Why Do We Suffer from Burnout?

6/27/20244 min read

Why Do We Suffer from Burnout?

Burnout is a state caused by high levels of chronic stress. It results in a total breakdown emotionally, physically, or mentally. What used to be a term for a broad set of conditions is now an official medical diagnosis. That's important because until it was given official recognition, people just believed they had to ride out whatever they were experiencing. Here's an example.

You approach your boss and tell him you've had enough. You can't work another minute. The environment, your coworkers, or some other situation has you on the verge of a mental or physical breakdown. Before a doctor could diagnose you as suffering from burnout, your boss might have told you to "tough it out."

In many cases, this is what we tell ourselves. While we recognize that our situation is beyond difficult in some way, we feel like we should be able to push through. That is definitely not the best course of action if you have a case of burnout working against you.

Look out for These Common Causes of Burnout

A person will suffer from burnout because they have been pushed past their emotional, physical, or mental breaking point. It's not just a case of someone working many long hours and being physically tired.

It usually happens because a person is not in control of the situation they are forced to endure.

They have to put up with emotional, physical, or mental stress. There is no letting up. They feel they have no control over the process. A workload on the job or at home looks like it's insurmountable. Personal responsibilities that must be met continue to build until they create a perceived disaster situation.

A person feels they don't have the tools, resources, or personal abilities to handle their life or job satisfactorily. All of these situations can be caused by the following factors.

· Monotonous, challenging workloads that seem to grow quicker than progress

· Having a continual lack of control, either at work or in personal life

· Seeing little to no rewards for a person's time and effort

· Feeling a lack of support and community

· The perception that a person is the only one that has to go through harsh or difficult times

· Toxic environments that threaten a person's values, and possibly physical or mental health

While most burnout is job-related, you can see that these common causes of a breakdown can happen at home, in a person's social life, and at work. Avoid them whenever possible. If you suspect that you or someone you care about is a prime burnout candidate, talk to a counselor or mental health professional. As with any other health problem, prevention is always the best medicine.

Stress Awareness Checklist

Why Stress is Bad

In order to control stress you have to understand the nature and purpose of stress and what the effects of stress are on the body

The flight or flee reaction is an evolutionary adaption that arose out of the dangers our ancestors faced in the natural world:

o The purpose of the stress caused by the flight or flee reaction is to help us survive

o The chemicals released into the body during the flight and flee reaction, while damaging in the short-term, allow for long-term benefits

o The flight or flee reaction is a serious bodily reaction to what is perceived to be a serious event

A problem arises when the stress from the flight or flee reaction is not brought about by an acute event but by a long term event:

o Acute stress is brought about by a single, one-time, life threatening event

o Long-term stress is brought about by repeating non-life threatening events that can’t be fought or controlled

o Acute stress is “good” stress because it results in a benefit – survival

o Long-term stress is “bad” stress because it results in a detriment – impaired physical and mental health

There is an important difference between pressure and stress:

o Pressure is caused by a unique, performance based situation that can be controlled;

o Stress is caused by a non-unique, non-performance-based situation that cannot be controlled.

Common Causes and Symptoms of Stress

The only real difference between acute stress and long-term stress is the duration of the event causing the stress

Some of the more common causes of acute stress include:

o Noise

o Crowds

o Hunger

o Danger

Long-term stress is more dangerous than acute stress because of its potential to cause serious health problems;

Some of the more common causes of long-term stress include:

o Work pressure

o Relationship problems

o Loneliness

o Financial worries

Long-term stress taxes the entire body and increases the risk for the following:

o Heart disease

o Stroke

o Immune system disorders

o Gastrointestinal disorders

o Sleep disorders

o Death

Some General Tips on Dealing with Stress

In order to effectively deal with stress you have to add enjoyable, stress relieving activities into your everyday routine

Some of the more common stress relieving activities include:

o Listening to music or playing music on an instrument

o Owning and caring for a pet

o Regular and vigorous exercise

Simple Stress Relieving Exercises

Stress relieving exercise are an excellent way to reduce stress on a regular basis

Most stress relieving exercises are easy to learn and simple to perform, including:

o Breathing techniques that send a clear message to the body that the stressor event has passed

o Stretching techniques that reduce muscle tension caused by stress thereby stopping the body’s production of stress inducing hormones.

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