Professional burnout: how to recognize and prevent

    Love your job and work hard - well, being able to recognize burnout in time is even better. But for many, recognizing their burnout means being weak and being bankrupt.

    We tell you why you don’t always need to say to yourself “Get your hands together, rag!”, What are the stages of burnout and how to deal with it.

    The psychotherapist Maria Berlin helped to understand the topic . And the Java developer of EPAM, Yuri Bezrukov, shared his story of burnout.

    Those who love their work and invest in it, usually burn out. There are several more burnout factors:

    If an employee agrees with one or more of these statements, it is likely that he will burn out.

    For example, a person was taken to the first serious job. He has high expectations from himself, he wants to prove to everyone that he can cope with the tasks. It is highly likely that the employee will begin to worry and work overtime. Young professionals often burn out, but they recover quite quickly, and this experience helps them in the future.

    Yuri: “I ran into burnout about 10 years ago, I was 25 years old. I did not have experience in large companies. For two or three months on the first big project I worked very hard: we were preparing to go into production. There were many tasks, problems, and it seemed that they were not decreasing, but only growing. I woke up, went to work, came home and continued to work, often seven days a week. There was an endless race. I did not like the state in which I found myself, and the work began to cause sharply negative emotions.

    The negative attitude was projected not on a specific project, but on the profession as a whole, and I thought that it would always be so. Then it seemed to me that development is not at all what I would like to do. ”

    Burnout or just fatigue? How to distinguish?

    Fatigue can be quickly eliminated. If you feel that you have recovered on the weekend and want to go to work, you don’t have a burnout. If after the weekend or even after the holidays you constantly feel tired at work, this is probably burnout.

    However, it is difficult to say that burnout is characterized by any one condition. Burnout can develop for months, and it has several stages:

    Stage 1. Work “on fire”

    Burning affects primarily people who love their work. Often it is difficult for them to take a break, because they are passionate: they can work, returning home from the office, and do not switch for a long time. If you do not slow down or relax in time, the next stage of burnout will occur.

    Stage 2. Fatigue Appears

    When a person is completely devoted to work, he has a feeling that he is not valued according to his merits: he does so much, but no one pays attention to it. Over time, a negative appears in the address of colleagues and superiors. Work begins to bring more negative emotions, and fatigue appears from this.

    Stage 3. Interest is lost, health is deteriorating.

    Gradually, a person loses interest in a job, becomes disillusioned with it. If very simplified, in the third stage of burnout, people become either more aggressive or more depressed. There is irritation in relation to tasks, colleagues or customers. Social activity decreases: people can meet friends less often or spend less time with their families.

    Physical condition worsens: catarrhal diseases begin, problems with weight and sleep arise (drowsiness or insomnia). At the same stage, impaired attention and memory may occur.

    Stage 4. The work of intelligence is

    disrupted. In the fourth stage, a person cannot work as efficiently and quickly as before: the work of intelligence is disrupted, motivation disappears.

    Irritation turns into frustrations - spontaneous aggression towards colleagues. Also, a person can behave in the family. It becomes difficult to talk about work, unlike the second and third stages - then people can complain a lot and discuss working situations for a long time.

    Stage 5. Dependencies are enhanced

    At 4-5 stages of burnout, a person is more likely to experience stress. If he has addictions that quickly help suppress experiences, they intensify. For example, he used to drink one glass of wine a week, but now he drinks every day. Or sometimes he ate sweets for the night, and now he allows himself sweets every night.

    The body produces a protective reaction to prolonged stress: there are problems with the stomach and intestines.

    Stage 6. Depression

    begins. At the sixth stage, depression begins. A person is haunted by a sense of meaninglessness - not only in work, but in life in general. Suicidal thoughts may appear. Unfortunately, many turn to specialists only at this stage.

    I'm starting to fade. What to do?

    The first stages of burnout can be handled independently. Here's what you can do:

    Plan a vacation.

    Let's say you know that you’ll work 12 hours a day for another month. After such a marathon, you must definitely relax. Plan your vacation in advance. If you work at this pace for a month, and then immediately proceed to the next project, it is likely that the condition will worsen.

