The word “burnout” is a very familiar word in today’s day and age. You can experience a burnout from life events, but work often seems to be the culprit. That stress from work can bleed into your emotional life and cause you to shut down. How do you know when it’s coming and are there signs to look out for?
According to the American Psychological Association (APA), burnouts were at an all-time high across numerous professions during the COVID-19 pandemic. The mix of personal, professional, and health-related stress spurred feelings that were hard to handle. Since then, burnout has become a broad symptom of overworking in hard times. The end result is that being constantly overwhelmed is much more than passing stress. A burnout marks the accumulation of exertion, hopelessness, and tension that can be hard to identify.
What Is A Burnout?
Mental health experts agree that a burnout is the result of chronic stress, which typically stems from the workplace. If a person feels overwhelmed, under-appreciated, and powerless to make more effective changes at their job, a burnout can likely occur. A burnout goes far beyond your ability to perform job duties, though. Your work may suffer, but a burnout may also lead to a series of medical conditions. For example, people who experience a burnout are more likely to develop depression, insomnia, and anxiety. Plus, chronic stress can jeopardize your physical health, especially in relation to heart function.
If you’re wondering whether or not you’re approaching a burnout, continue reading to learn about some common signs, feelings, and symptoms.
Feelings Of Dread Or Lack Of Motivation
A burnout often coincides with feelings of anxiety or a sense of dread related to your work, especially after a few days off. The crazy thing about a burnout is that your motivation and enthusiasm levels can be noticeably low even after a weekend or vacation. Procrastination is another key sign to look out for, especially if you’re unwilling to address certain tasks at work. Now, it is very possible to dislike your job and avoid a burnout because not everyone has the luxury of doing work they enjoy. If you find that the days are harder to get through, the quality of your work continues to decline, and the thought of working is a legitimate fear, a burnout is likely happening.
Your relationship with food can indicate a lot about the goings on in your life, especially if something is awry. In times of stress, it is very common for people to eat unhealthy foods and gain weight. On the other hand, it’s also possible to lose your appetite and avoid food until you shove your face with whatever is in sight. During periods of a burnout, you may crave comfort foods that are fattening and have an increasing or decreasing appetite. If you notice that your appetite is like a rollercoaster, you may be in the midst of a burnout.
Feeling overwhelmed psychologically can often show itself in the form of physical fatigue and exhaustion. When you are physically exhausted, it can make it harder to discover the root of your burnout. If you’re experiencing a burnout, basic tasks like cooking a meal or taking a shower can feel like a burden. Additionally, a day of work can feel impossible to get through. So if you’re more tired than usual and cannot seem to increase your energy, a burnout is the most likely suspect.
Cynicism and Irritability
During a burnout, it is very easy to become more cynical or irritable than usual, especially if decreased productivity and focus accompany the mood changes. The reason for this is because your mood is often the first thing to go downhill during the early stages of a burnout, according to psychologists. If you are usually in a good mood but find yourself more frustrated than usual, you could be approaching a burnout. Don’t let that derail you because if it does, your personal and professional relationships can suffer.
In today’s day and age, sleep troubles are very common. That’s why many health experts continue to stress the importance of sleep and bedtime routines that encourage healthier sleep patterns. Poor sleep hygiene can lead to a burnout, but a burnout can also affect the quality of your sleep. That can cause you to be on a hamster wheel of restlessness and insomnia. Sleep experts say that a burnout can make falling asleep and staying asleep more difficult. Sleep difficulties are often accompanied by tension, stomach problems, and headaches.