Chasing one’s dreams is fulfilling. That is, until you’ve burned out and have no strength and, more importantly, no desire to continue.
It may be hard even to order food, let alone hold a meeting with a business partner.
In Japan they have a special word for work stress leading to death, karoshi.
In the USA we aren’t there yet, but it might not be a good thing. It means we are probably not taking the issue seriously.
Americans work longer hours than the Japanese (and more than workers in Europe, Canada and Australia). Add no paid vacation and guaranteed parental leave, high competition and constant job strain, and there you have it.
Burnout creeps up on you gradually which is why it may be so hard to notice. There’s good news, though. It can be prevented. You just have to recognize the signs in time.
The state of burnout comes down to three main components: exhaustion, detachment and ineffectiveness. You are drained physically and emotionally, indifferent to things that were once important and lacking motivation or ability to do your job well.
Here are six actual symptoms:
1. Insomnia and fatigue
Your sleep patterns are in tatters. You keep checking work emails in bed. You don’t feel rested even after a good night’s sleep or can’t fall asleep at all.
When you are overworked, chronic fatigue is one of the most noticeable signs.
2. Failing health
Stress weakens one’s immune system, so if you’ve recently become more prone to illness, it’s a red flag.
3. Tendency to overreact
Constant stress makes one irritable and emotionally unstable. Losing your temper once is a sign of a bad day.
Losing your temper regularly should prompt you to book a therapy session.
Appreciating dark humor is not the same as becoming an a-hole. If you’re not a natural-born sociopath, it’s likely the burnout speaking. You don’t want to lose your friends to it.
5. Apathy and depression
As stress increases you might find yourself feeling… nothing. Take a break before you start asking yourself “What’s the point?”
6. Low productivity
You can’t work well because you’re tired, work piles up, and then you feel tired because of all this work. It’s a vicious circle.
If you found yourself thinking, “Gosh, that’s me!” two or more times, you might want to consider taking some time off of work.
Burn the stress out before it burns you out.
Featured Image: Office/NBC