In the spring of 2021, Pew Research conducted a global study of nearly 19,000 participants from 17 different countries. The participants were asked what makes life meaningful, with the most popular answer generally being one’s family.
Of course, people also find great meaning in their hobbies, occupation, and health. Unfortunately, when we overwork ourselves to the point of inescapable stress, we often lose sight of what’s meaningful.
Burnout syndrome can affect anyone, whether you’re a high school student or a CEO. But what causes burnout exactly? And how can you treat it and prevent future burnout?
We’re here to fill you in. Keep reading below to learn everything you need to know about burnout and how to conquer it.
What Causes Burnout?
Burnout is most often the result of overworking yourself. However, it doesn’t have to be career-related work. For example, a stay-at-home parent can experience burnout simply by juggling all the stressors that accompany family care and housework.
The quick and easy burnout definition is a state of exhaustion brought on by repeated or prolonged stress. A combination of stressors can lead to burnout, and these stressors will vary depending on the individual.
But what causes burnout most commonly? An oversized job or school workload is a major contender. Other causes include little social support, poor self-care routines, perfectionistic tendencies, and a lack of situational control.
Symptoms of Burnout
Your mental and physical wellbeing are intertwined more than you’d expect, so you’ll find that while burnout initially occurs due to mental stress, it will manifest in physical ways too.
The most common burnout symptoms are mental and physical fatigue, a cynical attitude, and a lack of motivation and productivity. People with burnout also tend to isolate themselves from others and become irritable. They often spend time daydreaming about escapist fantasies.
A poor state of mental health can then lead to physical effects, such as headaches, stomachaches, muscle aches. More severe effects include a more vulnerable immune system and even substance abuse issues.
Treating and even avoiding a burnout episode is possible. It’s important to know what signs to look for if you want to prevent burnout, but what if you’re already struggling with burnout?
One of the best ways to break out of the burnout state is by reaching out to someone you trust. This might be the most difficult step, as burnout often results in isolation. However, a loved one or even a medical professional can offer much-needed support as you work towards wellness.
Much of the stress that stems from work-related burnout is due to disinterest in the job itself. One of the best ways to combat this is by making a career shift. If that’s not a possibility, check with your supervisor to find out if you’d be able to cross-train in a different department.
Since cynicism is one of the main symptoms of burnout, it’s important to indulge in your hobbies and passions. If none of your interests are holding your attention, consider joining a local volunteer organization or an activity club. Engaging with others in meaningful activities is a great way to break apart the pessimism and cynicism burnout causes.
Take Steps Towards Beating Burnout
Burnout is not something to take lightly, especially when it starts to affect every aspect of your life. It takes a serious toll on both your mental and physical wellbeing, so it’s important to know what causes burnout. With the info above, you’ll be able to recognize the most common burnout symptoms and take the right steps towards bettering your mental health!
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