Burnout

Since I started working in the city of Port-of-Spain in my country from May 2014, I’ve been pushing my body. From my mom and my aunt being in hospital, to lecturing 5PM-9PM three to five days a week in addition to my 8AM-4PM job, to focusing on my business as well as trying to make time for friends, family, spirituality, health, fitness and even love, a lot has been going on and I can officially say that I’m exhausted. I started to notice that I’m forgetting simple things, my mood isn’t as great as I would like it to be and my motivation for things I know I’m passionate about is dwindling. For the month of February, arriving at the office before 8AM was no longer a priority, I decided that a bit more sleep was necessary. It’s not something I’m proud of but it was something that was necessary. According to Wikipedia, Burnout is a psychological term that refers to long-term exhaustion and diminished interest in work. Burnout has been assumed to result from chronic occupational stress (e.g., work overload). Psychologists Herbert Freudenberger and Gail North have theorized that the burnout process can be divided into 12 phases, which are not necessarily followed sequentially.

  • A compulsion to prove oneself
  • Working harder
  • Neglecting one’s own needs
  • Displacement of conflicts (the person does not realize the root cause of the distress)
  • Revision of values (friends or hobbies are completely dismissed)
  • Denial of emerging problems (cynicism and aggression become apparent)
  • Withdrawal (reducing social contacts to a minimum, becoming walled off; alcohol or other substance abuse may occur)
  • Behavioural changes become obvious to others
  • Inner emptiness
  • Depression
  • Burnout syndrome

When my classes end at 9AM, I would usually be home by 10PM. I’ll spend at least an hour preparing for the next day, which takes me to 11PM, then bed time will be between 11PM and midnight. I’ve even pushed my waking time to 5AM to guarantee 5 hours sleep as I know I can function on this bit of sleep for a few days, but this does not always happen. I enjoy my lecturing immensely, so it’s something I will always work into my schedule even though the classes end at 9PM. I have some ideas for making changes to my work schedule for the May to August semester to ensure I get more rest, so until then I’ll try my best to find little ways to curb the burnout I’m currently experiencing.

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