Burnout is a serious issue that can have a real impact on your mental, physical, and emotional wellbeing. It can be hard to recognize when you’re suffering from burnout – after all, it’s not always a clear-cut diagnosis – but understanding the early signs of burnout is important.
If you’ve been feeling more exhausted than usual, having difficulty concentrating, or are just generally unmotivated, it’s possible you’re heading towards burnout. To help you recognize if this is the case here are ten signs that may indicate you’re about to experience (or already are) in the midst of this difficult period in your life. Plus, we’ll offer some helpful tips for how to overcome burnout and get back on track.
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What Is Burnout and Why Is It Important to Recognize?
Burnout is a state of emotional, mental and physical exhaustion that can occur when you feel very overwhelmed with work or life responsibilities. It’s more than just being tired—it’s a feeling of being completely drained, both mentally and physically. It’s estimated that 40% of employees don’t feel appreciated at work, and workplaces with lack of appreciation and recognition are more susceptible to burnout.
For those in the helping professions, such as social workers or counselors, burnout can pose an even greater risk. These jobs are emotionally and physically draining, so it’s important to find ways to mitigate burnout before it hits. But how do you know if you’re experiencing burnout in the first place? Luckily there are a few signs that will give you an indication that you need to take action.
Signs That You May Be Experiencing Burnout
Burnout is a real problem and knowing what to look out for can be key in identifying it early on and taking the steps necessary to prevent it. Here are some of the most common signs that you may be experiencing burnout:
Feeling cynical or critical at work.
Lowered immunity leading to frequent illnesses.
Feeling exhausted, empty, and unable to cope with the everyday demands of work.
Loss of motivation, difficulty concentrating, and a decrease in productivity levels.
Difficultly making decisions or completing tasks.
Avoiding social interaction or feeling emotionally detached from co-workers.
Experiencing chronic feelings of irritability or agitation.
Having physical symptoms such as headaches, insomnia, or high blood pressure.
Turning to unhealthy coping mechanisms such as over-eating, substance abuse, or self-isolation.
If you recognize any of these signs in yourself, it’s important to take steps immediately to address them before they become worse.
Common Causes of Burnout
Have you been feeling rundown lately and don’t know why? You could be experiencing burnout, and if so, you’re not alone. According to the American Psychological Association, burnout is a “state of emotional, physical and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress.” It can be caused by deficient social support, taking on more than one can handle or poor self-care. Here are some warning signs that might mean you’re experiencing burnout:
Lack of adequate social support
Do you often feel like no one understands what’s going on in your life? Or that your relationships with other people are dissatisfying or non-existent? A lack of adequate social support is a major sign that you may be suffering from burnout.
Taking on more than one can handle
Are you trying to juggle too many tasks at once or working too much overtime? If you find that your workload is too demanding and unmanageable, it could be an indication of burnout.
Another sign that you may be struggling with burnout is if you’re not taking proper care of yourself. This could include anything from skipping meals because of a hectic schedule to isolating yourself from friends and family members. If any of those sound like habits of yours, it might mean that your body is trying to tell you something—take a look at how healthy (or unhealthy) your lifestyle is and make adjustments accordingly!
Strategies to Cope With Burnout
Everyone has their own ways of coping with burnout, but there are some strategies and practices that can be effective for everyone.
One of the best ways to reduce stress and fatigue is to practice relaxation techniques. Consider incorporating yoga, meditation, or even just deep breathing into your daily routine. These activities help activate the body’s relaxation response, which can improve your mood, reduce tension in your muscles, and even help you sleep better.
It’s essential to prioritize taking care of your physical and emotional energy. This means making sure that you’re getting enough sleep each night (7-9 hours a night!), eating nutritious food throughout the day, exercising regularly, and getting plenty of fresh air and sunshine. Fueling your body with these things will help replenish energy so that you can cope with stressors more effectively.
