Recognizing the onset of burnout is not an easy thing to do. When you're heading down this road you might not even realize it. We all have stress. Burnout is not stress. Burnout is something more serious. There's a sense of hopelessness. So how do we avoid it?
First off, it's important to recognize the difference between stress and burnout. When you're stressed you may still have hope of getting out of the situation. You can see a light at the end of the tunnel.
If you're burning out you'll often feel a sense of complete hopelessness. You'll withdraw from everyone and everything. You're job will be unrewarding, and you'll feel a lack of control. Usually, you'll feel trapped in your current situation. So what do you do to get out, or to prevent burnout before it happens?
Consider talking to a friend or family member. You may feel you're burdening them with your problems, but you're not. More than likely they'll be flattered by your trust in them. Being able to talk things out with someone will often be enough to lift you out of your funk.
If talking to someone doesn't seem to help it's probably time for a break. Use up some vacation time, or take some sick days. Take a leave of absence if you have to. You're no good to your employer or your family if you can't function properly.
If none of this seems to help, perhaps it's time for a change. You might want to consider changing jobs, or at least your place of employment. It's not always easy making this type of change. Obviously there are financial considerations. There's no point in removing your job related stress, and replacing it with the worry about how you're going to pay the bills.
Perhaps you can't leave your job right away, but if you've made the decision that it's the wrong fit for you start putting a plan together for how you're going to be able to move on. You may want to consider night classes if you want to change your career but can't afford to quit your job today. If you're not dissatisfied with your career choice, just your current place of employment, start discreetly looking at other options.
The point is you need to remove yourself from the situation as soon as possible. Have you ever experienced burnout? How did you cope? Leave a comment, I'd love to hear from you.