In the last few years, the word “burnout” has become more and more common. Many people feel burnout at their job or as entrepreneurs in their own businesses. In this blog post, I want to share what I believe the main reason for burnout is and how to prevent burnout from happening.
In a later blog post, I will dive deeper into prevention & recovery based on my personal experiences and studies.
But first…Do you really know what burnout is?
What is burnout?
Here is a definition provided by mentalhealth-uk(dot)org:
“Burnout is a state of physical and emotional exhaustion. It can occur when you experience long-term stress in your job, or when you have worked in a physically or emotionally draining role for a long time.
Common signs of burnout:
- Feeling tired or drained most of the time
- Feeling helpless, trapped and/or defeated
- Feeling detached/alone in the world
- Having a cynical/negative outlook
- Procrastinating and taking longer to get things done
- Feeling overwhelmed
When asked to identify the symptoms of burnout, 85% of UK adults correctly identified symptoms of burnout, while 68% mistakenly identified symptoms of anxiety.”
My personal experience with burnout
Now that you understand better what burnout is, I’d like to add that I make a difference between burnout as described here above, and clinical burnout syndrome, which is clinically diagnosed and often comes with long-term side effects/health issues and warning signs such as cardiovascular diseases, gut issues, or muscular issues.
I have personally experienced the 2 types of burnout. The first one is fairly well-known in the millennial generation: when people stress a lot over everything, overthink, feel fatigued, experience brain fog, are not able to focus, etc. There is plenty of this kind of burnout in our society. In fact, there are studies that show that 75% to 83% of millennials are experiencing burnout in their workplace. Shocking numbers, right? This is why it is important to understand how to prevent burnout.
The second type of burnout I experienced was Clinical Burnout Syndrome. This is the next level, something that you don’t really want to experience, trust me. I even got a physical injury from it.
So the question is…
How to prevent burnout and why does it happen?
First, I would like to reinforce the difference between working many hours and working hard, which in my opinion is not the same thing.
I believe that working hard means that you are actually working on a task that makes you money, gives you time back, and makes you feel good because you are actually accomplishing something.
Instead, working many hours is not going to take you anywhere unless you do the right thing. And even then, many hours are not even getting you anywhere because we have to shift our thinking about how we work.
If you think about it, the work beliefs that we have in our society are over one hundred years old. They come from the then newly established industrial areas. For example, Henry Ford established his car company and had employees work more hours to produce more cars, which at that time made sense. But they didn’t have the technology, the leverage, and the processes that we have now, with which we can be way more efficient.
We can work many hours and many days in a row without taking a day off at all without any work-life balance (which i don’t recommend, even though it is possible). We can also do our best to stay focused and have enough energy throughout the day.
The most problematic thing that contributes to people getting burnout is the environment they are in, the people they work with, and the personal issues that they have.
That means for example, if you have your own business, or if you are an entrepreneur and you choose clients that keep asking for more, pushing boundaries, or you are not setting the correct expectations and boundaries, that will for sure lead to burnout.
Setting up your boundaries and core values
In order to prevent burnout, it is imperative that you know your boundaries within work, with people, personal interactions, and whom you want to work with, whether it is clients, team members, or business partners, and be very clear about that.
But most importantly you really want to go deep into knowing your values system.
- What are your core values?
- Who are you?
- What are the core values of your business?
- How do you want to operate?
And that also means that sometimes you will be saying NO to projects, clients, and business opportunities because if they are not aligned with your values and yet you are compromising on them, this is exactly what is going to lead you to burnout.
When you feel drained, you feel all your energy is sucked, you have brain fog coming in and when you stress out doing more and more, but at the same time you feel anger, and resentment, you need to understand that these emotions come up as a signal, telling you that you may have missed a boundary. So in short, the answer to the question “how to prevent burnout” is to set boundaries.
The main reason why people burnout in the work environment is because they are not respecting their own values and boundaries. They are compromising on the core values in terms of their personal beliefs but also on their belief systems for how their business should be operating.
I want you to take some time out, and do a core value exercise. if you don’t know how to do it, there will be a new blog post coming out soon where I will be teaching you exactly what to do, and will help you to prevent burnout.
Now that you know what burnout is and how to prevent it, let me know in the comments, are you included in the big percentage of people that have experienced burnout in the workplace?
If you liked this article, here’s “The real reason for burnout” video I made. Enjoy.
*Disclaimer: This video and this blog post contains information from personal experience and studies as well as observation. This is in no way a medical assessment or gives you any medical advice. For diagnosis, help & medical support please turn to your doctor of trust.
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