Beating Burnout: 4 Tips to Overcome This Overwhelming Feeling
Burnout is a mental state where you feel emotionally and physically exhausted due to prolonged stress at work, home, or other important areas of life. It usually arises when you, despite all the effort and hard work, are unable to meet the constant demands of your home or work environment. The stress continues and you start losing interest and motivation to maintain your duties anymore.
What does Burnout look like?
The condition may lead to;
- Reduced productivity
- Energy drainage
- Increased feelings of helplessness
- Hopeless and cynical thoughts
- Feeling of resentment
- Demotivation and giving up on work
You may feel like you’ve nothing more to give. The negative effects of the situation spill over your personal, social, and work life. You may develop other mental and physical illnesses. Prolonged stress can lead to depression and anxiety, helplessness may trigger hopelessness and despair. You become vulnerable to frequent headaches, colds, flu, and fever. The undue stress causes muscles to stretch resulting in body ache.
People often confuse burnout with stress. They don’t work through the situation which may lead to dangerous consequences. If you’re confused about whether you’re facing burnout or is it just stress, ask yourself the following questions.
- Do you feel like every day is a bad day?
- Do you feel like you’re wasting energy on your work and home?
- Do you feel exhausted all the time?
- Do you find your work-related tasks numb and dull?
- Do you feel that whatever you do never make a difference?
- Do you crave appreciation and recognition at work?
Well, if the answer to most of these questions is yes then it is probably burnout, not stress. To make it a little more clear, we have outlined some signs and symptoms of the condition for quick and appropriate indication.
What are the signs and symptoms of Burnout?
Burnout isn’t an overnight process and develops gradually to creep up on you. Initially, the signs and symptoms are subtle like feeling burdened, overloaded, unappreciated, and dragging yourself through the day. However, the condition worsens with time.
The physical signs and symptoms of burnout include;
- Feeling tired all the time
- Drained energy and lowered immunity
- Frequent illnesses like headaches and muscle pain
- Change in appetite
- Abrupt sleeping schedule
Emotional signs and symptoms of burnout are;
- Sense of failure and self-doubt
- Loss of motivation
- Negative or skeptical thoughts
- A feeling of helplessness and hopelessness
- Decrease satisfaction
- Feelings of detachment and loneliness
Behavioral signs that indicate burnout are;
- Withdrawing yourself from responsibilities
- Isolating and avoiding social gathering
- Using drugs and alcohol
- Scolding friends and family because of your frustration
- Skipping work; coming late and leaving early
- Increased procrastination
All these signs must be considered as red flags indicating that something is wrong and needs to be addressed. You must pay attention to them and reduce your stress so that you can avoid major consequences.
What causes burnout?
The causes of burnout stem from your workplace or household duties. Anyone who feels like overworking but not getting enough appreciation is at the risk of burnout. Hardworking people, be it in offices or homes when don’t get appreciation are likely to suffer from such a mental state.
The major cause of burnout is stressful work. Other factors may include your personality traits, lifestyle, your hobbies, your stress management abilities, etc. feeling little or no control over your work, lack of recognition, appreciation, and rewards, exceptionally high work-related demands, monotonous and unchallenging work routine, and high work-place pressure are key work-related causes of burnout.
In addition to them, many factors from your lifestyle cause burn out as well. Some of them are working too much, no social life, lack supportive relationships, taking on too many responsibilities, and not sleeping or resting enough.
Finally, the personality traits which may cause burnout include your pessimistic mindset and views, reluctance to delegate, working to achieve high only, consuming your mind over small mistakes, perfectionistic tendencies, etc.
How to deal with burnout?
When you’ve recognized the warning signs of burnout, you need to address the issue immediately. This is because you’re already past the breaking point and any delay can lead to severe and harmful consequences. You need to push yourself through the exhaustion and work for the emotional and physical damage caused by the situation.
This may not be very easy but your sincere effort can bring you the desired results. To deal with the situation, adopt a 3-R approach i.e. recognize, reverse, and resilience. First of all, you need to recognize the warning signs of burnout. Observe the emotional, physical, and behavioral changes that you’re going through. List them out and compare them with standard symptoms or discuss them with a psychologist.
Next, you need to reverse the damage by seeking emotional support and managing stress. Talk to your trusted friends and family members, tell them how you feel, talk your frustration out or vent. Then look for the possible solutions to manage the problems. Finally, build your resilience to stress and turmoil. Take care of your physical, emotional, and mental health.
To implement the “three R” approach, we’ve got some amazing tips for you. Keep reading to find out what you need to do.
Tips to battle burn out
Following tips can help you to prevent and deal with burnout. They will help you to cope with the symptoms, regain energy, build your focus, and attain a sense of well-being.
Seek emotional support
During the state of burnout, the smallest of the problems seem unbeatable. Everything looks bleak and you can’t manage to gather energy and help yourself. The situation takes its toll and stress over the brain increases. The best antidote to such a stressful condition is social contact and interaction. You need to find someone you trust the most. It can be your siblings, parents, friends, any teacher, colleague, or anyone you trust. Talk to them about how you feel or what you’re going through. They can help you with some positive suggestions to overcome stress.
A good listener can calm your nervous system through a healthy discussion. So, try to reach out to your closest people, be more sociable at work, limit your contact with negative people, find new friends, and build a community of positive people.
Change your outlook towards your work
If you find your job dull, boring, unchallenging, and monotonous with no career advancement, change it at once. Quit the job and do something you love to do. When you’ve no interest in working in a field, don’t waste your time there. However, if you cannot afford to change a job, look for a practical solution then. When you cannot change the situation, you change yourself, your thoughts, and your outlook towards it.
You cannot live with someone you hate and if life forces you to do so, you start finding something good to make your stay worthwhile. Similarly, you need to change your perception about the job you hate but cannot quit. Try to find some value in your work and maintain a work-life balance. Try to make friends at the office, interact with them, have lunch or tea together, etc. It will help you develop some positive feelings about your work and office.
Re-evaluate your goals
Burnout is likely to make you feel that something important in your life is missing or that you’re unable to give your best because you’re inacapable. However, you need to shrug off these negative thoughts and re-evaluate your goals, priorities, and dreams. You are not here to just work, work, and work. Give yourself a little time to relax, reflect, and heal. Don’t overextend yourself. Take a break from technology, take out time for your health. Learn to say no. Try not to bring your office home. Spend quality time with family, get plenty of sleep, exercise, yoga, and meditate daily.
Take care of your health
Taking care of your health doesn’t mean that you need to be physically fit only. You need to take care of your brain and mental health as well. For that you need to do 3 simple things;
- Eat healthy food especially brain-boosting food
- Make exercise and physical workout a part of your daily routine
- Yoga and meditation is a must
Healthy food will not only keep your body fit but your brain healthy as well. Try to eat food that is good for your brain. Google out some brain-boosting food and incorporate them into your diet. Exercise daily. Go out for a walk or cycling. Spend some time with nature because it helps you heal. Finally, build your focus and concentration through yoga and meditation. Avoid excessive consumption of caffeine and nicotine. Avoid drugs and alcohol.
Prolonged stress can lead to burnout which can hamper your mental and physical health. You must recognize and address the situation before it is too late. Find out the warning signs and try to overcome the situation with natural remedies. However, if the situation persists, feel free to contact psychologists and mental healthcare providers.
After receiving his undergraduate degree in psychology, Scott went on to work as a teacher and educational counselor while working towards his master’s degree. He has spent several years working with children and adults and has personal experience with Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder, Dyslexia, and Depression.