Burnout is the result of work pressure and not being able to find ways to unwind from work. When the pressure of work is perceived at copious levels and the inability to detach from work sets in, employees experience burnout. In the fast advancing economies, burnout rates are higher among people irrespective of their professional line. Five core signs of burnout include

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1). Feeling overwhelmed

When the work assigned to employees is perceived to be in higher amounts than what they can handle, they are more likely to experience fear of failure that they cannot meet deadlines which makes them work more than the required amount. This results in experiencing stress. When the stress is not managed, worry and fear set in, and this whole cycle creates a feeling of being overwhelmed.

2). Loss of motivation

Irrespective of the source of motivation be it monetary or tangible rewards or pure drive for pleasure or happiness when people lose motivation to work, work seems like a drag. Completing the simplest of tasks can seem daunting and difficult. They physically experience exhaustion and when it persists, feel disconnected and discouraged from work.

3). Isolation

People tend to distance themselves from their colleagues, bosses and subordinates at their workplace, At home, they find it difficult to relate with their family, and feel secluded in their social circles. They prefer spending unusual amounts of time by themselves and engage in either watching shows or scrolling through their phones meaninglessly.

4). Physically weak

People who experience prolonged episodes of burnout tend to fall ill easily and physically they find it difficult to depend on their energy levels for a longer time. They require more breaks to gain energy to resume their work.

Overcoming burnout

A recent survey conducted by Deloitte found that over 70% of their employees reported feeling burned out of which over 48% have reported that they are not receiving emotional support from workplace or home. Global-scale research conducted by Microsoft in 2020 reported that India is the second-largest country with over 29% of the participants experiencing burnout. Burnout has a significant impact on people which goes beyond workplace performance. People experience emotional, physical and social turmoil that has the potential to create a pervasive impact on their relationships.

To overcome burnout, it is important to recognize that people are experiencing stress and emotions which are beyond their control and capacity to handle. Instead of undergoing the whole process and experiencing stress, the following measures can be taken:

  • 1) Recognize the signs of burnout early and acknowledge that stress is causing them to lose their motivation and focus on work and personal tasks. Keeping a track of their personal habits and energy levels can also help them understand if they are unwell or fine.

  • 2) Taking a step back from work and setting a routine for hobbies and personal skill development helps people to set boundaries between work and personal life. People who effectively communicate and exercise their boundaries are more likely to prevent experiencing burnout.

  • 3) Eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly creates a positive impact on physical and mentally healthy. Adequate energy in the body helps us with completing work more efficiently. People tend to experience less pressure and feel more active throughout the day.

  • 4) Distancing from work by taking adequate breaks and keeping work off mind during the break is quintessential to decluttering the mind and creating mental distance between work and personal space. Artwork, watching shows or movies, cooking, gardening or simply playing with pets or talking to friends are some ways to distance ourselves from work and give ourselves a break.

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  • 5) Find a meaningful cause which speaks to your heart and volunteer with them. Volunteering brings out our compassion and builds a positive attitude towards life. Over a period of time, it contributes to developing and building resilience.

Burnout is a personal experience and it varies from person to person across time and culture. However, prolonged effects of burnout take a toll on our mental and physical health. Building resilience and social relationships can additionally empower us to prevent burnout to an extent. When life and work get overbearing, it is never too late to ask for help.