The Signs Of Burnout And How To Chill Out

signs of burnout

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According to a study conducted by FlexJobs and Mental Health America, 75% of Americans experience work burnout. 40% of American workers also say they’ve experience burnout related to the pandemic.

You might be one of the millions of Americans experiencing this but might not know it. This guide will explain some of the common signs of burnout and offer some suggestions to help you through it. Keep reading to learn more.

What Is Burnout?

Before discussing any symptoms, it’s important to provide a definition. Burnout can be defined as exhaustion that’s mental, emotional, and physical. It’s often caused by a prolonged state of stress caused by feeling overwhelmed and drained.

signs of burnout
Man overwhelmed with tasks and responsibilities at work

As the stress takes over your life, you start to lose motivation for everything in your life. This can lead to feelings of helplessness.

It can affect both your personal and work life. It can harm your body as well.

Some Physical Symptoms of Burnout

There are many physical symptoms of burnout that may appear suddenly and worsen over time. While some of these symptoms are mild at first, if you don’t address them right away, you risk more severe issues.

  • Feeling drained and tired at the end of a long day is normal, but feeling this way all the time can be a sign of burnout.
  • If you suffer from migraines from time to time, this isn’t out of the ordinary. However, daily migraines accompanied by muscle aches could indicate you need a break.
  • Change in appetite
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Getting sick more often than usual, your weakened immune system can be a sign your body needs rest.

Emotional Signs of Burnout

Many emotional changes are classic burnout symptoms.

  • For the usually happy and determined person, you may feel a sudden and noticeable lack of motivation.
  • Doubting yourself and feeling like you’re failing at everything you do.
  • Feeling trapped in your own life.
  • Having a negative view of your overall life.
  • Feeling like you’re alone in the world.

Some Behaviors That Might Indicate Burnout

Some behaviors might not be normal for the person you’ve always been. These changes can indicate that you’re beginning to burn out and need a change:

  • Withdrawing from your day-to-day responsibilities
  • Lack of motivation to do what you need to
  • Isolating yourself from friends and family
  • Procrastinating
  • Missing deadlines
  • Coming in late to work
  • You start becoming a colder person
  • Taking out your feelings on others
  • Using drugs and alcohol to cope

Causes of Work Burnout

Many different causes lead you to develop burnout. Work burnout affects millions of people.

Many employees have felt this.

  • Overworked and undervalued. This is one of the main contributors to work burnout.
  • Like you have no control over your work.
  • Demanding work expectations.
  • An unsupportive work environment.
  • One that doesn’t challenge you, or reward you for quality work.

Life Changes Can Lead to Burnout

Stressful changes in your life can lead to burnout as well.

  • Not taking time to relax or socialize as you did before isn’t good for your mental state.
  • Not having supportive people in your life to help you through the tough times.
  • When you take too much on, whether it’s in your personal or professional life.
  • When you try to take everything on yourself, without any help, you can burn out easily.
  • Changes in your sleeping pattern can disrupt your daily life and take you to the point of exhaustion.
lack of sleep hurts focus
You might be one of the millions of Americans experiencing this but might not know it. This guide will explain some of the common signs of burnout and offer some suggestions to help you through it. Keep reading to learn more.

Personality Traits To Look Out For

Some people are naturally tenser while others are more relaxed. Your specific personality traits can be a major contributor to the burnout you’re feeling.

  • If you strive for perfection in everything you do, it could lead to a lot of disappointment. As a perfectionist, you might not see a mistake as a learning opportunity but as a failure on your part.
  • If you already possess a negative outlook on life, you’ll easily fall into feeling like a failure and develop burnout.
  • If you’re a high-achieving person, you might take on more than you can handle and over stress yourself.
  • If you’re one of those people that loves to be in control of everything, you’ll stress out when you have to let others take on some of the work. This can oddly enough burn you out as well.

There Are a Few Burnout Recovery Stages

Once you’ve identified the signs of burnout in your life, you’ll need to take the necessary steps to help yourself. There are a few burnout recovery stages you’ll need to go through to create balance in your life once again.

  • The first step in recovering is recognizing the signs. If you identify with any of the signs or symptoms listed above, then this is something you’ve already done.
  • The next step is the most difficult one. Reverse the damage caused by burnout by finding the coping mechanisms and support that work best for you. This is best with a licensed professional counselor or therapist.
  • The next step includes building your resilience and taking care of your mental health so you don’t reach another breaking point like this.

A good place to start is The Makin Wellness Podcast on The Importance of Daily Mental Health Focus. Taking daily steps to protect your mental health will make a huge difference in your life.

