The basics of Burn-Out

It’s not possible to drive around on an empty tank of petrol for more than a few miles. If your wiper fluid isn’t filled, you’re in trouble when rain smears the windscreen. Tires need the right amount of air to provide a smooth ride. Oil changes must be performed regularly to keep your car running and dependable. Even when you take good care of your car, parts wear out, and emergencies still occur.

Many of us are feeling exhausted by overwork, never ending lockdowns, constant connectivity, and continual distractions. And are not completing the self-care maintenance needed to sustain our energy and wellbeing.

“Work always came first, before my family, friends and marriage — which ended just a few years later. Looking back, I didn’t have to be on my phone from my first moment in the morning to my last moment at night. I didn’t have to eat the majority of my meals at my desk. I now believe that I could have made it to a similar place of success with a better version of a personal life.” Arianna Huffington, entrepreneur

Burn-out has recently been classified as an occupational disease by the World Health Organisation. The primary cause is chronic work stress and severely impacts our wellbeing. Burn-out is typically a combination of 3 symptoms:

  1. Feelings of energy depletion and exhaustion.
  2. Increased feelings of negativity or mental distance from your job.
  3. Reduced functioning and efficacy.

To recover from burn-out it helps to identify which one of these is most depleted and to focus action on replenishing that resource first. For example, with exhaustion focus on self-care. For detachment a focus on reconnecting to others helps. And to bolster effectiveness break down overwhelming priorities into small accomplishable tasks.

However, the best cure for burn-out is prevention, to protect our energy from becoming depleted in the first place. What do you need to do to recalibrate your wellbeing?

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