More and more of us are working long hours and juggling childcare. High achieving professionals are particularly at risk of becoming stressed. Passionate about their careers, they’re so used to pushing themselves hard that they often miss the telltale signs that they’re heading for a burn-out. On the other hand, if your job doesn’t allow you to fulfil your potential, you might find yourself in bore-out. Either way, the signs and symptoms are very similar.
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A burn-out or bore-out is caused by high levels of long term stress. Someone suffering from burnout will be affected both in their professional and personal lives. It doesn’t happen overnight but as our stress levels rise, burn-out can creep up on us almost unnoticed. However, there are plenty of warning signs to look out for. The earlier you spot these issue, the easier it is to make changes in your life to address them.
The warning signs of a burn-out fall into three main areas:
Exhaustion can be both physical and mental. Persistent tiredness and a general lack of energy are amongst the earliest signs of burnout. In the later stages of burnout, you may feel so tired that you dread what each day might bring. This can be exacerbated by insomnia, which becomes more troublesome as the burnout gets worse.
A lack of focus, poor concentration and forgetfulness are also early warning signs. It’s important to nip these problems in the bud as if you ignore them, they will only become more difficult to address. Bach Flower Mix 83 has been formulated to help with professional exhaustion. It helps to boost concentration, overcome negative feelings and restore enthusiasm.
Your immune system may also be depleted, putting you at higher risk of illnesses such as colds and flu.
In a fully-fledged burnout, these symptoms may become severe. People who are severely depressed should seek medical advice as soon as possible.
Symptoms of worry and tension may be mild at first but as burnout progresses, your anxiety levels may become so high that they severely impact your personal life as well as your productivity at work.
This anger may present as snappiness with others at first. Later, it can develop into serious arguments and outbursts of rage at work or home.
The early signs of cynicism and pessimism are often simply a change from a "glass half full" point of view to a "glass-half-empty" outlook. At work, you may experience a feeling of “I’ve seen it all before and it’ll never work”. However, pessimism and negativity can soon extend to all areas of your life and you may feel you can no longer rely on anyone, even your family and friends.
You may find yourself starting to feel a disconnection from your environment and others. Symptoms include not socialising, calling in sick more often and not replying to calls and emails. You may be leaving late or coming in early to avoid your colleagues.
These symptoms overlap with the feelings of pessimism and depression described above. You might feel that nothing matters or that everything always goes wrong for you. Theses feelings sometimes worsen to the point of inertia and immobilisation. it then becomes difficult to make changes and move forward.
Increasing irritability often arises from feelings of low self-esteem and a sense that you’re no longer on top of your game. Mild irritability can affect relationships both at work and at home, while in the worst-case scenario, it could end your career and/or your relationship.
When you’re suffering from burn-out stress, you cannot be as productive as you should be. This can lead to projects not being completed on schedule and an overwhelming backlog of work soon builds up. It’s a vicious circle: even when working longer and longer hours, it seems that you’ll never get through it, however hard you try.
If you notice any of these symptoms appearing, take them seriously. Treat them as an early warning that you need to make some changes in your life to reduce the amount of stress. And if you’re not experiencing any of these signs, don't be complacent. Burnout can creep up unnoticed, especially when you’re driving yourself hard.
The sooner you take action the better. A few small changes may be all that’s needed and will avoid total burnout before it’s too late.
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