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Are You Burned-Out?

June 30, 2010
D&B Consulting

What is burnout? And how do you know if you’re suffering from it?

Burnout is defined as the various physical, emotional and mental reactions caused by repeated stress.

“In order to burn out, a person needs to have been on fire at one time.”
Ayala Pines

Effects of Stress

The negative affects of stress are documented by research studies. Prolonged, unrelenting stress can produce psychological and physiological consequences including:
Anxiety
Depression
Hypertension
Impaired Immune System Functioning
Increased risk of coronary heart disease and cancer

Who is at Risk?

Corporate downsizing has placed increased responsibilities on those who survive, adding more pressure and longer hours. Small business owners are at risk since there are fewer people to do all the work. Therapists, lawyers, health care professionals and others in the various service professions are traditionally at risk for job burnout. Also at risk are executives, and others who work long hours or get little fulfillment from their work.

With a greater percentage of single parent families and longer workweeks, more people today suffer from burnout. Single working parents are often stressed from the pressures of working the equivalent of two full-time jobs.

Certain personality characteristics often make some people more susceptible for burnout. These include perfectionism, idealism and workaholism. People with these characteristics sometimes have difficulty delegating and frequently feel that there is too much work for them to do. Service professionals can suffer from not setting limits with work hours and availability to clients, and from taking work home with them.

Symptoms of Burnout

How can you tell if your are suffering from burnout? If you are experiencing three or more of the following, you probably are.
Feeling overwhelmed
Having trouble making decisions
Short-tempered
Low energy-tired all the time
Loss of enthusiasm for work
Increase in use of cigarettes, alcohol and caffeine
Moodiness and irritability
Insomnia
Depression

If you think you are suffering from burnout, first determine if the main source of the stress is coming from work. Could it also be your home environment, family demands, your health, a relationship, or a combination of some of these? To gain clarity, keep a journal. Write down your thoughts daily.

Next Time:
Coping and Recovering from Burnout.

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