Signs You’re Burnt Out And What To Do About It
“Burnout is what happens when you try to avoid being human for too long.” – Michael Gungor
Do you feel emotionally and physically exhausted? Do you often feel detached from things you used to care about? Do you feel you’re unaccomplished? It’s likely that you’re experiencing burnout.
It is a state of chronic stress that feels like a hazard and is mostly experienced by passionate high-achievers. Working with heavy workloads and exceptionally long hours constantly can put great pressure on you leading to full-fledged burnout. And soon you start to feel that you can’t function properly any longer, whether in your career or your personal life.
However, this does not occur out of the blue.Our mind and body often send us signals and warnings that something is wrong. All we need to do is pay attention before it’s too late.
“Burnout is nature’s way of telling you, you’ve been going through the motions your soul has departed; you’re a zombie, a member of the walking dead, a sleepwalker. False optimism is like administrating stimulants to an exhausted nervous system.” – Sam Keen
Even the best jobs can lead to burnout. The harder you work and the more motivated you are to succeed, the easier it is to get in over your head.
The prevalence of burnout is increasing as technology further blurs the line between work and home. New research from the American Psychological Association and the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago reported the following:
- 48% of Americans experienced increased stress over the past 5 years
- 31% of employed adults have difficulty managing their work and family responsibilities
- 53% say work leaves them “overtired and overwhelmed.”
A Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) poll found that “burnout from my current job” was one of the top reasons that people quit.
Burnout can get the better of you, even when you have a great passion for your work. Arianna Huffington experienced this first hand when she almost lost an eye from burnout. She was so tired at work that she passed out, hitting her face on her desk. She broke her cheekbone and had to get four stitches on her eye.
“I wish I could go back and tell myself that not only is there no trade-off between living a well-rounded life and high performance, but performance is also actually improved when our lives include time for renewal, wisdom, wonder, and giving. That would have saved me a lot of unnecessary stress, burnout, and exhaustion.” – Arianna Huffington
Burn out often results from a misalignment of input and output; you get burnt out when you feel like you’re putting more into your work than you’re getting out of it. Sometimes this happens when a job isn’t rewarding, but more often than not it’s because you aren’t taking care of yourself.
Before you can treat and even prevent burnout, you need to recognize the warning signs so that you’ll know when it’s time to take action. Here they are, in no particular order.
Ten Signs You’re Burning Out
1. Health problems.
Burn out has a massive, negative impact on your physical and mental health. Whether you’re experiencing back pain, depression, heart disease, obesity, or you’re just getting sick a lot, you need to consider the role your work is playing in this. You’ll know when burnout is affecting your health, and you’ll just have to decide whether your approach to work is worth the consequences.
2. Cognitive difficulties.
Research shows that stress hammers the prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain responsible for executive function. Executive function impacts your memory, decision-making abilities, emotional control, and focus. When you notice that you’re making silly mistakes, forgetting important things, having outbursts of emotion, or making poor decisions, you’re likely burning out.
3. Difficulty with work and personal relationships.
Stress bleeds over into everything you do, particularly how you interact with people. Even when you feel that you’re keeping your stress under control at work, it can rear its ugly head at home. Often it’s your relationships that suffer. Stress makes many people more likely to snap at others, lose their cool, and get involved in silly, unnecessary conflicts. Others are more inclined to withdraw and avoid people they care about.
4. Taking your work home with you.
You know that sickening feeling when you’re lying in bed thinking about all the work that you didn’t get done and hoping that you didn’t miss something important? When you can’t stop thinking about work when you’re at home, it’s a strong sign that you’re burning out.
Burnout often leads to exhaustion because of the toll stress takes on your mind and body. The hallmarks of burnout fatigue are waking up with no energy after a good night’s sleep, drinking large amounts of caffeine to get you through the day, or having trouble staying awake at work.
“Burnout is not the result of doing too much; it is the result of not getting enough rest.” -John Patrick Hickey
Burnout can turn you very negative, even when you’re usually a positive person. If you find yourself focusing on the downside of situations, judging others and feeling cynical, it’s clear that negativity has taken hold and it’s time for you to do something about it.
7. Decreased satisfaction.
Burnout almost always leads to a nagging sense of dissatisfaction. Projects and people that used to get you excited no longer do so. This dip in satisfaction makes work very difficult because no matter what you’re putting into your job, you don’t feel like you’re getting much out of it.