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How to Identify, And Deal With, Signs of Burnout

Feel like you’ve hit surge capacity? Read on to reclaim your energy now.

By URLife Team
10 May 2021

Burnout feels like you are pushed downhill at a 100-km/hr. Dr Savita Date Menon’s description couldn’t have been more apt. The Hyderabad-based psychologist adds, “There is a lot of imbalance and uncertainty in a decline. There’s wear and tear. You look for support. But external circumstances ask too much, and you begin to feel exhausted.”


The ongoing Covid-19 restrictions, the loss of life and the changing dynamic of relationships with work from home has compounded the stresses in everyone’s lives. Now more than ever, it is important to identify signs of burnout and learn ways to cope with it. According to Limeade’s research, the number of employees feeling exhausted in US was 42% before the pandemic, while it climbed to 72% during the pandemic.




Identifying signs of burnout

Burnout affects us mentally as well as physically. Prolonged stress, diminished ability to work and mounting exhaustion are signs of burnout. Some also feel inexplicable emptiness, lack of motivation, fatigue, low energy levels and decreased interest. Roshan Gadepalli, 25, a software employee, says “I neglected the initial signs, until I had frequent headaches and anxiety.”

For some people, this can exacerbate into panic attacks. This is a state of loss of control. One experiences anxiety, breathlessness, helplessness, and faster heartbeat. The first point of contact in such case should be a psychologist, followed up by other ways of self-help. Therefore, recognising and identifying the first signs of burnout is paramount.

For some, Covid-19 and lockdown has brought its own set of challenges in parenting and relationships. Prachi Yadav, mother of a three-year-old, says, “The pandemic has been like a dark, long tunnel for me. With no help from around, I felt exhausted everyday managing both work and family.” She adds, “I started feeling better after I took online counselling.”


Menon suggests brief measures to help manage burnout. She says, “It all starts with having a new desire and energy to overcome the burnout. Basic measures include the intake of nutrition-rich diet, doing yoga, meditation and getting a sound sleep.”


Tips for Managing burnout

1. Develop social contacts: A study by Maslach Burnout Inventory supports the role of social support in mediating the effect of burnout. Get in touch with positive-minded people who can help you rediscover the joy and meaning of life.

2. Strategise your priorities: “Re-evaluate what is truly important for you,” says Menon. Go slow, take time to list your priorities. Look it as an opportunity to rest, reflect and relax.

3. Get your creative juices flowing: Find a hobby that matches your current mood. Studies find that hobbies are fantastic stress relievers.

4. Download calming apps: Having a few calming apps on your phone can help. They help you nurture a healthy outlook to life. Try Calm, Headspace or others that you may find helpful.

5.Seek professional help: Get in touch with a therapist to work along. He/She may help you follow a customised plan for managing your triggers.


Managing work-from-home burnout


1. Acceptance plays a key role. Accept that the situations have changed. Prep your home accordingly.


2. Keep the chains of communication open in a family. Express yourself often. Share what you are going through.


3. If you have a crisis managing multiple tasks, divide the work. Have a role-division system. Let children do what they can.


4. Gift yourself some me-time. Take a break, joke, laugh and relax. Avoid work-related thoughts then.




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