Burnout can happen to anyone and in different areas of life. Many believe that burnout is often related to your job or at the professional level. However, burnout can also happen in any relationship. For example, burnout in a marriage occurs when one party continually pursues an emotional bond, while their partner does not respond to their needs. This can result in emotional burnout and the pursuer resigns emotionally, which sometimes can lead to separation/divorce. Burnout can also happen in family life, when one parent has too many responsibilities – raising children, running the household, working, and for some, the additional responsibility to look after their elderly parents. Others may have complex extended family relationships that can be exhausting for the one who tries to hold everybody together, and this can extend to even other types of communities, such as friendships.
HOW BURNOUT HAPPENS
There are a couple of reasons that cause people to arrive at the burnout stage. These include, but are not limited to:
- Lacking boundaries – this is one of the common reasons for burnout. Often people don’t realise how heavy a load they carry until one day they lose their excitement and motivation in doing what they used to love doing. You find you have to drag yourself to go to work or to do the thing that you used to enjoy.
- Being overloaded – because you lack boundaries and tend to say “Yes” to everything, you overload yourself with too many responsibilities, which can lead you to prolonged stress and eventually burnout.
- Being out of balance – when you overload yourself with responsibilities, you start neglecting your self-care. Your life becomes an imbalance between too much “giving” and too little “receiving”.
- Being unrewarded – sometimes people do not appreciate how much you have done for them and slowly your “energy/emotional tank” runs empty and feels drained, e.g. when your boss continually overlooks or doesn’t acknowledge your contributions and the efforts you put into your work.
- Resentment – when you are still expected to continually give while your “energy/emotional tank” is running low, this leads to not just losing interest, but can also slowly lead to resentment.
HOW DO I KNOW THAT I’M EXPERIENCING BURNOUT?
- Health issues – constant headaches, getting sick easily, some unexplained diseases, e.g. dermatosis, autoimmune disease, bowel problems, etc.
- Emotionally – feeling dull, unfulfilled, trapped, helpless, hopeless, anger, resentful, easily sensitive, having a negative outlook, depression, etc.
- Physically – losing your appetite, unable to sleep, finding it hard to wake up, constant tiredness/fatigue, feeling lethargic, lacking initiation, procrastinating, and for some eating more or less and/or being addicted to alcohol and drugs as a coping mechanism.
WHAT TO DO WHEN I’M BURNT-OUT
- Learn to set your boundaries – ask yourself whether you are responsible for yourself or others. Say “No” to the responsibilities that are supposed to belong to others.
- Delegate tasks – If you are a “rescuer” and/or a “perfectionist”, it can be a significant challenge to let go of some tasks to other people, especially if others do not do it according to your standard. However, it is better to accept things that are less than your standard than for you to burnout.
- Self-care – as you delegate some tasks to other people, you will have more time to be able to look after yourself. Self-care can be in the form of having a decent sleep or a short (10-15 min) nap in the early afternoon, keeping a healthy diet, doing some hobbies, learning how to take things easy, relaxing, meditating, meeting some friends, doing something nice for yourself, spiritual searching, etc.
- Reset your view – try to find the joy of what you are doing by looking at the purpose of your life: with your work, in your relationship/marriage, in your family life, in your community. By knowing your purpose in life, you will find the joy back, and it can help you to survive even when you are unrewarded by others.
- Talk to other people who you trust – sharing your feelings and concerns with other people you trust can change your approach, and help you to overcome your burnout.
However, some need professional help because there are sometimes other contributing factors to your burnout, which you cannot resolve on your own.
If you have problems with burnout and it seems like there is no way out, or if you have any comments on this topic, you can use the column below, and we are happy to respond to you.