During my research on burnout, I’ve learned there are countless definitions, assessments, symptoms, coping methods and resources to help those experiencing it. Are you burned out? How do you know? What can you do to become engaged and energized again?
My favorite description of burnout called it a “mismatch” or an imbalanced relationship between two behaviors. Can you relate? If so, what’s mismatched in your life? Are burned out from eating at the same restaurant? Are burned out from doing the same exercise routine? Does your husband wear the same shirt and shorts and you're burned out with his clothing selection?
But when it comes to work, is anything causing a mismatch? Think past just the hours you spend working. Does your job give you purpose, or is it monotonous and unchallenging? Do you feel valued, or invisible and overworked? Part of assessing your level of burnout means taking the time to process and answer these questions. And if you don’t have time, there's your first mismatch. If you don’t take time, there's your second.
You can try to stuff it down, eat it away, exercise if off, but the reality is until you deal with it and find some balance, your body will try to deal with it even if your mind isn’t ready. Symptoms of burnout can be physical, mental or emotional. They can look like an upset GI, headaches, fatigue, weight loss/gain, eating irregularities, sleep disturbances (can’t shut your brain off), forgetfulness, anxiety, impatience or irritability.
If any of that sounds familiar, it might be time for a deeper look into what’s really going on. What are you doing for you? I’m no mismatch guru, but I do have some suggestions.
- Make time for yourself.
- Identify what’s causing your mismatch.
- Set a schedule and get organized.
- Make time to exercise. Your body and mind need it.
- Assess your priorities. It’s ok to say "no."
- Turn off electronics and unplug, even if it’s for just 30 minutes.
- Call friends or family and reconnect.
- Help — don’t be afraid to ask for it.
We are certainly living in some unusual times. My hope is you unpack your mismatch if you have one, and prevent one if you don’t. I’d love to hear what has worked (or not) for you!
Jayme Mayo is the wellness director at Nabholz Corporation. Her favorite part of the job is helping employees and their families transform their lives through awareness, education and motivation.