Burnout: It's a real thing

K. William Boyer
Devils Lake Journal

As kids, you get an image in your head of what your dream job is and what your dream life will be.  As adults, you get the cold, harsh truth that reality is very different from fantasy. 

It makes me think back on a lyric to a very famous song.... "I had a dream... now life has killed the dream I dreamed." 

Let's talk about a hot topic that is hitting home with several hundreds, thousands, probably even millions of people in today's society, "burnout." A silly word when it comes to talking about a feeling about one's job, but it is a true and all too real word as well. 

So what is burnout? Burnout is the state of mind that comes with long-term, unresolved stress that can negatively affect your work and your life.

There are 5 signs of feeling burnout: 

  1. ANXIETY. ...
  2. LACK OF SLEEP AND GENERAL FATIGUE. ...
  3. LACK OF CREATIVITY AND PURPOSE. ...
  4. EMOTIONAL NUMBNESS. ...
  5. A CYNICAL OUTLOOK.

In an ideal world, nobody would experience, but we don't live in an ideal world. It's a sad reality but many people go through this. But what are the causes of burnout? Well there could be several....

Perhaps you feel you have just accomplished all you can at your current job and now you feel you are in a rut? Perhaps your in a work place with very limited resources due to circumstances beyond your control and you are left to find creative solutions and it became taxing on you? Perhaps you have peeple needling (another silly word) at you at your workplace and you are trying to remain cordial? Perhaps you have become disillusioned with your career choice? Perhaps you are experience emotional hardships?   The list could go on and on. 

Over the past several years, the workforce industry has become more competitive and more cut throat. That in itself can cause burnout. Not to mention trying to work through a global wide pandemic which has cause a major shift in working conditions and business operations in general, causing fewer people and more stress, fueling the burnout notion. 

In a recent study, Hr news noted that burnout is becoming increasingly common with searches for ‘signs of burnout’ showing a 24% increase throughout 2020 compared to the previous year. 

Some say once you feel burnout all you need is to take a break, take a vacation, and you'll come back good as new. Unfortunately, once you hit your burnout point, it isn't something you can recover from in three easy-peasy steps. It can take weeks, months, or even years. Sure taking a break will work for a few weeks maybe, but if you are in a position where your job isn't improving then you fall right back into the burnout mode you were in before. 

Burnout causes, high blood pressure, headaches, fatigue, social isolation, heart palpitations, a whole slew of problems that, if left unchecked, can worsen. 

So here is the BIG question: How do you get rid of burnout? 

It's a question for the ages my friends, and there really is no one perfect answer for it. For some it is the reevaluation of a job and resources, some it is a holiday, others a move to a new job or career, others still, it involves packing up and moving to a whole new place completely. 

Best advice I can give is if you are experiencing burnout currently, just take one day at a time, put one foot forward, and find even the smallest things to smile about.....and  patiently think for the solution to come.

Burnout, it's a silly word, but it fits. 

William K. Boyer is the managing editor of Devils Lake Daily Journal, reach him at kboyer@gannett.com