Feeling depleted, all the time? Learn about the symptoms of burnout and what to do about it.
“Burnout is not a condition that gets better by being ignored.” –Herbert Freudenberger
When you are feeling exhausted, physically and emotionally, that might be one of the symptoms of burnout.
In this article, we’ll describe signs of burnout, it’s causes, and what you can do about.
Ironically, as I was writing this article, my netstick stopped working and the Internet connection was flaking in and out. I touched the device, and it was hot to the touch. I disconnected it, let it cool off, and a few minutes later tried again.
Whaddaya know? It still didn’t work.
That wasn’t funny. But I had to laugh – because I was in middle of writing this article about burnout!
And burnout is just like my netstick – after working too hard, you stop working very well…
So, let’s start at the beginning, with a definition of burnout.
What is burnout, and what causes it?
According to www.merriam-webster.com, burnout is “the condition of someone who has become very physically and emotionally tired after doing a difficult job for a long time.”
Burnout is characterized by exhaustion and an inability to maintain previous levels of functioning. While certain professions have higher levels of burnout, anyone can experience burnout when they are under continual stress, work long hours, and feel unappreciated.
When you are burnt out, you feel exhausted. You might experience anxiety in general, or in specific areas of your life, like school or work.
You don’t feel like yourself when you are burnt out. It can feel like you’ve lost your vitality and excitement for things that you used to enjoy.
Maybe you feel angry, upset, or sad about things that hadn’t bothered you in the past.
And you’re not performing like you used to.
Here’s a list of some common burnout symptoms:
- lack of motivation
- persistent negative emotions, including anger, frustration, or cynicism
- frequent illness or headaches
- reduced performance or productivity
- low mood
- poor concentration
- feeling numb or disattached
Burnout is usually caused by a persistent environmental imbalance, at work or at home, that causes stress and makes you feel out of control. The imbalance might be about anything, but what’s important is that it weighs you down and after a while, it becomes too much.
You start feeling it in some of the burnout symptoms mentioned above.
There are some fields that are more susceptible to burnout, such as emergency responders and helping professions. Here is a list of 10 professions that are at high risk for burnout.
Sometimes it’s like a thing that slowly crept up on you, and sometimes it feels like a sudden shock of “What is wrong with me?!?”
If this sounds familiar, you might want to take a online self-test to check your risk for burnout.
What can you do to reduce burnout?
My net stick did start working again… but not right away.
If you are feeling burnt out, you need support and self-care. Here is a list of my favorite 50 self-care activities to get you started.
You might need to make some changes in your life. For some people, that means taking time off of work. Others might consider a job or career change.
It really depends on your specific story and experience.
When you realize that you are burnt out, you need to reevaluate your priorities.
If it feels like too much to deal with on your own, you might want to make an appointment with a therapist.
No matter what, don’t ignore the signs of burnout. Your body and brain are signalling that something is not right.
Whether this is something new, or you’ve been feeling like this for a long time, take notice.
Take the time to take care of you.