Reach Out to Your Loved Ones

family support for emotional burnout

Another way to work through this type of downfall includes reaching out for help. You aren’t meant to fight through difficulties on your own.

In the midst of negative feelings, you might feel like a burden to people. Reaching out might feel difficult, but it can change your life.

Your loved ones will be there to help you through those difficult moments. Spending time with the people you love, instead of pushing them away, can help you move past the negative feelings.  

Connect With New People

If you’re looking to learn how to overcome in other ways, consider connecting to new people. Burnout can lead you to isolation and feelings of loneliness. The best way to combat this is to find new friendships.

Join a community group with people who share similar interests and passions. This could include volunteering for a cause or joining a church. The best way to build strong relationships is by connecting with people who share your passions and struggles.

Seek Counseling

Another way to work through your burnout issues is by going to counseling. Taking care of your mental health and finding methods to help you cope is the best thing you can do when you’re feeling overwhelmed.

Trained therapists have experience helping others manage their thoughts. A counselor can help you come up with the tools you need to work through your burnout and manage any negative feelings so they don’t lead to another breakdown.

Consider seeing one of our Pennsylvania counselors at Makin Wellness. You can speak to a therapist online if you’re anywhere in Pennsylvania or come in for an office visit if you’re in Pittsburgh or the surrounding areas.

Take a Break

Your body and mind aren’t meant to run 24/7. Working without any kind of relaxation is a guaranteed road to exhaustion. If you feel like you’re on the brink or slowly burning out, you need to take a break.

Take a few of your self care days or go on your vacation early, if you’re able. Taking small breaks throughout the day is enough to help you through burnout, too. Give your mind the rest it needs.  

self care for emotional burnout
Self care days can consist of anything that makes you feel better. Sleep is a great example.

Set More Boundaries

Another way you can get yourself out of a rut when you’re feeling low on fuel is by learning how to set more boundaries. When you don’t set boundaries with the people in your life, it’s easy to overextend yourself.

Don’t feel like you have to do everything everyone asks of you. Tell people when you’re feeling tired and need a break. Say no to commitments you’ll have a hard time keeping.

Find Your Creative Side

Getting in touch with your creative side is another way to find balance. Try a new activity or pick up a new hobby.

Choose something creative you’ve always wanted to try. Don’t set any expectations for yourself to avoid adding stress to your life. Whether you want to paint or sing, being creative can change your life.

Eat a More Balanced Diet to Reduce Burnout

A well-balanced diet can bring many benefits to your life. Besides keeping you at a healthy weight, a well-balanced diet can bring balance to your mind.

Making intentional food choices that nourish your body can improve your mood and help you come out on the other side when you’re in a rut. Staying hydrated is another important aspect of taking care of your body and mind.

Exercise Can Help Relieve Burnout

You probably already know all the benefits of exercising every day. It’s a great way to take care of your physical and mental health.

Exercise is a natural way to reduce stress reduce the signs of burnout. If you aren’t the biggest fan of exercising, find fun ways to get your body moving.

Go for a jog at your favorite park, take a dance class with a friend, or spend a day at the pool.

Try Meditation and Yoga

Yoga and meditation can help you when you’re feeling stressed. Taking the time to slow your breathing, stretch your body, and sit in the present moment, can help you process your emotions.

yoga with family
Yoga is a great way to stay balanced and share a healthy moment with your friends and family.

Check out 7 Deep Breathing Benefits To Better Your Daily Life to learn about more of the physical and mental health benefits of practicing deep breathing. Practice your breathing as you meditate and feel the stress melt away.

A More Consistent Sleep Schedule Can Make a Difference

Getting enough sleep is tied to so many different health factors. Lack of sleep can increase inflammation in your body and cause various levels of stress. If you want to work through the down times, make sure you have a consistent sleep schedule and get a minimum of seven hours a night.

Become More Playful and Try To Relax

Getting in touch with your playful side is another way to help you navigate burnout. Try not to take life too seriously and do activities that bring you joy. Whether you like going to concerts or riding a motorcycle, having fun can help you feel like yourself again.

You Are Not Alone. What To Do When Signs Of Burnout Do Not Subside

Many different things can indicate that you’re struggling with burnout. Excessive tiredness or isolation from your loved ones can be true signs you need a helping hand. You can find relief through counseling. If you’re struggling with burnout, contact Makin Wellness to schedule an appointment with one of our counselors today.

Sara Makin MSEd, LPC, NCC

Sara Makin MSEd, LPC, NCC

All articles are written in conjunction with the Makin Wellness Research Team.

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