I have been quiet the last few weeks because I have been under serious burnout after completing the four part series regarding the “Twist and Turns” of my biological sister and mine relationship and the passing of my uncle. It like these events has sucked the life out of me and now I need to recover from being burnt out and I am NOW sure where to start.
The term “burnout” first appeared in the 1970’s by the American Psychologist Herbert Freundgenberger, who described it as consequences of severe stress and high ideals in “helping” professions however; it affects anyone and has no prejudice. While there is not a clear definition of burnout or no such diagnosis, it simply can be defined as exhausted, listless, and unable to cope.
Is it just STRESS? Since burnout is loosely a result of prolonged stress it is difficult to distinguish between the two. There are a few key differences that can help identify if it is just stress or the far more serious condition of burnout:
There are 12 stages that can lead up to burnout but not everyone will experience all 12 or they won’t happen in a particular order. By the time I realized it this time I am in a burnout, it is too late. The last time was about to experience a burnout was around Birth Mother’s Day and Mother’s Day and I kept myself completely engaged to avoid all the stages. Now I have all three main symptoms of burnout, which are:
- Exhaustion: I am feeling drained and emotionally exhausted, unable to cope, tired and down, and do not have enough energy. Physical symptoms I am experiencing are pain and digestive problems.
- Alienation from (work-related) activities: I have completely become distant emotionally and feel numb about my tasks and events.
- Reduced performance: I am unmotivated to do tasks at work and at home because I have become cynical about my tasks and have no concentration or memory.
Since these symptoms of burnout, I find myself withdrawn for everything from work, family, communication and just being myself. I am living in a nightmare of not giving myself a break. Who has time for a break especially when I am full time worker, mother and wife? I need to rejuvenate and disconnect from what is causing the burnout.
Granted I can’t simply leave my life obligations however I can start to focus on myself a little bit better. Allowing myself to take a break will allow me to reset my mind, I will gain new perspectives, I will improve relationships around me and I can achieve the break out of the cycle of stress.
The first step is that I finally recognized I am powerless right now. I have to change this because it can get worse. So today and in the future, I will reinvest in myself to become reconnected, focused and passionate.