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How to spot the signs of burnout

How to spot the signs of burnout

Have you ever felt so tired that you’re starting to feel detached from the world? Have you been working so hard that you’re beginning to start feeling unwell? You may be on the road to a burnout.

Burnout is listed in the World Health Organisation’s 'International Classification of Diseases' as a chronic condition. This is a mental and physical syndrome closely linked to prolonged workplace stress and it’s become an ‘occupational phenomenon’.

In 2015, a survey found that over half of people in the UK had experienced anxiety or burnout in their current job. A Gallup study in 2018 of 7,500 full-time US employees found that around two-thirds of them experienced burnout at work.

What exactly is burnout?

Burnout is a gradual process, it stems from an emotional state of physical and mental exhaustion caused by prolonged stress.

It’s important to note that general stress is triggered by daily life and this is normal from time to time, but burnout is specifically due to untreated and continuous stress caused by work.

What are the tell-tale signs of burnout?

Burnout is characterized into three areas:

1. Physical (exhaustion)

  • Feeling drained all the time
  • Loss of appetite
  • Insomnia
  • Frequent illnesses eg. Headaches, muscle pain and sickness

2. Emotional (cynicism)

  • Negative outlook
  • Secluding yourself from others
  • Loss of enjoyment
  • Loss of motivation

3. Behavioural (reduced efficacy)

  • Loss of productivity at work
  • Feeling snappy
  • Struggling to concentrate
  • Forgetfulness

Can burnout lead to other health issues?

Yes, if left untreated, a burnout can lead to severe depression and can also increase your risk of Atrial Fibrillation which is a type of heart rhythm disorder, or arrhythmia. It causes your heart to beat very quickly, and your heart’s upper and lower chambers not to work together properly.

Tips for preventing burnout

The bad news is, burnout is possible, good news is that it’s preventable! Stress is inevitable but burnout is a more serious matter and you should take action as soon as you spot the signs before it affects your health.

Take care of your wellbeing

Look after yourself physically and you’ll feel better mentally. Eat a balanced diet and make sure you’re getting plenty of exercise and sleep.

Learn to say no!

Saying “no” is okay, especially if you know you won’t be able to complete the request in time. Don’t overload yourself with unrealistic tasks. Try the old 'one in, one out' approach, only take on another task once you’ve completed the current one.

Speak to your manager

Honesty is the best policy - if you feel your work is getting on top of you, talk to your manager and ask what support they can offer you. If you don’t speak up, they won’t know you’re struggling.

Unwind

Set time in your day for yourself to relax and unwind, whether you enjoy spending time with friends or having a good old soak in the bath, give yourself something to look forward to.

Private Health Insurance

Looking after your mental health is important and when you take a Private Health Insurance policy out with us, we’ll give you access to our complimentary Health and Wellbeing Services which provides you with weekly support programmes, information on a range of medical topics and you will also have access to confidential telephone counselling.

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