By David Joel Miller.
Some of the things you’re doing can increase burnout risks.
Life can be stressful. Some jobs are more stressful than others. In recent years, job burnout has become extremely common. Once people reached the point of burnout they are likely to quit their job, get fired, or moved to a new equally stressful position. Some people become so burned out they must change careers or may not be able to work at all. While you can’t always control the stresses in your life some of the things you’re doing may be increasing the risk that you will burn out or have a nervous breakdown. How many of the things on this list are propelling you towards burnout?
Sleep less, and you can burn out more rapidly.
People under stress frequently try to do too much. You can’t continue burning the midnight oil for very long before the lack of sleep will wear you out. Not getting a full night’s sleep increases your risk of burnout. If you think you’re too busy to get a full night’s sleep just wait until you crack under the stress. Once you have a breakdown you will have plenty of time to stay home from work.
Increased alcohol consumption leads to burnout.
In the short term drinking alcohol or doing drugs seems like a way to cope with stress. Anesthetizing yourself with chemicals doesn’t allow you to rest, it creates one more stress for your body to recover from. Drinking alcohol does not improve sleep. When you drink alcohol, you end up unconscious rather than sleeping. Your brain does not get a chance to recover. When your liver detoxifies the alcohol, you will wake up. Frequently people who use alcohol to sleep have disrupted sleep, wake up early, and can’t get back to sleep.
Using stimulant drugs to increase your work abilities does not give you an unlimited supply of energy. When the drugs wear off, you crash, and your need for rest becomes even more acute. Abusing tranquilizers and pain medications will catch up with you eventually. You can only walk around with anesthetized pain, physical or emotional, for so long. Eventually, you will collapse into burnout from physical and emotional exhaustion.
Isolating leads to burnout.
Humans are inherently social. People who have a good support system, feel like a part of the team, can cope with stress. As people become physically and emotionally worn out, the early signs of burnout, they often isolate. The more you cut yourself off from other humans, the more rapid the journey toward burnout. If you find yourself too busy to spend time with your family and friends, you are traveling the dangerous road to an emotional breakdown.
Being a perfectionist will burn you out.
B students are happier than straight A students. When a straight “A” student gets even one “B,” they feel like a failure. The “B” student is delighted with the occasional “A.” If your way of coping with stress is to try to do everything perfectly, you are turning up the intensity of your stress and cooking yourself into a burnout. There is such a thing as “good enough parenting” if you do more things right than wrong your children will think you’re a wonderful parent. Try to get everything right, and insisting they be perfect is a recipe for conflicted relationships at home.
Many people who develop job burnout come to work in the morning already emotionally exhausted from relationship problems at home. If your relationships are not supportive, work on improving your home life. Consider counseling, for you, for your relationship, or for your family, before your stress at home destroys your work life and your emotional health.
Having few job prospects leads to burn.
People who feel trapped in a high-stress job convinced themselves they have no other options. If you’re unhappy while at your job, spend some time deciding what is causing this unhappiness. Is it the job you’re unhappy with? Would moving to a different company actually relieve your stress? Or have you trapped yourself working in a job you don’t enjoy, with few prospects of finding another job? The best time to look for a new job is when you have one.
If however, the problem is not the job, but that what you’re doing for an income doesn’t match with your values, life goals, and ambitions, the way to avoid job burnout is to work on yourself and become the best possible person.
Limited job skills increase the burnout risk.
Lack of variety in anything can take all the pleasure out of what you’re doing. If you have only one skill, that will be all you will ever do. The day you can’t earn a living doing that one skill is the day you become unemployed. Learning additional skills gives you the opportunity to have a more varied day and to be more useful to your employer. Look for opportunities to identify skills you have, but which have not been developed. Growing as a person opens up more opportunities and reduces your risk of burning out doing that one thing you know how to do until you can do it anymore.
The things you are doing may be making the stresses you’re under worse. Your current actions, or inaction, may be accelerating your journey towards burnout and an emotional breakdown.
Staying connected with David Joel Miller
Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!
You can recover. Your cruising along the road of life and then wham, something knocks you in the ditch. If you have gone through a divorce, breakup, or lost a job, your life may have gotten off track. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.
Casino Robbery is a novel that explores the world of a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.
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For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page or my Facebook author’s page, David Joel Miller. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.