Burnout is physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion and is the result of prolonged stress. The term was coined by psychologist Herbert Freudenberger in the 1970s. While stress from burnout usually comes from your job, your lifestyle can also add to this. At some point, we will all experience stress from work but it develops into burnout when it’s extended and starts negatively affecting your life. Burnout can leave you feeling overworked and overwhelmed. It may feel like every day is a bad day or like you can’t get out of bed in the morning. The symptoms of burnout begin to spill over into every area of your life if you don’t deal with them. Burnout doesn’t happen overnight but instead usually sneaks up on you. It’s important to know the signs that something is wrong so that way you can manage stress before things get worse.
Symptoms of Burnout
- Exhaustion. You may feel drained and exhausted. It’s one thing to be tired but constant exhaustion can be overwhelming leading to the point of not wanting to get out of bed.
- Anxiety. When burnout creeps up on you, you’ll likely start experiencing anxiety which will interfere with your ability to work and cause problems in your personal life.
- Insomnia. Another symptom of burnout is not sleeping even when you try to. Stress and anxiety can cause sleep disturbances. Without sleep to recharge, your life and health will be affected.
- Feeling useless. You could be feeling useless or like you’re not enough. It might even feel like no matter what work you produce or what you do, it’s just not good enough.
- Depression. Not everyone who experiences burnout will struggle with depression. However, burnout and depression can be connected.
- Being more emotional than usual. With burnout, you may be suffering from severe mood swings. There could be times where you find yourself angry and irritable or notice you blow up at small inconveniences.
- You hate your job or your work performance is poor. Not being able to be productive can lead to poor job performance. Burnout can also make you feel like you hate your job which causes you to dread going to work.
- Lack of concentration. Lack of concentration is a sign of burnout and can keep you from being able to focus on your work. It may also take you longer to complete tasks.
- Declining health. Burnout can lead to health problems like high blood pressure, headaches, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, and chest pains. These are signs that you’re deteriorating. There’s also an increased risk of illness because your body is depleted.
- Loss of appetite. You may notice you’re not hungry and that you’re skipping meals.
- Pessimism. People with burnout could be feeling negative. They often see no hope or positivity in any situation.
- Isolation. People experiencing burnout begin to isolate themselves from others. This could look like distancing yourself from co-workers because you don’t have it in you to be social.
- Neglecting your well-being. Being consumed by stress can cause you to neglect your overall well-being.
It’s not only important to know the signs of burnout, it’s also important to discuss how you can overcome it.
Take the day off. Taking time off from work can be beneficial to our mental and physical health. Spend your day off engaging in non-work-related activities. You can even spend the day in bed. This gives you a break and allows time to recharge.
Seek help. If you have a support system, talk with them about what you’re going through. It could also be helpful to reach out to a professional for counseling or coaching.
Know your options. If your current schedule or workload is too much, talk to your boss about your options.
Learn to say no. You don’t have to agree with or do everything asked of you. Learn to stop overextending yourself. Remember, “No.” is a complete sentence.
Meditate. Meditation is a great way to reduce anxiety and stress as well as help you relax. There are tons of free guided meditations you can try that are geared towards anxiety and stress.
Unplug. Take some time away from your electronic devices by unplugging as a way to recharge and reconnect with yourself.
Struggling with burnout doesn’t have to be long-term. Once you find the right coping methods or treatment, you will start feeling better.