We live in some stressful times. We are working, and often expected to work, more hours than ever before, and we are burning the candle at ends we didn’t know we had. So, it is more important than ever that we recognize when we are approaching creative and mental burnout.
Get ahead of the problem. Do what you can to fix it rather than try to put a Band-Aid on a problem after the fact.
Burnout not only is hard on us mentally, it takes a physical, monetary, time and motivational toll, as well, according to Tanner Christensen in How to Spot Burnout (and Recover).
It comes in many shapes and forms, but according to The 12 Stages of Burnout, there are a few common red flags to watch for:
- The compulsion to prove oneself obsessively
- Working harder without the ability to switch off
- Neglecting your own needs (sleeping, eating, bathing, etc.)
- Revision of values (putting work before everything)
- Denial of emerging problems
- Withdrawal and possible addictions
- Odd behavioral changes
- Inner emptiness and/or depression
- Burnout syndrome: can include total mental and physical collapse; time for full medical attention.
Luckily, with a little vigilance, we can address burnout at the source with techniques that will ultimately benefits ourselves and our employers or clients. Let’s take a look at a few of Christensen’s suggestions.
Be pro-active: You will feel better if you make tackle challenges head-on rather than feeling like you are forced to deal with the results of problems.
“Burnout is often the result of issues in the workplace or problems with clients. In which case, be pro-active and make the necessary changes to improve the situation.”
Get ahead of the problem. Do what you can to fix it rather than try to put a Band-Aid on a problem after the fact. The saying, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” didn’t come about for nothing.
Find support: Isolation is not good for anyone, but oddly it’s often the first thing we do when we are stressed. Find family or friends to turn to and be honest about your feelings. If needed, find professional support. There is no shame in taking the correct measures to ensure you are in the right headspace.
Reassess: “Rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.” ― JK Rowling.
While burnout is not necessarily rock bottom (though left unaddressed, it can get there), it certainly can give you a chance to reassess where you headed with your career and possibly your life. “It can help you to reevaluate your goals, priorities, hopes and dreams. It can make you discover what does and doesn’t make you happy and help you take positive steps towards a better existence,” says Christensen.
For more information about preventing and handling burnout, check out Preventing Burnout.