New York City psychologist Herbert J. Freudenberger,
Ph.D., coined the term burnout in the 1970s when he noticed a
common psychological syndrome in many of his patients. Those fatigued,
frustrated patients had lost the sense of meaning in their lives.
They were unable to get along with family members, friends, and
co-workers. And they felt disillusioned. The discovery prompted
Dr. Freudenberger to write Burn-out: The High Cost of High Achievement.
And the name stuck.
Burnout often starts with fatigue. You feel drained, even when
you get a good night's sleep or a long weekend of rest. Eventually,
small demands such as getting new wiper blades seem overly taxing.
Then you become irritable or depressed. Other problems can include
loss of concentration, forgetfulness, and decline in motivation.
Lots of stress and a poor ability to cope
with it in a healthy way. 'People who are highly idealistic and
who get a great sense of who they are from their jobs are most
likely to burn out', says John Henry Pfifferling, Ph.D. That's
because people who suffer from burnout tend to hold themselves
to extremely high standards-so high that they set themselves up
for failure. Regardless of your personality type or your coping
skills, a sustained stressful lifestyle will eventually affect
the levels of brain chemicals, says Ahnna Lake, Ph.D. This produces
a tired, irritable, scatterbrained feeling. So the person with
burnout may start dreading and avoiding important appointments.
Some people deplete their brain chemicals
so badly that they need prescription medication to boost those
levels back to normal, says Dr. Lake. If you have already tried
some of the solutions listed below and you still feel tired and
irritable, consider seeing a doctor for drug therapy.
If burnout is hurting your creativity, listening
to the right music may help return the spark. --- Barbara Anne
Scarantino in Music Power: Creative Living through the Joys of
Suggested pieces: Scheherazade by Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov
Chariots of Fire by Vangelis
Nutcracker Suite by Pyotr Ilich Tchaikovsky