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Burnout is Real: How to deal with it

amarachukwu profile image Amarachi Emmanuela Azubuike ・4 min read

In this article, I'll be addressing a very common problem among developers which a lot of people usually neglect, and which if left unchecked could result to devastating long term problems.

Let's look at Burnouts, how to know you're going through one and how to bounce back.

Introduction

Burnout is REAL! And Burnout !=Stress, but could be stress-induced.
Just in case you're hearing about burnouts for the first time, let's quickly see a definition.

Burnout is a serious state of chronic exhaustion that can have a whole range of negative impacts on your mind and body, and hence your entire life, including your ability to write code.

Burnouts can happen to anyone, and is usually less easy to detect in some than other people. However it is important for everyone to understand their symptoms in order to detect when your body is exhausted and needs hibernating.

Burnouts is what happens when you try to avoid being human for too long.

What Causes Burnouts?

Burnouts are basically caused by

Stress

When you've stressed up yourself mentally or physically up to the point of exhaustion and yet you don't pause to refill, more like driving on an empty tank, your engine will definitely get worn out or even clogged.

Negativity

When you consciously or unconsciously keep feeding your mind with negative thoughts or words, or allow the negativity of others really get to you, it grossly affects your mental state which can result to very unhealthy self esteem, inferiority syndrome, self hate and subsequently mental health problems.

Perfectionism

For each time you struggle to make things perfect, you procrastinate and feel dissatisfied with yourself which in turn causes a mental strain.

Work-Life Imbalance

When your work takes up most of your time and you struggle to find some time off for yourself, friends or family, you find yourself exhausted, tired and extremely stressed most of the time.

Lack of social life

Some techies have a not-so-admirable social life. This could make one a recluse, which means less fun time, which also means more stress.

How can you know you're having Burnouts?

  1. You seem to lack motivation such that you mostly have to drag yourself to do the things you usually do with ease.

  2. Irritability. Most times when we experience burnouts we seem to be more irritable, jumpy and easily angered.

  3. Frequent headaches and changes in sleep patterns (insomnia may even set in)

  4. Difficulty to concentrate.

  5. Dissatisfaction even when a milestone is reached. You basically find no joy in doing the things that used to make you happy.

  6. Lack of energy, zeal and enthusiasm.

There are other ways to discover when we're having burnouts, as everyone have different symptoms to show for it.

So, how can we deal with burnouts when it sets in?

  1. Relax: Well... If you're having a burnout because of stress, the next best thing to do is to take some time off to cool off and relax (relas and be taken kiaroff😄) It will do you much good. Deadlines can wait, your mental health first ❤

  2. Engage in more social activities: Make friends, have fun, get social, attend events, mingle with actual people, gist, let off some of those steams, hang out with friends, go see some movies or anything... This could help clear your head a bit.

  3. Be more intentional about your life: Yes, obviously you're already very intentional about your career, but without maintaining a balance, your career can try to rob you of family/friends time.
    Sometimes work-life balance can be impractical, and at such times, you've got to set up strategies to maintain harmony between both sides.
    Be more strategic about timing. You can decide to block off some days/time as reserved for family, so you can have time for yourself too. If the pressure is coming from your workplace, try reaching out to management (if you're not management of course) to discuss better terms that could work which wont necessarily mean you throwing in your life.
    Try to set goals for what must get done and what can wait.

  4. Take social media breaks sometimes, especially if you feel mentally exhausted. Trust me, the world will remain as it were when you get back. Take some media break and rebound saner and better.

  5. Sleep more: Techies are said to be nocturnal beings, however you have to sleep more especially when you're experiencing burnouts.

  6. Travel (vacation): If you can, move, see places, change environment, forget about everything and just breath😌.

  7. Exercise: Exercise is not something we do just to lose weight, we exercise to keep fit (mentally and physically). You don't need to register with a Gym center, there are several apps you could use to begin your exercise routines at home.

By now, you should have guessed if you're already having a burnout or not.
Well, if you are, that's not too bad, go back up and check out some of those tips again. You'll also find more helpful tips here

And if you're not having a burnout yet, awesome, let's look at some of the ways to avoid having burnouts in the first place.

How to Prevent Burnouts

You can prevent burnouts by doing everything listed above (under how to deal with burnouts). The difference would be that in your case, you're not doing them to bounce back, rather in order to maintain mental and physical fitness.

Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes and plug it again, including you.

Conclusion

Thing is, we don't need to wait till our body screams to take a break or go on vacation and all that, this is something we all need to fit into our schedules and follow them as religiously as we take #100daysofcode. It's all a matter of intentionality and priority.

Thanks for reading my article and don't forget to take a break. Do follow me on twitter 🙌🏽

Discussion (9)

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andrewbaisden profile image
Andrew Baisden

Good article I have faced the worst burnout when working for a bad company in a toxic environment with lots of micro management and a bad boss. It was awful there were days when coding just felt like a pain and it gave me headaches thinking about it. I found that music can help in a lot of cases.

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spirovskib profile image
Bozidar Spirovski

Burnout is not just a thing to deal with personally. It affects the organization, and we as colleagues can actually help.
Our help won't fix the burnout immediately, but will give a little kick in the behind to look at the better, more positive things.

medium.com/@spirovski.b/mentor-tho...

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amarachukwu profile image
Amarachi Emmanuela Azubuike Author

I agree. Your article is superb too, thanks for sharing.

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formicidaemate profile image
Benjamin Saul

This is a real great article Amarachi. Currently feeling this now with my current job, I am 100% burnt out. I have thought about quieting but I am left feeling really guilty for my team because we are so few and if one person is to leave the whole team would suffer, but the whole team is burnt out.

This week I am going to try and take into concentration this week and see if it helps.

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amarachukwu profile image
Amarachi Emmanuela Azubuike Author

That's the thing about burnout, it doesn't just affect the individual, the whole organisations feels the impact too.
I hope you're able to get your rest as you said❤

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keemosty profile image
Hakeem Abdul

Great read❕.Personally just experienced burnout recently. Had to take a break. Thank you for your share on this🙏🏾❤️

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amarachukwu profile image
Amarachi Emmanuela Azubuike Author

I'm glad you found it useful❤

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naresh profile image
Naresh Poonia

Thank you for such a detailed article on burnouts, I'm sure it will help many
I was on the verge of burnout once, I could avoid one because of my Mentor.

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amarachukwu profile image
Amarachi Emmanuela Azubuike Author

Thanks for reading. I'm glad you had someone who helped you pull out.