Stress is a normal part of life. However, when it becomes a long-term challenge with no relief in sight, it can be an indication of burnout and can also have a negative impact on your health. Stress without relief is called chronic stress or burnout.
It robes the body of energy, speeds up the aging process and makes you more vulnerable for illnesses. Burnout is a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. It occurs when you feel overwhelmed, emotionally drained, and unable to meet constant demands.
People suffering from burnout feel burnt out, empty and powerless. As performance decreases, emotional exhaustion and fear of failure increase. Other symptoms include lack of motivation, irritability, fatigue, insomnia, memory issues, feeling hopeless, nervousness, headaches, trouble concentrating, change in appetite, cynicism, depression, increased illness, isolation, lack of enjoyment, apathy, impatience, negative attitude, excessive sarcasm and loss of satisfaction.
Anyone with high work demands and limited resources can burn out. Burnout was first discovered in human services employees. However, today we know it affects social workers, educators, law enforcement officers, and military personnel.
It shows up in fields like sales, IT, and management. Bankers, tech workers, lawyers, consultants, and hedge fund managers. It’s even been identified in marriage.
Tips to prevent burnout
- Get support. Stress and anxiety gobble up energy.
Talk to a friend or family member, even if it is over the phone. Alternatively, get professional help to relieve your stress. Relaxation exercises like meditation is also effective for managing stress.
- Learn to say no. One of the biggest causes of burnout is workload – whether it is professional or family responsibilities.
Start prioritizing tasks in terms of importance. Ask for help if and when you need it.
- Move. Exercise does not only help you sleep better; it also produces more energy in your body to circulate oxygen.
- Monitor your sleep. Avoid taking daytime naps.
Make sure you get quality sleep.
- Eat for energy. It is better to enjoy smaller meals and snacks every few hours than to have three big meals per day.
- Caffeine will increase alertness. Avoid after 14:00 to avoid sleeplessness.
- Water, water, water!
Tiredness is one of the first signs of dehydration.