Are you emotionally and physically exhausted, or do you feel so sluggish that you can't move a muscle? Do you have to drag yourself out of bed in the morning to get to work? Is your 8-hour shift becoming too much for you? You may be experiencing burnout.
Burnout is mental and physical exhaustion that can drain the joy from your job, friendships, and family interactions. Consistent exposure to stressful situations, such as caring for a sick family member, working long hours, or witnessing upsetting news about politics or school safety, can lead to this stress condition.
However, burnout is not always easy to spot. With that in mind, we've put together a to help you spot it and take appropriate action:
• It's exhausting
You wake up tired, your muscles ache, and you may find it difficult to pay attention in meetings or to people speaking to you. You may also feel emotionally drained, as well as experience headaches, stomach aches, and changes in appetite or sleep patterns.
• You feel useless
There is a sense of incompetence as if you are incapable of being effective. It results in a lack of achievement, productivity and a decline in performance.
• It seems like everything gets under your skin
Your moods swing at the drop of a hat, and you're easily irritated, exploding at the drop of a hat. When the stress of your job becomes too much for you, you become irritable with co-workers (or, worse, customers or clients), friends, or family members. It can also get worse if things don't go according to plan.
• Sleep is hard to come by
Due to high stress and poor working conditions, burnout makes it difficult to sleep. Sleep deprivation increases your risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes, and kidney disease. Furthermore, lack of sleep makes work more difficult and stressful.
• Taking drugs, drinking, and other comforts
Using food, alcohol, or drugs to relieve stress may be a sign of job burnout. This can have serious consequences like obesity, as well as alcohol and drug abuse, which can result in a variety of health issues.
• There are too many sick days
Burnout can cause both absenteeism and presenteeism (showing up to work even if you're sick). Those sick days and feeling dreadful at work can lead to even more burnout. Other forms of long-term stress can weaken your immune system, making you more susceptible to colds, flu, and insomnia. It can also result in mental health issues such as depression and anxiety.
• Is that another headache?
Herbert Freudenberger, the psychologist who coined the term "burnout" in 1974, identified frequent headaches as a physical symptom of burnout. Tension headaches are extremely common, but as with sleep issues, there is no scientific evidence to support this.
People who are burnt out frequently feel overwhelmed. As a result, they may withdraw from socialising and confiding in friends, family, and co-workers.
• Hair loss
If you're so stressed that you're losing your hair, there's no reason to stay in your current job with your current set of responsibilities.
• Having chronic anxiety
Do you experience excessive anxiety even after you've left the office for the day? If this is the case, you should be concerned about the possibility of burnout.
Avoid burnout by incorporating self-care into your daily routine. Even if you're working long hours, studying for exams, or caring for young children, remember to add a little joy to your day. Try going for a walk, talking with a friend, or watching a fun show. Small self-care gestures like these can prevent stress from escalating into something more serious, such as burnout.
However, if you are concerned about friends or family members who may be experiencing burnout, try listening to their concerns, validating their emotions, and providing specific types of support that can help lighten the load.