How to manage burnouts


Burnout is simply the physical or mental collapse caused by overwork or stress. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Sometimes we feel lethargic about work and related activities for no apparent reason. We lose passion and enthusiasm that are our usual characteristics.

We may fee always fatigued, drained, low-energy and deep sense of disillusionment. This may be accompanied by periodic headaches, stomach aches or general body weakness.

These may be signs that you are getting burned out.

One definition of burnout is the reduction of a fuel or substance to nothing through use or combustion. In other words, the fuel that drives a machine is burned out or used completely so that it does not function anymore.

In our lives, burnout is simply the physical or mental collapse caused by overwork or stress.

All of us can experience burnout but at the highest risk are people who are passionate, committed and dedicated to their work. Reason being you cannot burn out if you have not been ‘alight’ in the first place.

Thus, business people and very committed employees are very susceptible to burnout. You may be in a business that is unable to meet its obligations or has failed to meet your expectations. As an employee your workplace may be toxic, unpredictable, stressful and you are not able to control anything. Failure to communicate and get support from your boss and colleagues may make you feel helpless.

Burnout may be caused by issues not related to work especially lack of social support from your family or inability to support your family and yourself with your income. This is especially common this time of pandemic when one spouse loses income and the entire family is dependent on one person whose income is barely enough to meet minimal basic needs.

The first step in treating or managing burnout is to establish the root cause. If burnout is caused by overworking it can be treated by taking a break or delegating some work. If caused by finances or relations, you must find a way of accepting the situation and managing it without ruining your health.

Trying to balance life and work as well as accepting things you cannot control can ease the pressure on you. For instance, you need to accept that you cannot do everything. You cannot solve all your problems and those of your family and friends. So you must set boundaries of what you can do and what you cannot.

Where necessary adjust your lifestyle especially when fortunes change. If you can’t afford a certain lifestyle there is no point of pretending all is well or will be well. Just be yourself.

Take care of your body through good diet, exercise and spiritual nourishment. This will give your energy, boost your morale and help you sustain fight positively rather than resigning to fate too early.

Protracted burnout may need help from medical or counselling professional as it may lead to serious illness or even death.

The best remedy for burnout is to spot early signs and address it before it takes toll on you. As a business person you should as well look for signs of burnout in your employee and address them without delay, whether they are caused by work related or external issues. This is because burnout leads to loss of productivity and destructive behaviour at work.

Mr Kiunga is a business trainer and the author of ‘The Art of Entrepreneurship: Strategies to Succeed in a Competitive Market’