Occupational or job burnout is characterised by 1: Exhaustion, 2: Cynicism and Detachment, 3: Ineffectiveness and Lack of Accomplishment.
Physical and Emotional exhaustion:
Chronic Tiredness and / or Insomnia.
You are constantly or chronically tired no matter how much sleep you get. You may also suffer from insomnia, causing you to wake very early in the morning, or find it increasingly difficult to get to sleep at night, or both in many cases. (7 to 8 hours a night is recommended for most people).
Niggling / Recurring / Illnesses.
We all get the occasional headache or stomach upset or muscular pain just from our normal day to day and work related activities. However, the cold or sniffles or headaches that won’t completely go away, the regularly upset or churning stomach, shortness of breath, unexplained increases in pulse rate, muscle and back pain, can be regarded as symptoms of Burnout thy may also may be the result of medical conditions and as such require investigation by your doctor.
Poor Concentration / Short Attention Span / Forgetfulness.
These are all signs that you are not managing well, as your mind struggles with keeping up with regular tasks. This can lead to more frustration and anger, and delays in getting the job done and generally beating up on yourself.
Displaced Eating and Appetite.
You eat your meals in front of a computer, television or while on the go (in the car, standing up, etc.). However, burnout victims often talk about simply not having the time or inclination to prepare, sit down, and properly eat your food. It can start with skipping the odd meal and develop into eating too much, too fast or not enough and skipping meals.
Lack of Energy and Exhaustion.
You are exhausted at the end of the day and have little desire to do anything with your time off, (unless it is to think about or worry about work).
Time is the Enemy.
“There is never enough time.” Work is never finished. However, the reason that you don’t have time is because, you take too much upon yourself, because your energy levels are dropping and your concentration is failing and you are slower and making more mistakes.
“I don’t need breaks” Other people do, but not you. You need that time to keep up or stay ahead or compete, or whatever your particular unrealistic drive or stressor may be.
Exercise - Who needs it?
You do. You don’t have the time to exercise because of work and you don’t have the energy to do it after work.
When you engage in constant negative self-talk and self- criticism, and worrying about having to, or needing to ‘do’ more and more, without any positive self-talk to counterbalance it, you are heading for trouble.
An increase in addictive or numbing behaviour. Wanting or needing to increase your caffeine intake or have that extra comfort food or sugar hit to give you a ‘boost’ because you are feeling low. Increased levels of alcohol or other drugs to help you ‘cope,’ when In reality it is to make you feel less or to prevent you acknowledging how you truly feel.
Cynicism and detachment
Burnout can lead to high levels of cynicism and detachment. It can also lead to increased pessimism, loss of enjoyment in previously pleasurable activities. In can also result in being continually defensive or snappy, resentful or just plain cranky?
Detachment is a general sense of feeling disconnected from others or from your environment. It may result in removing yourself emotionally and physically from your job and other responsibilities.
In the early stages of burnout this may be characterised by feeling a bit ‘low’ or ‘just a bit sad’. As burnout develops this can develop into feelings of low self - worth and even worthlessness, and for some people can lead to thoughts of suicide. This level of despair cannot be handled alone and requires the at this level requires the support of appropriate health professionals.
Anger is a normal human emotion that is justified, necessary and indeed healthy at times. Do you find yourself becoming increasingly angry at any number of things? The boss, colleagues, clients, the system, the job. Are you becoming more angry more quickly at home and at work?
Lack of engagement.
You just can’t be bothered, or are disinterested in the usual work role or activities.
Phase 3: Ineffectiveness and lack of accomplishment:
A reduction in the sense of accomplishment or effectiveness is a core component of burnout. Apathy and a sense of hopelessness about work, their clients or their own situation are common at this stage. There will often be a perceived or actual decline in competence or productivity, and expending energy at work without seeing any results. It presents as a general sense that nothing is going right or nothing matters. At this stage sufferers will often just say,” What’s the point?” For many at this stage the only solution it to leave the job and in some cases the profession.
This information is an extract from the RespectED Online Course "Burnout Prevention." www.respected.training