Why switching off at 5pm is so important to prevent burnouts
Until recently, I never even realized how indispensable it was to have a healthy balance between your personal and professional life. Being able to disconnect at the end of the day when closing your laptop lid is essential for our mental health, and dare I say our happiness? I really never believed I’d fall victim to this form of exhaustion because I’d managed to convince myself that I was so detached to what went on in the office. I was never once to send emails at 10pm or answer my toxic bosses’ late night calls either, but in hindsight, this imposed distance wasn’t enough to save me from all of these health issues.
When the working world changed in 2020, I changed with it and found myself drowning in hundreds of emails, files, and dossiers that I just couldn’t cope with.
Every day felt like an endless battle and saw me working up to 12 hours at certain points and even on the weekends. In fact, my job became my life, yet it left me feeling so empty and drained. The social isolation didn’t exactly help either, especially when it was combined with the extensive pressure from my boss to meet client demands in an even shorter delay. I’ve dealt with stress before, but I can honestly say that I’ve never had to face anything as daunting and invasive as job stress.
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What are the 5 main symptoms of a burnout?
Discover the red flags you need to pay attention to, because recognizing them could save you from plunging into this state of exhaustion.
1) Struggling to concentrate on your tasks
In my case, I was working so many hours that I literally felt like a zombie. I’d sit in front of my screen for hours on end with little to no inspiration, panicking about not being able to get the work done on time. My stinging eyes and regular scrolling on social media were definitely signs that something was out of sync and that I wasn’t doing well.
2) Not feeling proud of your achievements
I’ve never been someone who felt the need to boast about my achievements, but since experiencing burnout, I’ve found it impossible to pat myself on the back and say well done for that. Congratulating myself was unthinkable when I was in the midst of this dark period, no matter what I’d managed to pull off against all the odds.
3) Having no goals or losing sight of them
It’s evidently tough to project yourself and plan things during the Covid-19 pandemic because no one knows what’s around the corner. Although, if you are struggling to fix even short term goals and objectives, this is certainly a sign that things aren’t going well for you. The same rule applies if you’ve totally abandoned your goals and are no longer able to look towards the future.
4) Experiencing muscle tension and intense fatigue
If you find yourself sitting at your desk wound up like a spring, then alarm bells should start ringing in your head. In my case, I was suffering from back pain and muscle spasms despite taking all the precautions necessary to avoid them. Stress is very invasive and negatively affects both our mental and physical health…
5) Neglecting long-standing relationships
Not making an effort with your family and friends is common for people struggling with this ordeal. Imposed social isolation, and the lack of motivation to break the cycle, often get the better of many of us. However, when other people make an active effort to ask about how we are doing, it can irritate us and make us believe that they are just interfering.
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What to do if you’re going through a work burnout - Is there a treatment for it?
Burnout can be treated, and recovery consists of helping people find a way to work satisfactorily without reaching the point of exhaustion.
Initially, a pause from work will be necessary, and here you’ll be encouraged to rest and recharge your batteries. The length of this leave can vary and will be determined by your doctor. You need to be able to step back and regain control of your life. To initiate these changes and understand the reasons that led to this burnout, consulting a psychologist or psychotherapist is also a precious help. Taking up a sport could also be a very encouraging step too and will help you unwind and let loose.
Am I burned out or depressed?
Some symptoms are common to both burnout and depression, so how can you tell the difference? Depression is more general, it can manifest itself in various areas of your life, whereas burn out is almost exclusively related to a professional situation. Of course, it can have an influence on other areas of life, but they are not the root of this illness.
Editor’s opinion - This is a long term problem with no short term fix
Stress and burnout are present more than ever in our professional lives, yet none of us really seem equipped to deal with the pressure of it all. Anyone can fall victim here, which is why it’s important to take measures to install a healthy balance between your home life and the office. Switching off and having outlets will be crucial in preserving your mental health and are likely to prevent going through this tough ordeal. I know it can be hard to believe, but there is more to life than your job, and you shouldn’t lose your spark for the sake of making your manager happy.
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