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Work Well Always: Prevent and Cure Burnout

written by: Nicky LaMarco•edited by: Jean Scheid•updated: 6/25/2011

Burnout can cause missed work, inability to concentrate, and the feeling that every problem that comes up is impossible to solve. Curing burnout is a long-term commitment to a healthy mind.

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    What is Burnout?

    Prevent Employee Burnout Burnout affects the body and mind. It is caused by extreme stress that occurs over a long period of time. Burnout will steal your energy and reduce your production. Burnout can have you feeling hopeless, negative, unmotivated, and uninterested. Burnout happens when stress is not dealt with.

    While there are some things that a business can do, such as implement strategies like job rotation that help prevent burnout, there are also some things that you can do yourself to help ward off burnout.

    First, let's take a look at the symptoms of burnout.

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    Burnout Symptoms

    Fatigue: Burnout causes decreased sleep quality and quantity, leaving the person feeling fatigued throughout the day.

    Carelessness: Burnout causes people to care less about things they once cared a lot about. It is like the mind does not want to deal with anything else.

    Decreased Immune System: Stress causes a weakened immune system.

    Irritability: Burnout can leave the sufferer on edge.

    Moodiness: Lack of sleep and not dealing with burnout causes frustration.

    Frustration: Feeling frustrated is common.

    Depression: Depression can set it with burnout because, well, it is depressing.

    Emotional Withdrawal: When someone experiences a burnout they will almost always withdraw from the outside world.

    Health Problems: Burnout is caused by stress. Stress alone can reduce the effectiveness of the body's immune system. A person who is burned out will have a weakened immune system and when undealt with will most likely get sick.

    Less Quality Work: When burnout strikes the ability to create the level of quality you did before seems to disappear.

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    Preventing or Curing Burnout

    Burnout is almost always caused by working too much and not dealing with stress and anxiety as it comes along. The stress and anxiety pile up. Each time something is not dealt with the body sends out a signal. It could be a headache, fatigue, illness, or muscle aches. Whatever the sign the body sends out is ignored and not dealt with. Over a period of time the body cannot handle it anymore and this is where burnout comes in. It is almost like the body just shuts down and waits to be taken care of before it starts to work properly again.

    Curing and preventing burnout at work is doable. Start by heeding the warning signs. When stress rears its ugly head take a moment to deal with the problem. When the problem is solved move on. A great way to decrease the impact of everyday stress is by engaging in meditation at least twenty minutes a day. Regular exercise and a healthy diet will also help. Keep the sleep schedule the same every night: go to sleep at the same time every night and wake up at the same time every morning. This will increase sleep quality and reduce stress.