The past year has been undeniably challenging. Dealing with one obstacle after another has whittled away at our physical, mental and emotional health. For help and some much-needed motivational advice and savvy strategies for staving off burnout, we turned to Brittnea Jones, MA, pre-doctoral psychology resident, Parkview Behavioral Health Institute. Here’s what she had to say.
What is burnout?
According to the 11th Revision of the International Classification of Disease (ICD-11), burnout is a specific type of syndrome classified as the result of prolonged stress and chronic workplace stress that has not been resolved or managed within three dimensions:
- A loss of energy and increased exhaustion
- Mentally feeling disconnected from your environment
- Lower productivity and or inefficacy within your job and environment
While burnout is often related to employment, you can experience this fatigue within any area of your life, such as parenting, caretaking or romantic relationships that may cause extreme mental, emotional and physical exhaustion by way of prolonged stress.
What are the most common causes or reasons for burnout?
Burnout can occur as a result of a variety of factors, but some of the most common can include:
- A heavy workload paired with high demands and minimal resources
- A lack of control, influence or choice over what you do
- Toxic environments both at home and at work
- Low or minimalized recognition
- A work-life imbalance
What are some of the signs of burnout?
A few warning signs and red flags of burnout could include:
- A decrease in attention and concentration
- Increasing frustration levels
- A lack of engagement
- Poor work performance or quality of work
- A chronic state of feeling overwhelmed
However, if left unchecked, the consequences of burnout could lead to any of the following:
- Excessive stress
- High blood pressure
- Becoming disorganized
- Alcohol or substance misuse
What is motivation, and why is it important?
Zig Ziglar said it best, “People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.” Motivation is that fluctuating internal drive that each of us manifests. It’s that desire for change, whether within ourselves or in our environment. It is essential because it is the personal, distinctive and persistent feeling of being energized and goal-directed. Motivation is what causes you to avoid procrastination, stay focused and commit to achieving a specific goal.
What are some strategies for finding motivation amid the challenges of everyday life?
There’s no doubt that it can be a struggle to get motivated, but there are a few dos and don’ts when it comes to harnessing your inspiration. Let’s take a look at each category:
- Discover a sense of purpose and self-motivation for what you do
- Schedule frequent breaks during the workday
- Ask for help and seek support from co-workers, friends or loved ones
- Pair rewards with small tasks to make them more enjoyable
- Engage in fulfilling activities that interest you
- Practice mindfulness and bring your attention back to the present
- Engage in deep breathing as a way to reduce stress in the body
- Ignore the warning signs of feeling burnout
- Check or engage in work-related emails during a weekend break or vacation
- Spend downtime doing unproductive tasks
What advice would you give those struggling to find motivation right now?
First, you must realize you are not alone. Everyone struggles with finding motivation and staying motivated. My advice is to give yourself some grace. You are your greatest motivator when creating change in your life. It can be challenging to dig deep and push through but remind yourself that even a small step is still a step forward.
If you are a loved one are struggling and need help, please call the Parkview Behavioral Health HelpLine anytime at 260-471-9440 or 800-284-8439. This free service is staffed 24 hours a day with experienced specialists who can guide you to the most appropriate care and resources for your situation.