We all experience it. Burnout. Being overworked, too much regular life happening at once, over-commitment, you name it and we have all been there. The unfortunate reality of life is that we are often thrown into situations that require us to over-extend past our capabilities. When this happens most of us run into what’s called “burnout”. So how can we recognize burnout? What are the signs?
Burnout is often contextualized around work however, there are so many things that can lead to burnout: school, family, friendships, or relationships.
Burnout can cause many factors including depressive moods and anxiety. It can also lead to unhealthy coping mechanisms like drinking too much or using drugs as an escape. On the other side, it can lead to continuing to commit yourself further, hence making burnout a cycle. The good news is, if we recognize burnout warning signs, we can prepare and put hopefully be able to stop the cycle before it gets too far.
Check out my post on the Three Pillars of Self-Care
How To Know When We Have Reached Burnout?
Burnout may look different to each person, just as no two fingerprints are alike. That being said, there are some sure-fire warning signs that our brains tell us when we are starting to get burned out. Those may include:
Always being tired
Being tired all the time is our body’s way of saying that we need rest. Even if you are physically getting “enough” (or more) sleep, being overwhelmed with life circumstances will drain your energy very quickly. It may feel like your body just can’t keep up, and to be honest, it might not be able to. Recognizing that this may be a symptom of burnout can help you rest with more intention. Instead of resting for the sake of resting, rest to release the negative energy.
Free time is spent recovering
Even if you have free time, you are spending that free time finding ways to let go, but never feeling fully recovered. Some people even have what’s called “Revenge Bedtime Procrastination” where they will stay up later to “make up” for all the time lost on working during the day. I am super guilty of this when I start getting burned out. Luckily, now that I know it’s a symptom, I can recognize the burnout and understand how to take a healthier approach.
Passions are lost
Things that you used to consider fun, may now feel like a chore or get neglected altogether. The vibes aren’t right, and you can’t get any joy out of the things that you used to love. Being present and in the moment might become difficult, or the drive is completely gone.
Sudden diet change
Eating too much or not enough suddenly is a huge signal of burnout. Maybe you are so busy you forget to eat, draining yourself of nutrients that will keep you energized. Or on the other hand, eating too much or food with poor nutrition will tire you out and make you feel lethargic.
How To Deal With Burnout
Burnout is hard to deal with because it presents itself so often. Recognizing burnout signs early can help you plan better on how to healthily deal with it. Consider taking a mental health day, and don’t commit to anything that day except yourself. If that isn’t a viable option physically schedule out some time (an hour or so) to unwind. Other options to help with burnout are deep breathing meditation, journaling, or exercise. These are all ways that can help your body, spirit, and mind cope with burnout.
Have you ever experienced burnout? Let me know in the comments any tips and tricks that helped you cope with burnout!
Burnout can lead to depression and anxiety among other mental health crises. If you feel like you are in a dark place I recommend finding a therapist or reach out to your loved ones or someone you trust. You are important and loved. If this is not an option for you please see the resources below:
SAMHSA’s National Helpline is a free, confidential, 24/7, 365-day-a-year treatment referral and information service for individuals and families facing mental and/or substance use disorders. 800-662-HELP (4357)
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-8255
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