Are you burnt out or on the way there?
Have you ever experienced chronic stress or burnout?
If you do, you’re certainly not alone. A Gallup survey discovered 23% of employees feel stress and burnout most of the time. Forty four percent of employees feel burnt out occasionally. I know how they feel because I’ve been there. After 17 years of being a nurse (mainly in critical care and trauma), I was burnt out. I had a lot of the classic burn out symptoms.
Signs and symptoms of burnout:
- You feel drained and tired a lot of the time.
- Getting colds and illness more often than you used to.
- Headaches and neck pain
- Eating more or less than you’re normal.
- Sleeping more or less than you’re normal.
- A feeling of failure and self-doubt.
- A feeling of helplessness.
- Feel alone in the world.
- Not motivated like you used to be.
- Cynical and negative outlook.
- Don’t feel accomplished anymore.
- Step away from responsibilities.
- Withdrawing from others.
- Putting things off.
- Poor coping mechanisms like alcohol or food.
- Taking your emotions out on others.
- Calling in sick more often, not wanting to go to work.
No one at work would have noticed my burn out. My husband certainly did because I didn’t want to go to work most days.
The first step in dealing with burn out is recognition. When I realised, I was experiencing burn out, I was struggling with why I didn’t want to be a nurse anymore. I had wanted to be a nurse from the age of 10. That had changed. My values had changed, and it was time for career change. That was a hard decision to make. It certainly does not mean I chucked the job in there and then. I had to look at what I wanted to do going forward. My other childhood dream was as an author. I used to make my own little books or projects. I had the opportunity to pursue another career.
Again, I didn’t just quit. I moved position in the hospital to one away from critical care bed side nursing. With two years until long service leave, I had a plan to become a travel writer. I worked on my transition to being a travel writer on my days off. Doing that gave me a sense of purpose which helped my mindset and motivation.
I managed to get a few articles published and long service arrived. I walked out of the hospital on the 1stSeptember with no intention of going back. 20 years later, I have a portfolio of hundreds of feature articles and over 90 books with multinational publishers. You can check them out here.
I don’t intend people to do what I did but I want people to work through their burnout problems to find what they want to do and work towards that.
If you are feeling like you might be burnt out or on the road to it, try our questionnaire. It will give you an idea of whether you need to investigate burn out more.