Are you a perfectionist? You're more at risk of burnout

Life can be pretty full-on if you won’t settle for anything short of perfection.

This can especially be the case at work – with people putting in extra hours to ensure precise targets are met and going above and beyond to get the right results.

But it seems high achievers who strive for perfection at work might find these high standards steep into their personal lives and, ultimately, put their health at risk.

According to a new study, perfectionists are more likely to suffer burnout – and it is not just work-related stress that can be the cause.

Mental health expert and study lead author Professor Gordon Parker explains that burnout is common among high achievers in the workplace – but it’s becoming more common in their personal lives, too.

While lots of people seem to put burnout down to a ‘work problem’, Gordon says the stress we experienced at work or at home can ‘set the wheels for it in motion.’

And that, actually, this burnout is more common in certain personality traits.

Professor Gordon says: ‘Our analyses indicated that burnout may also develop as a result of predisposing personality traits – especially perfectionism.

‘People with perfectionistic traits are usually excellent workers. However, they’re also prone to burnout as they set unrealistic and unrelenting standards, which are ultimately impossible to live up to.’

Off the back of the study, he’s released a self-help guide to burnout, called Burnout: A Guide To Identifying Burnout And Pathways To Recovery – to help those experiencing it.

We’ve also identified some key signs you’re heading for burnout this new year – so you can stop it in its tracks.

Warning signs you’re heading for burnout:

  • You constantly feel tired, no matter how much sleep you get
  • You feel increasingly cynical – about your job, yourself, and the state of the world
  • You’re impatient
  • You have a negative attitude and perspective
  • You have no enthusiasm or excitement for work
  • You often forget things
  • Your organisation has fallen off a cliff
  • Even small decisions feel completely overwhelming and impossible to make
  • You feel like you can’t properly relax, even at the weekend
  • You’re starting to feel detached from your life and work
  • The quality of your work has dropped
  • You’re experiencing regular physical symptoms of stress, whether that’s headaches or a nausea

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