What is burnout ?

Sam was the boss’s right hand man. Hardworking, intelligent and a workoholic, he had a flourishing career. As director of financial operations, he had to tackle new problems every day, take decisions in minutes, plan, innovate, handle projects and reports, attend conferences, meetings, travel frequently, work almost every walking hour of his day and be ahead of competition. And then suddenly the feeling that he could not handle it all, that he had to escape from it all began to grow and became paramount. He began to lose interest in his work, his family and himself. Sam was diagnosed as being a victim of ‘managerial-stress’, a typical case of ‘Burn-out.’

One of the most common yet most unidentified syndromes of job stress is burn out. It progresses gradually and goes through five recognizable stages:

1.Stage of job contentment: Happy with your job, you put in increasingly more enthusiasm and energy into your work.

2.Stage of fuel shortage: You begin to feel tired and feel your energy sapping. Other symptoms include disturbed sleep, low levels of reactivity, avoiding decision-making and increased cynicism. You will frequently complain that you are not as productive as you used to be.

3.Stage of chronic symptoms: Your emotional problems may manifest themselves as physical ailments such as bodyache, nausea, tension, headaches or backache. The tendency to wake up in the mornings feeling tired is accompanied by the transformation of a once easy-going and calm person into a chronically angry or short-tempered one.

4.Stage of crises: This is the period of critical symptoms. You are forever bothered by work-related problems, but paradoxically unable to focus on work. There is often a strong urge to escape from it all – your job, family and your entire lifestyle.

5.Stage of final breakdown: Finally, you lose your ability to cope with the situation and often take to alcohol and drinks. At this stage, some people may suffer from mental or physical breakdown manifested as either depression or a heart attack.

Are you too going to be a ‘Burn-Out’ case? Take a stress test with your local doc and find out.

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