10 Signs of Burnout You Should Watch Out For
Burnout is a common experience among the working population. Jobs can be such a chore sometimes. Sometimes it’s too difficult, other times it’s too boring. It’s a hard balance to attain, especially if you want to maintain a healthy mind and body in the process. That is why being stressed out to the point of breaking is such a common phenomenon. The worst part is that burnt-out people sometimes do not realize that they are burning out until they’ve reached their breaking point and finally crack. That is why it is important to recognize the signs of burnout early on.
You have trouble sleeping
If you’re having trouble falling (or staying) asleep, chances are, there’s too much going on in your mind that it can’t help but wake you up. Lack of sleep is a common occurrence among people who are chronically or severely stressed. It’s like your brain is trying to wake you up and force you to resolve whatever is causing your stress so that it can properly shut down.
Everyone who’s experienced some form of sleep deprivation before would know how important good and ample sleep is. Sleep affects mood, health, and overall performance. Getting too little of it can cause drastic changes to many different aspects of a person’s wellbeing.
You feel tired all the time
Because you’ve probably been skimping on sleep for a long time now, it’s only natural for you to feel exhausted. However, with burnout, you don’t just feel exhausted physically but emotionally and mentally as well. It’s as if you don’t have any energy left to do anything. You might even feel too emotionally and mentally drained to think about wanting to do anything. It feels like running on near-empty all the time.
You’re snarkier than usual
If you feel like you’ve been snapping at everyone for even the smallest reasons, it might be a sign of emotional distress caused by burnout. You might have been thinking pessimistically lately, or being cynical or sarcastic more times than usual. It’s like your mind has gone into offense mode in order to defend itself from the stress that you’re experiencing.
You might not notice it right away, but you’ll know it when people are suddenly avoiding you. Someone (probably a friend or close colleague) might even point it out bluntly or call you out on your cynicism. You might also notice a lot of strain going on at home where there’d either be bickering and fights, or everyone is tight-lipped around you.
It’s difficult to concentrate
Concentration is one of the things that wither away with burnout. And why not? It’s hard to pay attention to everything that goes on around you if you have something nagging and picking at your mind. It’s the mind and body’s natural response to zero in on something that it perceives as a threat during high-alert situations. This stress-response is roughly the same, even in chronic stress situations such as those seen in people experiencing burnout. It’s no wonder that if you’re burned out, you find it very hard to pay attention. Your mind is simply too busy attacking the one thing that is stressing you out.
Courses like Sharpen Your Focus And Intelligence Through Mindfulness might help improve your concentration if you find that you’re having a difficult time staying focused.
Everyone seems so difficult
Sure, your boss might have always been a little bit challenging, but suddenly everyone at the office is hard to get along with. Another thing that is hampered by burnout is your emotional health. The ability to get along well with others is one of the hallmarks of emotional health. If you feel like you’ve lost the sense of gratitude and appreciation for the people around you, and you find it harder and harder to treat everyone well, it might be a sign of emotional imbalance.
Did you know you can learn how to Build Healthy Relationships Using Emotional Intelligence?
You think of work all the time.
When you find yourself pondering on your job in the middle of a shower, you might just be too worried about a specific work event. If you find yourself thinking of how you could have prepared better for that failed presentation two weeks ago in the middle of the night while you lie in bed, you might be overdoing it. If you’re worried about the papers you have waiting for you after the weekend just as you’re driving home on a Friday night, you definitely have a problem.
Thinking about work when you’re not even working is a sign that your work is eating up your life and that you’re down the path towards becoming burnt out (that is if you’re not already there). To establish a good work-life balance, there should exist a healthy set of boundaries between professional and personal life.
You’ve adopted unhealthy coping habits.
Smoking, excessive drinking, even drug use are some of the most extreme examples of poor coping habits. Some people turn to these unhealthy practices in order to “get away from it all,” and it applies to burnout as well. If you find that you’ve been drinking too heavily or have picked up some unwanted vices recently, take a step back and assess your stress levels. Try to identify the root cause of it. It might be a problem at work that’s been burning you out, and you haven’t even realized it.
Poor job performance
Low energy, low drive, poor social performance, lack of emotional control—all of these things can contribute to failing marks at work. If your job has been declining for quite some time, you might want to tackle the problem that’s been causing it. It might be burnout. It is only logical that burnt out people are less likely to succeed at work. While they might be the most stressed-out in the office, it does not necessarily translate to effort or productivity. On the other hand, it’s actually the exact opposite.
You feel miserable
It’s not rocket science. It is scientifically supported that job stress, and burnout can cause clinical depression. Sure, some jobs are just tough to love, but being miserable to the point that it affects your health and relationships is another story. In situations like this, take a step back and reassess your priorities. Is there a way to address your depression in order for you to be able to carry on with your job? Or is your job the only thing standing between you and your psycho-emotional wellness?
Development of stress-related health problems
Stress can be quite nasty, especially if it is at a level where it causes a person to burnout. If left unchecked, there are a plethora of things that can go wrong with you physically.
We’ve already addressed the mental effects of stress that burnout causes, but what about the physical? What exactly are we looking at? We’re looking at obesity, heart disease, and cancer, among many others. Lifestyle diseases are attributed to other lifestyle factors such as activity and diet, but those two things are hinged on how well you want to take care of yourself. And if your mind is too stressed to take care of yourself, the rest of your body gets neglected.
If you feel like you’re experiencing burnout, seek help from a professional such as a life coach to help you sort things out and cope with the demands of work through positive coping mechanisms such as time management, proper diet and nutrition, and personal development.