The winter months can be a difficult time. Shorter days and the demands of the holiday season can leave many of us feeling overextended, both personally and professionally. Recognizing the signs of burnout before they take hold can help ensure you glide into spring with a continued passion for your work.
Half the burnout battle is being able to recognize the symptoms soon enough so you can be proactive about dealing with its causes. And, though health care professionals suggest that burnout manifests differently for individuals (meaning your burnout isn’t your colleague’s burnout isn’t your client’s burnout), there are some classic symptoms that you can be on the lookout for:
If you find that you’re constantly tired—like bone tired—consider that you might be experiencing one of the first signs of burnout. Remember, too, it’s not just physical. If you walk through your day feeling emotionally and mentally spent, chances are you need to take a step back and think about the potential for burnout.
Difficulty Finding Motivation
Similar to exhaustion, finding that you are having a hard time getting motivated could also signal the start of burnout. Do you have trouble getting going? Do you have a hard time getting into the rhythm of your day? If you start feeling differently—dreading clients you used to really enjoy working with, for example—think about if you might be affected by burnout.
Maybe you notice that you’re arguing more with a friend or partner than previously, or perhaps you find that when friends ask you to go out socially you say no more often than not. If you find that there is more conflict in your personal and professional life, or where once you were active you now tend to withdraw, burnout could be creeping up on you. A marked difference in the relationships you have with people could be a clue that you might be feeling overwhelmed.
Beating Burnout . . .
Massage therapy has been shown to relieve stress, muscle tension and other symptoms caused by too strenuous of a schedule or work regimen. Also, be sure you are prioritizing the activities that you find rewarding, whether that be a regular massage or your weekly coffee break with friends. Then, keep that appointment in the same way you would a client meeting or business obligation.
If you're having a hard time getting motivated socially, sign up for an activity that will remind you you're part of a larger community, such as a neighborhood holiday walk or a volunteer meet-up. Try ice skating or snow shoeing to take advantage of the seasonal atmosphere and boost your endorphins. When you return to your office, chances are you'll feel more energized and passionate about the work you're doing.
The signs of burnout can be subtle, and that’s what makes the condition so tricky. Knowing how to recognize the symptoms—and then taking action—can make all the difference!
Source: This article was excerpted from mtj® (Massage Therapy Journal®) Winter 2013.Subscribe to read the entire article.