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April 5, 2010
by Christie Hunter

Overcoming burnout

April 5, 2010 16:10 by Christie Hunter  [About the Author]

By Debra Bacon
Debra Bacon Contributor

Time becomes our taskmaster

Living in a society where our time is invaded at every turn, whether from cell phones, faxes, computers, skype, IMs, text, or other signals crossing our sphere, burnout is a real concern.

Burnout occurs when what you are doing, just doesn’t work for you anymore. Your once enthusiastic approach to a task now drains you, or feelings of apathy are more the norm, rather than hope and success.

When juggling work, family and social lives, time can become our taskmaster instead of our friend. Finding balance in your life will liberate you, and allow you to overcome burnout.

Signs of burnout

Often, when burnout, people drive themselves harder to makeup for deficits emotionally, physical or otherwise. Denial that a problem exists is common; therefore, identifying signs of burnout is important to our emotional and physical health.

Five signs of burnout:

  • Irritability  When a person feels out of control or unable to mange their life, work or family commitments as desired, they can become troubled. Often this is manifested in the form or irritation or aggravation. When burnout occurs, this state is more constant. You may lash out at co-workers or loved ones.
  • Trouble sleeping  Being stressed out and have multiple deadlines or unfinished business, can make it difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep. Sleep deprivation will cause you to perform poorly.
  • Lack of energy  As burnout creeps in, your energy level drops. A lack of caring or concern sets in, and productivity goes down the drain.
  • Concentration issues  Problems concentrating are common with burnout. When faced with overwhelming schedules and tasks, concentrating can be difficult.
  • Emotional distress  When someone is burnout, being overly emotional is common. For example, you may burst into tears over a seemingly minor incident. On the other hand, you can begin to isolate yourself, and show no emotion to varying circumstances. Either can lead to depression.

Overcoming burnout

Identifying burnout is only part of the solution. Overcoming burnout takes commitment and work on your part. Below are some practical solutions you can implement in your life to eliminate burnout, and enrich your life.

Five steps to balance:

  • Learn to say NO  Over commitment is common, and a part of the reason people burnout. While it is important to please the boss, assess your current workload before saying yes to the next deadline. Perhaps you should allow someone else to drive the soccer team to and from games, or provide the snacks.
  • Get moving  Putting exercise in your schedule can make a world of difference. Exercise helps eliminate stress, clears the mind and keeps the body fit.
  • Prioritize  Assess what you are responsible for presently, and make a list. Evaluate and eliminate. Complete outstanding items that are most important or pressing, and delegate less important tasks to others as appropriate.
  • Get support  A healthy, happy life includes people we enjoy being around; those that bring joy and positive support to our lives. Identify the people that make up your support system. Others are in our lives to help us, co-workers, family, friends, clergy and counselors.
  • Let go  Learn to let go of things you cannot control. You cannot save the world. Let go of any guilt you may feel about not being able to do it all.


About the Author

Christie Hunter

Christie Hunter is registered clinical counselor in British Columbia and co-founder of Theravive. She is a certified management accountant. She has a masters of arts in counseling psychology from Liberty University with specialty in marriage and family and a post-graduate specialty in trauma resolution. In 2007 she started Theravive with her husband in order to help make mental health care easily attainable and nonthreatening. She has a passion for gifted children and their education. You can reach Christie at 360-350-8627 or write her at christie - at -

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