Expectations and burnout at work

One of the most common causes of burnout is work. The reasons for work being so prevalent in burnout cases can be traced back to just one: expectations. However, there are two kinds of expectations that contribute to burnout: internal and external ones. So, let's explore both of them and see if we can find some solutions.

Having expectations is not by definition a bad thing. We work hard trying to meet our goals and naturally that means we must be able to rely on both our own expertise and on those around us. In other words, we can expect ourselves and others to do our best. Yet when those expectations become too high, and they prolong for a long period, they can become the cause of burnout. To prevent or alleviate burnout in those cases, expectations must be lowered.

But that's easier said than done. This is because it is not always clear where they come from. Sure, if you have a boss that expects you to work 80 hours a week and never go on holiday, we can be pretty certain that your burnout cause is external. In other words, you didn't put those expectations there. But in reality things are often more complicated.

Many people feel they need to work long hours, even though it is not explicitly expected. They either feel it is pushed on them by others (external) or they push themselves (internal). It is important to identify which one it is because it tells us what to do to first. When the pressure is external, it is wise to remove yourself from that external situation. In other words, either rethink the specific job or the organization you are in. And leave for the time being.

If however it is you who puts pressure on yourself you'll have to start working on changing your mindset. Preferably by engaging your help team of loved ones and professionals such as psychologists, trainers and haptotherapists. You'll need to disengage from the job too. But you can return to it later, since it was not the cause of the burnout.

Of course, often it is a combination of both internal and external pressure. Still, even then it pays to feel out which one is the best prevalent, so it can steer your decision process in the initial phases of your burnout. Don't worry too much about making these kind of decisions. We all have to go through them, burnout or no. And believe me when I say no job pressure - internal or external - is worth a burnout.

So feel supported, you are not alone in this process.

And take it easy as always. Love.