To err is human. To burn out is professional. Every professional faces ‘burn-out’ once in a while. a burn-out is a situation in which a person feels completely saturated – emotionally and intellectually and that starts affecting his creativity or performance at work.
While psychologists have termed ‘burn-out’ to be an essentially emotional situation, the consequences are often related to the health of a person. A burn-out affects the physical, emotional and intellectual health of a person and affects his quality of life considerably.
In the IT industry, that is notorious in India for having abnormal working hours and stiff deadlines, there is a considerable number of people who suffer from burn-out. It is obvious that health suffers in the midst of this problem and that is what we are concerned about at the moment.
How do you know if you are burned out?
- Lack of focus or concentration on work, distracted by some emotional experiences.
- A drop in performance or quality of work or creative initiatives.
- Saturation of ideas while working or dearth of innovations while performing.
- Monotony in the same work that you enjoyed once.
- Lackadaisical demeanour – mentally and physically.
- Loss of appetite. Insomnia.
If you find yourself in one of these situations, it’s likely that you are suffering from burn-out and it’s time to deal with it. The reason why you must take is very seriously is that the consequences of burn-out can be as serious as a high blood pressure and depression. While realizing that you are suffering from a burn-out, also understand that it is possible to solve the problem and it is not very late yet. The following are some practical ways to deal with a burn-out:
- Take a break: Tell your boss that you cannot concentrate at the moment. Take a holiday, even if for a few days. Don’t think about work during that time. If you have emotional issues, take time to sort them out. Make an effort to solve any emotional problem that you may be having with your spouse, partner, friend or family. Give your mind some rest. Indulge in relaxing, reading books or watching movies.
- Beauty sleep: Another very effective way to deal with a burn-out is to get plenty of sleep over a certain weekend. Don’t hang out with friends on a certain weekend and take time to just sleep and relax. Sleep has a great healing power and it can heal you mentally.
- All play: Since work is all what you have been doing for a long time, it’s time to play. Play cricket with a bunch of young boys around you or play badminton with kids in your locality. Indulge in physical activities like running, walking or swimming. Nothing recharges your mind better than a physically tiring activity.
- Newer pastures: Do something that you have never done before. For example, you have seen people play chess but never tried it. Now try chess this year. Learn it. Challenge yourself. Sit with a competitor and engage in it whole-heartedly for many hours. This will give you a high. The new activity can be anything from singing, dancing, trekking, para gliding to playing scramble, watching a 3D movie etc.
- Old games: Apart from trying something new, it’s advisable that you do something you absolutely love doing but haven’t done in a long time. For example, sketching is your hobby but due to work pressure, you might not have done it lately. Deliberately indulge in sketching one fine weekend, just to check if you are still good at it. After that you will know exactly what to do.
Burn-out is often a neglected or unrecognized problem that we all face once in a while. The key is to watch for it. Understand that human mind gets bored often especially with a routine work. So you have to give it a break and recharge it frequently. If you make this a life-long habit, you can keep burn-out at bay always.