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Burnout – the disease of today’s society. Is it worth it?!

Today’s topic will again be a little different from typical entrepreneurial themes. Today, I am writing about burnout. Burnout is nowadays, of course, associated with the business world as it originates from it. We live in a world of materialism and work; a world where values are different than they were years ago. I would dare to bet that the vast majority of people are dealing with burnout, but do you know what the consequences of this can be and how you can get rid of burnout?

WHAT IS BURNOUT?

First, I would like to touch on the question of what burnout even means.

The definition of BURNOUT states that it is a process of self-exhaustion, when individuals push themselves beyond all boundaries in order to meet their own exaggerated expectations, supported by expectations set by their surroundings. Burnout is the psychophysical breakdown that results from exhaustion through excessive work or emotional engagement. A vast majority of people today are experiencing burning out, but fewer experience the actual burnout.

Nobody is safe from burnout, but it is experienced more frequently by those with specific risk traits, such as workaholism, perfectionism, emotional vulnerability, and sensitivity to criticism. People who always push themselves too hard, who have a hard time saying no, who are trying to make others, usually superiors, happy with them, are more at risk. Work exhaustion is a “normal” condition after intense work, while burnout is a mental disorder that results from an inability to set healthy boundaries to workaholism.

Nobody is safe from burnout, but it is experienced more frequently by those with specific risk traits, such as workaholism, perfectionism, emotional vulnerability, and sensitivity to criticism.

CHRONIC BURNOUT

We often equate feeling chronically tired with burnout, but that is not always the case. Feeling chronically tired can be a symptom of various problems. Burnout differs from work exhaustion in that, in addition to fatigue, there are also many psycho-pathological signs.

The first sign is excessive emotional engagement, such as constant help to others, which in turn leads to chronic exhaustion and anxiety. If workaholism continues, panic attacks, emotional outbursts, signs of depression, withdrawal from people, and anxiety occur. But most typical is the fluctuation of self-image, since overworked people can no longer achieve results, which leads to a feeling of entrapment.

HOW CAN WE HELP OURSELVES?

First and foremost, we must go deep within ourselves, and put ourselves and our bodies first. We need to be aware that we are worthy, that we are most important, and if we do not put ourselves first, certainly, no one else will – not our co-workers, not our superiors, not the people we live with. If we increase our workload, we also need to increase our rest and the amount of activities that offer relief. Recreation is not enough here; we need quality rest and sleep. Set boundaries for yourself, set priorities.

The leading psychotherapist in Slovenia is Dr Andreja Pšeničny, who emphasises in an interview that those who cannot stop themselves are stopped by their bodies. As an example, she cites the work of a woman with a family doing project work and not being able to sufficiently devote herself to her family because of work. She has deadlines at work, doesn’t have a regular schedule and is not getting enough sleep. The thought of work suffocates her, in general, she is feeling powerless and exhausted. Many people nowadays say that they are on the verge of burnout. What does this represent to us? What does this tell us about today’s society? Are the social circumstances today such that they are a favourable environment for the development of burnout, or have these problems existed in the past under a different name? I strongly doubt that; I think that burnout is a reflection of today’s materialistic society.

Love yourself, love your body, take a break, treat yourself with enough sleep, vacation … Love your children, parents, partners, people around you and dedicate time to them too. There will come a time when it will be too late and you won’t be able to do this, so live life as it should be lived, to be happy & fulfilled.

Research shows that in Slovenia, every other person speaks of signs of exhaustion; half of those is exhausted, the other half is burning out. It is encouraging, however, that in recent years there has been an increase in talk about this in Slovenia, and that certain companies are testing their employees, which is also encouraging.

However, as I said before, regardless of our employer, we are the ones who must take care of ourselves. With this article, I really want to encourage everyone to think about themselves first.

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