When There's Nothing Left but Exhaustion...It's Time to Give Burnout the Boot
Humans have limits to how we cope with pressures and demands that exceed our ability to control them. Hit that threshold at work, and you've got job strain, or stress. When the stress is chronic, day in and day out for months on end, it can lead to the depletion of all coping resources, That's burnout. You have nothing left to handle the demands.
Burnout is not a badge of honor or mark of endurance skills. It’s the last stage of chronic stress, and it’s a serious medical condition. It can lead to stroke, depression, and other major medical problems, so it's critical to stop burnout and prevent it from happening again. Our stress management and burnout recovery training and coaching from stress management leader Joe Robinson provides the skills to stop the burnout treadmill.
What Is Burnout?
Burnout is a three-way, mind-body shutdown—emotional exhaustion, physical fatigue, and cognitive weariness. It's the result of a long period of chronic stress that burns up all your body's energetic resources. You have been drained.
The main markers of burnout are exhaustion and cynicism, the opposite of the chief domains of engagement—energy, commitment and positive outlook. The high fatigue level of burnout means abysmal work performance. It takes much more effort to get the work done when in a state of exhaustion.
Costs for burned-out employees, from absenteeism to medical bills, are five times more expensive than that of the standard office health malady.
Signs of Burnout
Job stress can lead to burnout when we suffer a loss of physical and emotional resources too great to replace. Stress tricks us into believing we are handling things when we are actually getting more unhealthy. The adrenaline released by the stress response masks the fact the body is going down until one day the battery is dead.
Burnout triggers include overwhelming workload, emotionally challenging work, lack of control, and insufficient support. Burnout strikes the hardest workers, not slackers.
Then energy and drive vanish. You aren't yourself anymore. Here are some of the key signs of burnout:
- Emotional exhaustion, physical fatigue, mental weariness
- Dire thoughts and awfulizing
- Emotional numbness and cynicism
- A sense of depersonalization
- Lack of accomplishment and mastery
- Depression in advanced stages of the cycle
- Absence of positive emotions
Dire thoughts set off by the stress response and growing fatigue lead to one of the main features of burnout—the absence of positive emotions. It makes it hard to see a way out, but it's there when we resolve burnout triggers, adjust schedules and minds, and deploy recovery strategies.
Getting rid of burnout is a two-part process to return to full-strength. First, deactivate stressors and make adjustments to habits that are driving burnout—from excessive overwork without breaks for recovery, to no boundaries, perfectionism, and unviable schedules.
The second piece is building back up the emotional, physical, and mental resources that got crashed, things like a sense of social support and mastery.
Researchers have found that counseling sessions and courses like the ones we offer can have a dramatic effect in cutting chronic stress, the root of burnout, reducing the number of subjects on sick leave in one study from 35% to 6%.
How You Can Stop Burnout
What can you do about burnout? Take action to shut it down. Thinking about it aggravates the false beliefs driving stress and the feeling of being trapped. You can deprive burnout of the oxygen that sustains it—chronic stress—by changing the thinking and conditions that fuel stress.
Since burnout shuts down coping resources, including personal energy and belief you can do anything about it, it helps to have an outside expert on your team. Studies show that a coaching or counseling program is one of the best ways to exit the burnout cycle.
Joe Robinson helps you change work stressors and adjust burnout drivers, such as overperformance, no recovery time, lack of reward and support, and unviable schedules.
His stress management training and coaching programs help individuals and teams regather crashed emotional resources, and regain vitality, drive, and confidence again.
Try a Free Burnout Consultation
Take control of your health and future with a free consultation with stress management leader Joe Robinson. All you have to do is click the button below to get started. Get your energy, spirit, and life back again.