Diamond Notes: Burnout
By Senior Master Sgt. Bill Barry, 27th Special Operations Aircraft Maintenance Squadron First Sergeant
/ Published July 12, 2016
CANNON AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. -- Editor’s note: This is the ninth in a series of commentaries by Cannon’s first sergeants and additional-duty first sergeants providing mentorship and leadership experience to Air Commandos, while highlighting Air Force standards.
As members of the finest Air Force in the world, we all strive for mission success; but it takes hard work and dedication to be successful, which leads to long hours, frequent deployments and separation from loved ones.
Trying to maintain rigorous demands at work without focusing on a more balanced lifestyle could cause you to increase your stress level or worse - it could lead to a “burnout!”
Burnout is a state of emotional, mental and physical exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. It can occur when you feel overwhelmed and unable to sustain the constant demands of work and or home life.
If you are feeling stressed and continue to feel the stress for a long period of time, you might begin to lose motivation to perform a job you were once passionate about until you have nothing more to give.
Basically, job productivity and your quality of life can unintentionally be affected in a negative way by a burnout. Symptoms can range from feeling tired and drained most of the time, to a sense of failure or self-doubt, loss of motivation, feeling helpless, trapped or defeated, withdrawing from responsibility and even isolating yourself from others.
But here is the good news – it is never too late to reverse burnout damage!
If you, as an Air Commando, have a high-demanding job and you recognize approaching burnout warning signs, do not ignore the symptoms – get help as soon as you can.
Your first sergeant can help you make sense out of what you are feeling and offer help for you to reverse some of the strain. There are also many helping agencies on base that can further assist as well. Your shirt can help you find the right agency that meets your current needs.
Just remember, in order for anyone to help you, you must take an active approach and be willing to seek assistance.
While first sergeants and helping agencies are a great start, YOU can profoundly help yourself by taking time to self-reflect. By focusing on where the stress is coming from, Airmen can take an active role in switching routines to minimize the root cause.
That may mean slowing things down. You can take some time off, re-evaluate personal goals and priorities, and even ask to change your current position in the work center.
Keep in mind, our duty to military service can be challenging. Balancing your lifestyle is important to sustain a positive environment both on- and off-duty.
Gaining knowledge and empowering yourself to combat stressors you face to avoid burnout, and asking for help or advice is vitally important to avoid becoming overwhelmed.
And if burnout does occur, it can be challenging, but not impossible to reverse the effects. Be resilient and patient with your struggles until you reach your desired outcome and get back on track – your wingmen are here to help.