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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Back to Lecturing

The new semester at the University began last week. For this second semester, I’ll be lecturing three courses, one on Design Patterns using Java, another on Databases with MySQL and lastly the programming language C. This will take four classes with a total of 16 hours per week, with four 4-hour classes, for a period of 12 weeks, with an additional week if needed. I’m most excited to lecture the Design Patterns course as this is the first time it will be delivered by the University. I know that my ability to successfully deliver the content will affect the likelihood of  the course will be delivered again. Thankfully to sourcemaking.com‘s book on Design Pattern and James W. Cooper’s book on Design Patterns in Java, there will be no need for me to prepare course notes. I’ve also been fortunate to find a C Programming Tutorial from tutorialspoint.com which also eases me up from preparing notes for the C Programming course. I’m yet to find the perfect handout for the Databases course. The students in the class have no database experience and very little database knowledge, so finding notes with very simple explanations is proving to be a challenge. For the next 11 weeks, I will be managing my full time 8-4 job and my lecturing. This will be an exciting challenge as this schedule is a 6 hour increase from the lecturing I did last semester, so it will definitely test me and take me out of my comfort zone. Seeing that my classes end at 9PM, Monday to Thursday and I usually go to bed after 11PM, I’ve decided that it would be best that my morning wake up time be moved from 4AM/4:30AM to 5AM to allow some additional time for sleep. On weekdays, I aim for 5-6 hours sleep but that never really happens, so hopefully this can be attained with my 5AM wake up call. The next 11 weeks will be quite busy but it all contributes to a greater plan and purpose.