It can happen in a huge range of situations burnout, not just work. Think about eating your favourite food or listening to your favourite song over and over again – you lose that emotional connection with it, don’t you?
Well the same thing can happen at work too.
Burnout is three dimensional in nature and is characterised in the following ways:
i) emotional exhaustion
iii) reduced sense of accomplishment
(Maslach and Jackson, 1981)
Put another way, feeling burnt out can leave us feeling used up, worn out, without and passion or spark, interest or emotional presence in what we do.
Here’s some great tips from about what you can do if you’re feeling burnt out (those in bold italics are my favourites):
* Recognise the problem
* Balance your lifestyle
* Build positive social supports, and control negativity in your environment
* Gain control where you can
* Work smarter, not longer
* Quit doing something
* Control thoughts that you are indispensable
* See a counsellor
* Identify work environments that promote burnout
* Employ personal strategies to avoid or cope with burnout
* Employ interpersonal strategies
* Employ organisational strategies
* Develop relationships with professional associates outside your office
* Get involved in professional organisations
* Consider your career development from time to time
* Develop a relationship with a mentor
* Challenge yourself to take new career risks
* Share your hands-on experience with colleagues
* Consider ways to make your job more satisfying
* Actually use the (healthy, productive) stress management techniques you know
* Vary your day or week to include different activities with different responsibilities
* Vary responsibilities periodically to get a fresh perspective
* Include new techniques into your repertoire
* Improve and expand skills through professional development
* Develop a formal or informal support group among your colleagues
* Be an agent of change within your institution
* Yell at an understanding supervisor
* When all else fails, change careers.
(Traux, B.M., Kanchier, C., Shahnasarian, M., Stoltz-Loike, M., Bloch, M., & Goodman, J. (1992) Beat Burnout! American Counsellor, 1 (2), 10-12, 27).
Not mentioned on this list but my go-to strategy when I’m feeling things are getting on top of me is a physical break from a situation, like getting away for a night or a weekend.
Have a go at employing these strategies when you recognise you are feeling burnt out and you’ll soon feel energised and enthused again.