    Talk to those who have already burned out.

    In the second or third stage of burnout, people become lonely. The further you go, the more you lose your sense of your own value and importance. Find among the acquaintances a person who has already experienced burnout, and find out how he dealt with it.

    Ask for help or advice at work.

    A common problem - especially on the probationary period for beginners - is the desire to prove to everyone that "I am smart," "I will do everything myself," no matter what. Many are sure: asking for help is a sign of weakness. But this is not so. Seeking advice and help is normal.

    Some people on a trial period think that they will burn out because they are constantly tired. But they may get tired not because they work hard and enthusiastically, but because they experience impostor syndrome , anxiety, lack of information or advice. In this case, a good mentor will help to deal with the problem.

    Take care of the mind, feelings and body

    Burnout acts on four levels:
    - affective (the person experiences negative emotions),
    - physical (starts to hurt),
    - cognitive (impaired memory, attention),
    - behavioral (all these disorders affect a person’s behavior and quality of life).

    So you need to take care of your feelings (for example, meeting family, friends and loved ones, reading books, watching movies - doing everything that gives emotional recharge), body (doing sports, walking, doing massages, taking baths - which is more like it) and reason (analyze, learn new things).

    Take care of your favorite things.

    If you started to fade, but still can not go on vacation, devote evenings and weekends to what is fun.

    In the early stages of burnout, this exercise helps: make a large list of everything you love and want to do, from "eat an apple" to "learn to play the piano." In the evening on weekdays or on weekends, select an item from the list and perform.

    Yuri: “In my opinion, the easiest and most effective way to avoid emotional burnout is to switch. Sometimes at the end of the day you get so carried away that you want to continue to work, go around and think about something. But this is the wrong approach: it is much more efficient to let go of a thought, even if it torments you, and it seems that you need to urgently deal with it. You simply translate it from the conscious to the unconscious. And, having come to work in the morning, you suddenly realize that you know the solution. Although it seems that you did not think about it.

    Switching can be difficult, especially when nothing is planned for the evening. Therefore, it’s good to have a schedule and a hobby that will completely occupy your thoughts - then an emotional departure from work will really happen. ”

    Should I tell my boss that I burn out?

    If you understand that there is no strength to continue working, do not rush to quit. Analyze why you burn out, what you want to change (here you can turn to a psychologist for help), and talk with your boss. Perhaps you are lucky, and the boss will offer to change the project, move to another team or take a vacation - this will probably solve the problems.

    Yuri: “When I realized that I can’t continue working in this mode, I decided to quit and went to the boss. I was offered two options: switch to another project or relax. I took advantage of the second - I took a vacation at my own expense for the whole summer. And when he returned, he chose a project that is completely opposite to what it was. Instead of a large-scale one, a small one; instead of a Russian customer, a foreign one; instead of a distributed team, a local one. By the time I switched to a new project, I really wanted to work again. ”

    My subordinates burn out. What to do?

    If you are managing a project where you need to work a lot and quickly, sort out your own expectations, and then think about how to help the team. What is important to do?

    Give certainty.
    Tell subordinates when the project (or its acute phase) is over. For example: “This week we work 12 hours a day with one day off, but the next one definitely won’t.” It is easier for people to cope with difficulties if they know when they will end. It is important not only to make a promise, but also to fulfill it.

    Discuss responsibilities.
    Each subordinate must understand what to do. Unless the responsibilities are clearly discussed, people will take the time to understand the tasks and deadlines, and begin to worry about uncertainty. And anxiety does not work effectively.

    Constantly give feedback.
    When people get feedback, they realize that their work is beneficial, and they are important. If an employee works long and hard without feedback, he ceases to see the point in his activities. Therefore, it is important to notice what people are doing.

    How much is burnout treated?

    The duration of treatment depends on how serious the problem is. If the burnout lasted a long time and led to a deep depression, the output will be enough from a year and a half. If burnout has begun recently, it is likely to take about six months. If a person turns to a psychotherapist when a decision has already matured, 2-3 consultations may be required.

    If you feel that work has ceased to bring pleasure, fatigue does not pass, and health is deteriorating - this is an occasion to think about whether you have burnout.

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