Burnout is a state of emotional, physical and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. It occurs when you feel overwhelmed and emotionally drained and unable to meet constant demands. As the stress continues, you start to lose the interest and motivation that made you take on a particular role in the first place.
Burnout decreases productivity and depletes your energy, making you feel more and more helpless, hopeless, cynical, and worse. In the end, you may feel like you have nothing left to give.
The negative effects of burnout are reflected in every area of life – including your home, work and social life. Burnout can also cause long-lasting changes in your body, leaving you vulnerable to illnesses such as the common cold and the flu. Because of the many consequences, it is important to deal with burnout immediately.
Signs and Symptoms of Burnout
Most of us have days when we feel helpless, overburdened, or unappreciated. However, if you feel that way most of the time, you can burn out.
Burnout is a gradual process. It doesn’t happen overnight, but it can creep up on you. The signs and symptoms are subtle at first but get worse over time. Think of the early symptoms as red flags that something is wrong that needs to be addressed. If you pay attention and actively reduce your stress, you can prevent a major failure. If you ignore them, you will eventually burn out.
Physical signs and symptoms of burnout
– Feeling tired and exhausted most of the time.
– Lowered immunity, frequent illnesses.
– Regular headaches or muscle pain.
– Change in appetite or sleeping habits.
– Stomach pain or intestinal complaints
– Ringing in the ears
– More frequent colds
– Breathing problems
– Tightness in the chest
– Sexual problems
Emotional Signs and Symptoms of Burnout
– Feeling of failure and self-doubt.
– Detachment, feeling alone in the world.
– Loss of motivation.
– Increasingly cynical and negative.
– Reduced satisfaction and sense of accomplishment.
– Very difficult to relax
– Feeling rushed
– Crying spells
– Not being able to enjoy things anymore
– Anxiety complaints
– Poor concentration, forgetfulness
– Lack of self confidence
– Socially avoidant
– Inability to make decisions
– Less initiative and imagination
Behavioral signs and symptoms of burnout
– Withdrawing from responsibilities.
– Isolating yourself from others.
– Procrastination, needing more time to get things done.
– Using food, drugs or alcohol to deal with it.
– Releasing your frustrations with others.
– Skipping work or arriving late and leaving early.
The difference between stress and burnout
Burnout can be the result of ongoing stress, but it is not the same as too much stress. Stress generally brings too much: too much pressure that demands too much of you physically and mentally. But stressed people can still imagine that getting everything under control will make them feel better.
Burnout, on the other hand, is not enough. Having a burnout means feeling empty and mentally exhausted, without motivation and without worries. People with a burnout often see no hope for a positive change in their situation. When excessive stress feels like you’re drowning in responsibilities, burnout is a feeling of being dried up. And while you are usually aware that you are under a lot of stress, you don’t always notice a burnout when it happens.
Causes of burnout
Burnout often stems from your job. But anyone who feels overworked and undervalued is at risk for burnout, from the hardworking office worker who hasn’t had a vacation for years to the exhausted mother who stays at home looking after children, housework and an elderly parent.
But burnout isn’t just caused by stressful work or too many responsibilities. Other factors contribute to burnout, including your lifestyle and personality traits. In fact, what you do in your free time and how you view the world can play as much of a role in causing overwhelming stress as work or home.
Work-related causes of burnout
– Feeling that you have little or no control over your work.
– Unclear or too demanding expectations.
– Do work that is monotonous or not challenging.
– Working in a chaotic or high pressure environment.
Do you recognize the above symptoms? Seek help. You don’t have to do it alone.