What, exactly, is burnout? In this day and age of constant interruption, noise and distraction, people are finding themselves suffering more and more from stress, anxiety and exhaustion. With work demands at an all time high and employees being able to bring their work home with them via their laptop or mobile device, it’s easy to get caught up in that world of all work and no play. Social media, the constant need (shall we say, “addiction”) to be connected and an admittedly over the top FOMO (fear of missing out), this generation of young professionals and young families are tired. They’re moody. They’re stressed. And they’re losing out on precious time for themselves and their loved ones. Burnout is just around the corner for so many, and this nasty character can impact your work, your relationships and your physical and mental well being. So we’re going to walk you through the signs of burnout and how to prevent it, before it drags you down.
Helpguide.org defines burnout as “a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. It occurs when you feel overwhelmed, emotionally drained, and unable to meet constant demands...Burnout reduces productivity and saps your energy, leaving you feeling increasingly helpless, hopeless, cynical, and resentful. Eventually, you may feel like you have nothing more to give.”
There are a number of signs of burnout that can be physical, emotional and behavioural in nature:
- Feeling tired all of the time, feeling exhausted, lack of energy
- You seem to get sick more easily, lowered immunity
- Chest pains, heart palpitations
- Loss of appetite
- Trouble falling asleep
- Lack of focus, forgetful, lack of concentration
- Can’t seem to perform basic tasks
- Poor performance, procrastination
- Lack of drive/passion in work and interests
- Sense of hopelessness
- Loss of motivation
- Feelings of self doubt
- Increasing negativity
- Withdrawing yourself from others, detachment
Burnout is different than feelings of excessive stress. When you’re stressed, you can still feel like you can possibly get on top of things. You’re overwhelmed and have too much on your plate, but you still do what you can to manage it. Burnout hits when you stop caring, when the energy and life has been sapped out of you and it’s impacting your whole being and in turn, the people around you that you care for. Burnout is dangerous. So if any of these signs speak to you, then it’s time you take control and make a change before burnout becomes all too real!
Before burnout takes over, take a look at some ways to prevent it that are easily attainable. Start to implement these simple, straightforward steps into your daily life and you’ll be feeling on top of the world - and most importantly your life! - in no time.
Learn to Say No
If you’re constantly a people pleaser who feels the need to say yes to everything, each job a colleague asks you for help with, each social engagement, whatever the case may be, you can easily become exhausted. Learning to say ‘no’ so you can have time for yourself to breathe and rest is important.
Talk to Family and Friends
If you’re not feeling like yourself, ask for help. It’s important to have people in your life you can lean on, whether they help you take on some of your overwhelming tasks or they simply listen and spend time with you doing things that are positive and enjoyable. Good relationships are key to well being.
‘Switch Off’’ from Technology
It’s far too easy to bring work home with you, and quality time spent with family or just recharging can easily slip away. Even spending your spare moments scrolling through your news feed and staring at a screen instead of shutting it down and pulling out a book can have consequences. It can impact your mood, your connection with others and your ability to relax and self reflect. Take the time to shut it down and connect to what is really important. You know what that is.
Get your blood pumping, refocus your mind for a few moments and release those happy endorphins! Being too busy to fit in a full and proper workout routine is fair enough some days, but there is no reason why you can’t take a 10 minute speed walk around the block on your lunch break. Even the littlest daily break to get your body moving and mind refreshed can make a difference.
Keep It Positive
Positive people keep the energy around you positive. Don’t get dragged down by negative talk and surroundings that don’t lift you. Grab a friend that makes you smile or take yourself on a solo journey and go do something you love. Whether it’s getting a cuppa, hitting the beach or snuggling up with a book, take time to find your happy place.
Burnout isn’t something to sneeze at. If you can relate to any of the above signs then start making a change now. We live in a world where it’s so easy to get caught up in everything going on around you and become overwhelmed trying to keep up. But remember, you can’t give your best self to any person or any job unless you’ve taken care of your health and well being first. You do you. And the rest of the awesomeness will fall into place.