Burnout was previously deemed to be the misfortune of stressed-out corporate executives, worn-out movie stars and ageing celebrities. However, in recent times, and especially given the events of the last two years; with a global pandemic ravaging the world and life-altering circumstances occurring on an almost daily basis, burnout is becoming an increasingly more widespread condition.
Frontline workers facing double shifts as co-workers and colleagues are struck down, either by the virus, or the mental health burden of facing it head-on daily. Parents struggling to home school children, whilst working a full-time job. Financial and emotional insecurity impacting on a multitude of different people, from all walks of life, as their lives are turned upside down.
Burnout is a condition that leaves sufferers feeling bodily and emotionally exhausted. It is usually caused by long periods of intense pressure, vast responsibility, or excessive stress. Any of which can leave individuals depleted and overwhelmed physically and mentally.
In many instances, the condition is related to one’s job and is sometimes referred to as executive or occupational burnout as it is the result of chronic work-related stress. However, it can happen to anyone, in any position, or in any situation when they feel they are being drained by constant or incessant demands on their time or energy.
The stress and exhaustion lead to feelings of helplessness, cynicism, disillusionment, and resentfulness. It can also manifest in physical symptoms such as headaches, stomach problems and an increased vulnerability to cold and flu-like viruses. The individual will feel like running away, unable to face situations, and day to day issues can feel overwhelming.
The repeated nights of not being able to sleep, despite being overly exhausted; the head-spinning, full of racing thoughts that just won’t turn off; and the bad day, week, or even month at work that you just want to forget about. Individuals struggling with the symptoms of burnout often look for a way to ease their emotional and physical pain and discomfort.
It is easy to understand why turning to a glass (or several) of wine is a solution to take the edge off a stressful workday, or why some online shopping or gambling is a way to forget what needs to do tomorrow, and why picking up a prescription for some sleeping tablets may be the answer to the sleepless nights.
However, the next day the problems are still there, the financial implications of overspending hit home hard, and you still haven’t had a decent night’s sleep, so the exhaustion just won’t go away – plus you have a hangover to boot. Some will rely on caffeine to get them through, whilst others turn to stronger chemicals such as cocaine and amphetamines.
Unfortunately, what seems like a good choice to start with can rapidly turn into a habit that only creates more issues, doesn’t really solve the underlying causes and can in some people lead to a serious problem with dependency and addiction.
Drugs, alcohol, and addictive or compulsive behaviours only exacerbate mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression, and stress worsens the physical health of a person – so long-term it’s a disaster waiting to happen.
Here are some signs of what to look out for if you think you, or someone you love, maybe struggling, and suffering from burnout –
Are you experiencing any signs of burnout? Is life feeling overwhelming? Are you finding yourself self-medicating with pills or booze?
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