The first time I experienced burnout I honestly had no idea what was happening to me. I was lethargic, my boss and I were butting heads over the smallest things, and I was starting to dread even coming to work. I wasn’t sure what the problem was, but I knew something was wrong with me, and I was starting to get worried I was having some sort of breakdown.
A couple of weeks later I decided to Google the way I’d been feeling. I felt a little silly doing it, but that didn’t last long. What I discovered was I’d been experiencing burnout, and what I learned that day was valuable then—and invaluable later in my career.
Burnout is Real
This seems obvious in retrospect, but burnout is a real phenomenon you need to take seriously. It can occur for a number of different reasons, but they all boil down to the same basic problem: working too many hours in a stressful environment.
Burnout Can Happen Even if You Love Your Job
When I was experiencing all that stress a few years back, I was in a job I loved with a management team I respected. That was why I was so confused. How could I be burnt out at a job I enjoyed? The simple fact is you can love a job and still have it be incredibly difficult and harmful to your mental health.
You Must Acknowledge Burnout
It would be great if something like burnout could just be glossed over and avoided, but the truth is knowing you are close to the wall is a good thing. Giving yourself the mental break you need is incredibly important, and admitting you are having a problem will make it easier to seek out any additional help you might need.
Burnout Can be Incredibly Detrimental
Feeling overworked is bad enough, but the actual risks of these types of feelings can be dangerous. Employees experiencing burnout are more likely to self-medicate, to have feelings inadequacy, and even clinical depression. Learning how to avoid burnout can have long-term benefits to mental and physical health.
Burnout Can Manifest Itself in Many Different Ways
When I was experiencing burnout, I was getting frustrated and irritable over the smallest of things, and I was exhausted all the time. What’s important to remember is it doesn’t matter why we feel this way; getting help is all that really matters.
Burnout can affect all employees in different ways and at different times. The most important thing to remember about feeling burnt out is there are ways to prevent it. Even something as simple as taking a day to work from home or using some PTO can make all the difference in the world when it comes to dealing with the elephant on your chest.
Learning about what was causing my feelings of being burnt out saved my career, but what I learned became even more useful as I transitioned into a supervisory role with my own team. Make sure to come back in two weeks to check out my blog on how to manage and even prevent employee burnout before it starts.