Are you burning yourself out?

I am of the mindset that while I may not be the brightest or most talented person in the room, my strong work ethic will secure my place at the table. And I do my best in the office. Looking back, my lifestyle was clearly not acceptable. But back then, like a badge of honour, I wore my workaholism. I had an amazing career the way I saw it, and would work as hard as it took to do well.

As time passed every sign of a normal life went out of the window. I didn’t have the energy or the motivation to hang out with my friends, I ignored my health and I got disillusioned with my job. There wasn’t a single catalyst — it wasn’t because I started enjoying the kind of work because I did, in general terms.

Instead, it was a classic burnout case: numerous, persistent stressors over a prolonged period of time left me utterly exhausted and not functioning at my best. I went from bright-eyed and bushy-tailed to gravely burned out in a few short years. Here are signs that you might be going down the same road.

Burnout will wreak havoc on your wellbeing, happiness, relationships, and job performance if left unchecked. It is important to know what to look for, in order to catch burnout and battle it early.

Here are 10 symptoms of a burnout you can experience:

1. Fatigue

A strong sign of burnout is when you always feel drained. Exhaustion may be mental, physical or emotional. It’s the feeling of not having any energy, of being totally exhausted.

2. Missing the Inspiration

If you no longer feel excited about something, or you no longer have the internal drive for your job, there is a fair risk that you will experience burnout. Can this manifeste other ways? It can be harder to get up in the morning and it can be harder to drag yourself into work each day.

3. Cynicism, anger and other negative feelings

You might feel like what you’re doing no longer matters that much, or you might be disillusioned with it all. You may find you feel gloomy more generally than you used to. Although everyone experiences some negative emotions from time to time , it is important to know when those emotions will become rare.

4. Cognitive Problems

Burnout and chronic stress can impair your ability to focus or pay attention. When anxious, our focus narrows to concentrate on the negative aspect we interpret as a threat. That helps us deal with the problem at hand in the short term. When stress becomes chronic, this narrow focus continues for a long time and we have difficulty paying attention to other things.

This “fight or flight” tunnel vision can negatively affect your ability to solve problems or make decisions. You might find that you’re more forgetful and have a harder time remembering things.

5. Slipping Performance in Job

Not sure if you’re burned out? Now compare your job performance to your previous years results. Since burnout appears to occur over an prolonged period of time, taking the long-term view may reveal whether you are in a temporary slump or are experiencing more chronic burnout.

6. Interpersonal Home and Job Issues

This appears to be worked out in one of two ways: (a) you ‘re having more disagreements with others, such as getting into fights, or (b) you ‘re withdrawing, interacting less with your friends and family members. You may find that you’re tuned out, even though you’re physically there.

7. Not Taking Care of Yourself

Some people experience unhealthy coping mechanisms when they suffer from burnout, such as drinking too much, smoking, being too sedentary, eating too much fast food, not eating enough or not getting enough sleep. Self-medication is another concern that may involve depending on sleeping pills to sleep, drinking more alcohol to de-stress at the end of the day, or even drinking more coffee to build up the courage to get yourself through morning work.

8. Being concerned about jobs … If you’re not at work

Even if you do not work at a certain time, if you waste mental energy on your job, your work will interfere with your ability to recover from stress. In order to recover, you need time to yourself after the actual task stops … and time when you stop thinking about that task altogether.

9. Generally Decreased Satisfaction

This is the propensity to be less comfortable with your job and your home life. You may feel sad or even trapped when it comes to whatever happens at home, in the group or in your social activities.

10. Health Concerns

Extreme chronic stress can cause real health issues such as digestive disorders, heart disease , depression and obesity over a long period of time.

And do you have a burnout experience? If you notice the above signs in yourself, here is what to do.

  1. Take relaxation to heart

If you’re taking yoga, listening to music, reading a book, walking or talking with friends and family, you ‘re just thinking about what you’re going to do to relax.

2. Cultivate a luxurious and non-workable life

Seeking something out of work that you’re enthusiastic about is exciting, stimulating, and really gets you going — whether it’s a hobby, sports, exercise, or community service (along with other things that we list here, such as relaxation, being able to “switch off” and taking part in satisfying non-work activities).

3. Disconnect

Although communication technology can encourage efficiency, it can also allow work-related stressors to spill into family time, holidays and social activities. Set limits by turning mobile phones off at dinner and delegating those hours for email checks.

4. Get Enough Sleep

Research indicates that getting less than six hours of sleep a night is a significant risk factor for burnout, not least because insufficient sleep can adversely affect the efficiency and productivity of your work. It can lead to tiredness, decrease your enthusiasm, make you more vulnerable to stressful activities, impair your mental function, make you more prone to mistakes and make it more difficult to juggle competing demands. Even the opposite is true: We saw that sleep would actually boost your memory.

Recovering from chronic stress and burnout requires removing or reducing the demands on you and replenishing your resources. Sleep is one strategy for replenishing those resources. For inspiration, check out our tips to get better sleep.

4. Stay Attuned

It ‘s important to tune in to the precursors of those symptoms, physical signs that you might be under too much stress: more headaches, tight shoulders, a tense neck or more frequent stomach upset. Burnout causes depression in terms of mental wellbeing, and if you are stressed this can also affect the burnout level — it goes both ways. So if the problems you are dealing with are very bad and get worse, you will need to seek professional assistance.

Check out my related post: How do you develop resilience?

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