Structure & Boundaries
It’s vital to create a daily schedule if it doesn’t already exist for you — like if you’re working from home or an office — so that it becomes easier to plan out tasks and prioritize ones that are most important for both productivity and for taking care of yourself mentally. Setting boundaries around work time will also make it easier to manage burnout: be sure to keep checking in with yourself throughout the day so that you don’t end up overworking yourself!
Ways to Practice Self-Care
One of the best ways to combat burnout is to practice self-care. Regularly taking care of yourself can help to reduce stress and fatigue, and keep burnout at bay. But what does self-care look like?
Well, it can include a whole range of activities—anything from listening to music or taking a shower to going for a walk or exercising. According to Forbes, there are 134 activities that can be added to your self-care plan.
Exercise is a popular form of self-care, as it helps you to release endorphins and feel good about yourself. It can also help with reducing stress and anxiety levels, allowing you to maintain positive thoughts. Additionally, exercise helps you build up your strength and stamina so that you can face any physical or emotional challenge that comes your way.
You just need 10–15 minutes each day for some kind of physical activity—it doesn’t need to be anything extravagant. For example, take a walk around the block after dinner or do a few yoga poses in the morning before starting your day. Other ways to practice self-care could include journaling, taking regular naps, eating healthy meals, engaging in arts and crafts projects, meditating or simply spending time with loved ones. By taking the time for yourself each day and engaging in activities that make you feel peaceful and fulfilled—you will be better equipped to handle the rigors of daily life without succumbing to burnout.
Need Help Overcoming Burnout?
If you’re looking for a comprehensive guide to incorporating self-care into your daily routine and effectively managing burnout, we highly recommend our ebook bundle, “Burnout to Balance.” This mini program has been meticulously crafted to provide you with a wealth of knowledge and practical strategies for overcoming burnout. Inside, you’ll find tips on time management, stress reduction techniques, and personalized self-care plans tailored to your specific needs.
Staying motivated and avoiding burnout is a challenge. However, it’s not impossible. Here are a few tips that can help you stay motivated and avoid burnout:
Set Boundaries Around Digital Device Usage During Off-Hours
Burnout can be caused by overexposure to work. Setting boundaries around when you will and will not use digital devices for work-related tasks can help keep work from taking over your life. For example, consider setting a rule that limits work emails to specific hours of the day or week, or that you won’t be checking emails after a specific time each night.
Incorporate Regular Breaks Into the Workday
Taking regular breaks throughout the day is essential to keeping yourself motivated and avoiding burnout. The key here is to take breaks even when you don’t feel like taking them — don’t wait until you’re burned out before taking a break. To get the most out of each break, try going outside for some fresh air or engaging in some physical activity. This will help make sure each break helps refresh your mind and body, giving you an extra boost of energy for your workday as well as an improved sense of well-being overall!
Discover A Sense Of Purpose And Self-Motivation For Work
Finally, a great way to stay motivated and avoid burnout is to discover a sense of purpose and self-motivation for the work that you do. Consider thinking about how your job contributes to the greater good, or ways in which it has a positive impact on the people around you – this can give you an extra push when it comes to tackling difficult tasks!
Burnout can be a tricky and potentially dangerous condition, so it’s important to try and recognize the signs early on. If you think you’re experiencing burnout, the best thing you can do is to take the time to rest and practice self-care. This might include getting more sleep, engaging in enjoyable activities, and speaking to a therapist or a support group, or anything else that brings balance back into your life.
The key takeaway is to be proactive when it comes to your mental health. Burnout doesn’t have to be the end-all, be-all of your life, but it can be if you don’t deal with it properly. Make sure you’re taking the time to rest and nurture yourself, and you’ll be on the road to recovery in no time.
Aidan is a certified personal trainer and former Managing Director of Progressive Supplements, a company specializing in plant-based and natural gym supplements. With a wealth of experience in health and wellness spanning two decades, he's dedicated to sharing valuable health and fitness insights to support your well-being.
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