Over it already? Here's how to cope with year-end burnout

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We have just under a month to go before end-of-year-leave, so we're all frantically trying to meet deadlines before we shut shop on 2013. Emotionally, mentally and physically, most of us are at the end of our tethers, and many are suffering from burnout.

Say what?

Burnout refers to prolonged or ongoing exhaustion and is associated with a loss of interest in every day life; extreme burnout feels like you can't cope with day-to-day life and you feel overwhelmed by life's demands. It's usually caused by excessive stress and women tend to suffer from it most often due to our tendency to neglect our own needs.

What are the symptoms?

  • Body aches (especially in the neck and upper back muscles)
  • Headaches
  • Gastric ulcers or gastric reflux symptoms (abdominal pains or cramps) due to excessive stomach acid production
  • Excessive weight gain/ loss due to appetite fluctuations
  • Insomnia and anxiety
  • Fatigue, helplessness and hopelessness
  • Depression can set in
  • Strokes and heart attacks in extreme cases

Banish burnout 

- Slow down, superwoman: instead of taking on more work, try as best to slow down. - Check your attitude: you can't get better if you keep doing the things that led you to burnout.

- Get healthy: if you're not in the habit of exercising, now's the time to start, even if you just do 30 minutes of cardio with an exercise DVD at home.

- Sharing is caring: look around and see who is in your corner. If you have support systems, now's the time to use them.

- Get clarity: if the source of your burnout is a heavy workload, speak to your bosses about clarifying your job description and not taking on any more responsibilities.

- Press 'reset': cut out unnecessary things from your to-do list and reset your roles and responsibilities.

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