Expert Panel, Forbes Coaches Council
Burnout is a serious yet common occurrence in the business world. Often, professionals who are burning out become stressed at the mere idea of heading to work.
If this sounds like you, you’ll want to act fast. It’s important to recognize the early signs of burnout and take the proper steps to recover before you jeopardize your career and your well-being. We asked a panel of Forbes Coaches Council members to identify some red flags indicating that you’re on the verge of burning out and explain how you can rebound.
1. Your Energy Flow Has Stopped
When you’re in an environment where your satisfaction drivers align with your job and company, you feel a certain flow, energy and alignment of goals. The day that flow stops, you stop. You become someone other than yourself and you realize your environment, role and surrounding events are energy drainers—all of which leads to stress, apathy and disengagement. Focus on your satisfaction drivers. - Joanne Markow, GreenMason
2. You Care Too Much Or Too Little
Caring more than you should or not caring enough are both signs that something is wrong. These feelings can happen at the same time and can mean burnout is right around the corner. Find a way to change something—anything. Pick up a new project that interests you, change something in your daily schedule or add a midday walking break. Even rearranging your office can help you feel refreshed. - Erica McCurdy, McCurdy Life Coach
3. You Feel Mentally And Physically Fragile
When work makes you feel mentally and physically fragile, you are most likely burnt out. As your internal resources run low, you can easily lose your temper and get sick. To overcome it, make sure you protect your time by reorganizing your calendar with your standards and boundaries reflected, frequently prioritizing important and urgent tasks, and carving out time for energy renewal. - Amy Nguyen, Happiness Infinity LLC
4. Your Stress Is Manifesting Physically
Burnout is a form of stress and will probably manifest in physical symptoms. Are you eating more or less or eating junk food? Having trouble sleeping? Sleeping a lot? Lacking energy? Unable to concentrate? Not interested in doing fun things? You can counterbalance these with exercise, yoga or meditation, which are good coping mechanisms to overcome the physical aspects of stress and burnout. - Julie Kantor, Ph.D., JP Kantor Consulting
5. Your Performance And Sense Of Accomplishment Are Slipping
Burnout is the result of taking on too much. If you are a high achiever or someone who does not know how to give a graceful “no,” you are likely to experience burnout. Your warning sign is your feeling of ineffectiveness or lack of accomplishment. This is a sign that you’re performing without purpose. Be sure to take on work that builds on your strengths and feeds your “why.” - Kelah Raymond, HR Defined
6. You’ve Noticed A Negative Shift In Attitude And Perspective
Our attitude about work is determined by our thoughts, emotions and behaviors. Each of us has a natural way in which we view our work and how we fit into it. Under normal conditions, we experience more freedom, choice and fulfillment. Sustained stress often leads to a shift in attitude and perspective. This is a surefire sign that burnout is inevitable unless a shift in perspective takes place. - Marvin Chambers, Built To Last Solutions, LLC (Marvin Chambers Coaching)
7. You No Longer Want To Share Your Thoughts At Work
One of the very first signs of burnout is the loss of the urge to share your voice and thoughts with the company to make things better all around. Most of this stems from a feeling of lost identity. To counterpunch it, you need to realign yourself with what fuels you. Recenter your mind and soul around what drives you and inspires you. - Jon Dwoskin, The Jon Dwoskin Experience
8. You’re Reaching Your Limits
Top reasons professionals may dread heading to work include poor management, few growth opportunities, low compensation or excessive workload. Putting on a brave face to deal with these types of challenges can leave workers disengaged or burned out. One way to overcome burnout is to know your limits or deal breakers. Be prepared to redirect your focus when the time comes. Preparation is key. - Lillian Gregory, The Institute for Human and Leadership Excellence
9. You Feel Out Of Alignment
Burnout leads to depression, lack of focus and poor decision-making. When you feel trapped or out of alignment, you are feeling the first stages of burnout. Overcome burning out by blocking time every week for self-care and focusing on what’s important—not on what is urgent. Be sure to delegate what’s urgent, and never compromise on staying aligned with your personal values and dreams. - Cheryl Amyx, 4CEO, Inc.
10. You’re Pushing Yourself Toward Something That Doesn’t Serve You
Burnout occurs when a professional is constantly pushing themselves in a way that does not personally serve them. Many times this situation exists because the professional has chosen not to address a procedure, relationship or dynamic that simply doesn’t work for them. The ability and the willingness to address these kinds of issues head-on can avert the toll this behavior takes on the person. - Dan Smith, The Profitable Leader
11. You’re Blaming Others For Your Problems
My mentor always calls me on becoming fatigued. When I start referring to any person—client, teammate, vendor, etc.—as an “idiot,” my mentor recognizes that I am fatigued and just need some time off. When all of the people around you are the source of your problems, the common denominator is most likely you. Take at least a three-day weekend, free from work! - John Hittler, Evoking Genius
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