The first step in preventing burnout is recognising its early symptoms and responding to them in due time. It is important to note that not every kind of stress leads to burnout.
We have collected some information on the symptoms and different stages of burnout.
Timely detection and prevention of burnout symptoms
The burnout syndrome was long considered a typical "managers’ disease". But burnout symptoms can occur whenever the daily demands of life - be they of a professional or private nature - exceed individual coping capacity. Those who have an exaggerated tendency towards perfectionism and whose self-esteem is closely tied to their performance may be especially prone to experiencing burnout. Some people have a great need for harmony and thus internalise the condition of “having to perform well" up until typical burnout symptoms become noticeable.
Burnout does not come out of nowhere and occasional stress can actually have a very positive effect on physical and mental performance. However, as soon as there is no longer a balance between alternating periods of tension (stress) and phases of relaxation, a gradual process is set in motion which often results in burnout.
...first signs of a looming burnout can be, among others:
- Excessive commitment to specific goals
- Feeling of being indispensable coupled with the fear of failure
- Forgoing recreation and relaxation phases
- Ignoring individual needs
- Limiting social contacts with family and friends, isolation and withdrawal
- Addictions to create a distraction (alcohol, internet, nicotine, drugs ...)
- Susceptibility to infectious diseases - decreased immune defense
- Lack of concentration
- Fatigue and exhaustion
- Depressed mood
- Sleep disturbances
Particularly at a very early stage of development, burnout can effectively be counteracted by adapting behaviour patterns and reducing associated stress.
You can learn about suitable methods for reducing at the Anti Stress Training and Anti Stress Workshops. In the anti-stress seminars, those affected will be shown how they can find a way out of the stress-performance spiral and what they themselves can contribute towards creating more balance in their lives. It is not just about psychological stress reduction, the proper diet and exercise can also go a long way to a more relaxed stress free life.
Valuable tips for preventing burnout
Our goal at the Alpenhotel Karwendel - Europe's first anti-stress resort - is not to treat burnout, but to prevent it. Do not forget that every person can only temporarily withstand excessive stress.
We have gathered some information that will help you carry out a self-assessment and contribute to burnout prevention:
- Preventing burnout
- Take a step back
- Stress management
- List of preventive measures
- Overcoming stress - the “tiger strategy”
- Methods for active relaxation and stress management
Herbert Freudenberger and his colleague Gail North have identified twelve stages in the course of the burnout syndrome; the sequence of which may differ from the following:
- The urge to prove something to yourself and to others
- Extreme need for overachievement in order to meet particularly high expectations
- Overwork resulting in neglect of other personal needs and social contacts
- Downplaying or covering up of inner problems and conflicts
- Doubting ones values and formerly important things such as hobbies and friends
- Denial of emerging problems, increasing intolerance and contempt towards others
- Withdrawal and avoidance of social contacts
- Obvious behavioural changes, progressive feeling of worthlessness, increasing anxiety
- Depersonalisation due to loss of contact to oneself and to others, life goes by "mechanistically"
- Inner emptiness and desperate attempts to override this feeling by going to extremes (sexuality, eating habits, alcohol and drugs)
- Depression with symptoms such as apathy, hopelessness, fatigue and lack of perspective
- First suicidal thoughts as a way out of this situation; acute risk of mental and physical collapse.
Empirically validated explanatory model:
A common model for the explanation of the burnout syndrome, especially in a business and management context, is the concept of an imbalance between demands and resources known as ERI (effort-reward imbalance model by Johannes Siegrist). Here you can conduct a short self-assessment:
- "I’m constantly under time pressure"
- "I have a great deal of responsibility"
- "I am often disturbed in my work"
- "My job has become increasingly demanding over the past years"
- "I am not treated by my superiors with due respect"
- "I do not receive adequate support when challenges arise"
- "I am often treated unfairly"
- "My professional future is uncertain"
Here is a link to a short test: http://www.palverlag.de/Burnout_Test.html