Burnout is an advanced state of physical and mental exhaustion commonly triggered by the long-term involvement in emotionally-demanding situations. It occurs when committed, enthusiastic or devoted individuals become disillusioned or disheartened with a career, a cause or a relationship from which they used to derive a significant portion of their identity. Burnout leads to a complex set of emotions which include resentment, a sense of futility, feeling trapped and seeing no future. Although stress plays a role in its development, burnout differs in the sense that it lowers levels of hope, optimism and confidence. Burnout can take you past the point of caring what happens, not a good place to be for many reasons.

Identify the causes

Burnout is not caused solely by too much work or too many responsibilities. An assortment of complex dynamics plays a role. These include personality traits, lifestyle, poor communication channels, working within a dysfunctional team / system and being in conflict with the ethics / values / integrity of an organisation / team / partner. Being in the regular presence of demanding and ungrateful, self-centred individuals, especially when they themselves are under pressure, can easily become a potential boiling pot for disaster.

Revaluate your goals and priorities

Burnout is a sure sign that some key aspects of your life have become dysfunctional. These obviously require some correctional action. Start by re-establishing your original goals, desires and objectives in life. Are these still as important to you and how do they fit into your hierarchy of needs? Which have you been neglecting and does it really matter? Try to avoid sentimentality when considering these issues. Be practical and realistic in your judgement. Compare your input (contribution and sacrifice) with the output (financial and personal rewards) that you receive. Is it still a worthwhile investment, especially if you take a long-term view? Can your situation be improved, or is it perhaps time to quit and move on to a new beginning?

Think strategically

With any advanced state of despair, a condition called ‘emotional flooding’ sets in where desperation takes over and logic flies out the window. In a frantic attempt to alleviate your immediate anguish, you may tend to act somewhat irrationally or impulsively. Be aware of this and proceed with caution – you need to keep your eye on the baby as well as the bath water. Make sure that you give yourself sufficient time to formulate your thoughts in a logical manner before you act. It is crucial that you manage your stress levels during this period.

Use a supplement that assists with neurological function

People are quick to resort to a multivitamin during times of mental or physical exhaustion. The benefits of these, however, are not supported by medical science with many large trials not being able to demonstrate a measurable benefit. There are, however, some botanical and biological agents that can be used as a supplement with the significant potential to make a real difference. Roseroot (Rhodiola rosea), also known as “arctic root” or “golden root”, is a perennial plant that grows at high altitudes in the arctic regions of Europe and Asia. Extracts of the roots have been used in traditional Western medicine in Scandinavian and European countries to combat fatigue, reduce the effects of stress and to aid convalescence during illness. Preparations containing roseroot extract are typically used to increase concentration and enhance mental performance during times of emotional and physical hardship. NeuroVance, containing roseroot extract, has been designed to help you stay cool, calm and collected. Its multi-modal pharmaceutical action is achieved through its ability to enhance separate but interconnected components of brain function, thereby giving your brain a physiological advantage during demanding and stressful periods.

Take ownership

We are quick to want others to change. We also often want situations to alter so that we can be accommodated as individuals. Unfortunately, this is often unrealistic. A more practical approach may be to see if one can change one’s own attitude in order to bring about positive change. This will take effort and planning. Reactive individuals wait for opportunities or solutions to come to them. Proactive individuals, on the other hand, strive to create their own opportunities or solutions. The difference between taking the initiative and responsibility for bringing about change, rather than waiting for change to happen, is like chalk and cheese, especially when measured over a lifespan. Heading towards a state of burnout will virtually always prove a catalyst for change. It is also an opportunity to rediscover what works for you and what does now, ideally before your reach meltdown. This process will require courage and effort. Believe in yourself.