the stress is managed well, it usually does not have negative effects.

But for some people (and in certain jobs) the risk is higher than for others.

Because of their heavy workloads, people with certain personality traits and lifestyles are at higher risk of burnout.

Inappropriate time pressure: Employees who say they have enough time to do their jobs are much less likely to experience high burnout. Individuals who are unable to make more time, such as EMTs and firefighters, are at higher risk for burnout.

Lack of communication and support from a supervisor: Supervisor support provides a psychological buffer against stress. Employees who feel strongly supported by their supervisor are u less likely to experience regular burnout.

Lack of role clarity: Only 60 percent of employees know what is expected of them. When expectations feel like moving targets, employees can become exhausted just trying to figure out what to do.

Unmanageable workload: when the workload is unmanageable, even the most optimistic employees feel hopeless. Feeling overwhelmed can quickly lead to burnout.

Unfair treatment: Employees who feel unfairly treated at work are much more likely to reach high levels of burnout. Unfair treatment includes such things as favoritism toward other colleagues or unfair pay.

Treatment & Prevention of Burnout

Suffering from burnout is not a hopeless situation. While there is no quick fix for burnout, there are many ways to lower stress levels and return to a healthier state.

Here are 11 different tips on how to recover from burnout that you can easily incorporate into your daily life.

1. keep track of stress levels
Stress trackers (smartwatches) are a very good way to monitor your stress levels. They also help you learn more about your personal stress patterns and behaviors. Some smartwatches display a stress level value between 0 and 100. Where 0 to 25 means resting, 26 to 50 means a low stress level, 51 to 75 means a medium stress level, and a value of 76 and above means you're really under the gun.

2. identify stress triggers
If you know what your stress triggers are, you can reduce or even avoid interactions with them. Try to pay attention to situations and people that repeatedly trigger stress. Then try to avoid them as much as possible.

Burnout Job

3. Start diary
Diary writing has been shown to be an excellent emotional decompressor. Certainly, it takes some perseverance to make writing a habit. But writing down and coming to terms with the day can be a good outlet to recover from mental exhaustion.

4. Get professional help
There's no shame in getting help from a trained psychologist or coach. In fact, it's advisable. Therapy greatly reduces stress levels and can facilitate healing in terms of mental fitness and emotional well-being.

5. Get enough exercise
Try to introduce a regular exercise program. When you exercise, the tension in your body is released and feel-good hormones like endorphins are released. You don't even have to leave the house for yoga workouts to do this.

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6. create work-life balance
One of the many causes of burnout is an unbalanced relationship with work. A work-life balance will help you live a more stress-free life.

Be sure to take vacation days and give yourself clear time off. A good work-life balance not only prevents burnout, but also improves your relationships with your family and friends, which in turn is a tremendously important aspect of your health and well-being.

7. do things that are fun
Sounds trite, but it is also incredibly important. By dedicating yourself to things that make you happy, you can lower your stress levels and reconnect with yourself on an emotional level.

8. Ensure healthy sleep patterns
If you don't get enough sleep due to stress, it will jeopardize your physical strength, mental concentration and emotional stamina. Seven to nine hours of sleep per night would be ideal. To fall asleep faster

9. Eat healthy.
Eating fresh, healthy meals can boost your immune system and make you less susceptible to stress and fatigue. Be sure to eat a nutrient-rich diet to have more energy. Certain foods and drinks have stress-relieving properties that you could take advantage of, so be sure to include them in your diet. 5 Foods to Combat Stress


10. Boost Serotonin Levels
Even though much has not been completely clarified, it is now clear that during burnout, the brain's metabolism is disturbed: the nerve messengers serotonin and/or norepinephrine and / or dopamine are out of balance. [4] With Serotonin Original, there is an efficient and effective serotonin booster that brings serotonin levels back into balance.

Here you can read how Peer, with the help of Serotalin Original, overcame his burnout

11. Setting Boundaries
Many people find it difficult to say no when they are asked to take on extra work. Learning to set boundaries at work and in relationships can help reduce the risk of burnout.

Conclusion: Don't give burnout a chance

Burnout prevention is the name of the game. This certainly includes courage and a fair amount of self-reflection. It is not only important to "perform" on the job, but it is crucial to become aware of what you need, what your needs are in your private and professional life, and where your limits lie. Ideally, one is not the driven but the driver in his life design. In the long run, burnout prevention not only serves to prevent burnout, but enables something much greater: a stress-free, self-determined, happier and healthier life.

Sources

[1] https://www.wido.de/publikationen-produkte/buchreihen/fehlzeiten-report/2021/
[2] https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burn-out#Allgemeines
[3] https://www.dimdi.de/static/de/klassifikationen/icd/icd-10-gm/kode-suche/htmlgm2017/block-z70-z76.htm

[4] https://www.psych.mpg.de/2319598/Burnout_BroschureA5_171024LOW.pdf