Burnout and What You Can Do About It

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Anyone can suffer from burnout...feeling seriously stressed and unable to cope. But, burnout can be avoided when you learn about its causes and symptoms, recognize the problem, and develop ways that you can make changes to reduce stressful situations. 

Causes & Symptoms 
Burnout is most likely in people who feel overworked and unappreciated. They become disappointed and cynical. They may also feel frustrated and resentful. The symptoms of burnout can include mental and physical exhaustion, a sense of hopelessness, and episodes of physical illness. 

Recognize the Problem 
The first step toward coping with burnout is defining the problem. Is the situation itself stressful? Is there something about your situation that you can change? For example, working excessively long hours, not maintaining balance between work, home and family life, and not experiencing sufficient periods of rest and recreation can cause you to become a prime candidate for burnout. However, by accepting that the situation itself is stressful, and by exploring alternatives, you can reduce feelings of frustration and resentment that lead to burnout. 

Make Changes 
Changes in both you and your environment can help prevent burnout. Analyze the situation. You may have more ability to bring about positive changes than you think. Then take positive action. For example, if lack of appreciation on the job is damaging your morale, look toward enhancing the quality of your time with family and friends. Burnout can also be prevented by talking things out. Sharing your feelings and listening to others are powerful and important resources. 

Rejuvenate Yourself 
When you ignore your needs during a period of constant or severe distress, burnout may result. It's important to take time to recover and heal from the difficult circumstances. Otherwise serious emotional and physical damage may result. Use and develop skills such as risk-taking, reaching out to friends, and talking with others who are in a situation like yours. Ask someone you respect to look at your situation and suggest solutions. Use your difficult circumstances as a starting point in a movement toward greater satisfaction.