Mental and Emotional Burnout: When Self-Sacrifice Becomes Destructive

Mental and Emotional Burnout:  Do you look at your work and say, “I can no longer do this?”  How do you recover the energy and excitement to do your job?

Mental and Emotional Burnout: Life is a Marathon Not a Sprint. Pace Yourself. www.jaywren

Mental and Emotional Burnout: When Self-Sacrifice Becomes Destructive

The term “burnout” in reference to job performance comes from an article “Staff Burn-Out” by Herbert J. Freudenberger, first published in January 1974  in the Journal of Social Issues.

In 1980, Herbert Freudenberger collaborated with Richelson Géraldine to write the book Burnout: The High Cost of High Achievement.

The Adrenaline Rush that Precedes Burnout

Are you pushing yourself into job burnout? Do find that you are working on an adrenaline rush.  Are you working under constant pressure from your supervisor or from your working conditions?  Do you take shortcuts by eating at your desk, reading your email on your smartphone during breaks, and trying to do several tasks at the same time?

That adrenaline rush that comes from hyperactivity and super performance is often destructive.  Your efforts for high achievement can destroy your success.

Saving Your Career from Job Burnout

In Lifehacker, Alan Henry wrote,

“Once you recognize you’re burned out, you can pull yourself back from the ledge, but it’d be best to never get there in the first place. Luckily, the signs are usually right in front of you: you just don’t want to see them, or you’re too busy actually working to recognize them. If you keep an eye out, you’ll be able to cut off burnout before it takes hold so hard you can barely get up for work.”

Here are common symptoms of job burnout.

  1. You lose interest in your job.
  2. You procrastinate, or you simply cannot work.
  3. Your work has lost its meaning.
  4. A feeling of powerless dominates your thinking.
  5. After resting, you still feel exhausted.
  6. Depression and anxiety are symptoms of burnout. 
  7. People around you disappoint you easily.
  8. Perfectionist and judgmental mentality hijack your thinking.
  9. You work too long, because nothing is ever good enough.

Job burnout can come from several factors.  

  1. Doing endless hours of work that is mind numbing or stressful
  2. Working under constant criticism and correction
  3. Not taking regular breaks to eat or rest
  4. Failing to do things that give your mind a change in activity
  5.  Working in a job that is a mismatch
  6. Working too long each day and too many days a week

The solution for job burnout is change.

  1. Take breaks.
  2. Find emotional support through friendships and family.
  3. Try new things.
  4. Make a list of your work priorities.  Do one thing at a time.
  5. Get regular physical exercise.
  6. Learn techniques for resting your mind from work: meditation, pleasant and interesting reading
  7. Watching or listening to television, radio, or video programs that are relaxing, motivational, or inspirational
  8. Change jobs.

The danger of job burnout is that you ruin your health, and you ruin your career.  Having a successful career begins with you taking care of yourself mentally, physically, and emotionally.

Further reading on job burnout.