Are you feeling burnt-out or overwhelmed?
What do you think of when you hear the word ‘burnout’? Some may associate it with feeling tired or stressed, which to some extent is true, but that only tells half the story. Burnout is something that builds up over time, as the result of prolonged stress and feelings of being overwhelmed, drained and unable to cope.
It can cause a range of negative symptoms that can impact your quality of life, including physical and emotional exhaustion, feelings of detachment and cynicism, and reduced productivity and performance. If left unchecked, burnout can have a significant impact on your mental health and wellbeing, making it essential to recognise the signs and take steps to address them.
The most important thing you can do to prevent burnout is to notice it and be aware of the signs, making sure to take action before it goes too far.
Here are 5 signs of burnout and how to reduce them:
1. Physical Exhaustion
Feeling easily annoyed or agitated, letting little things really bother you, feeling more cynical about life and the people around you, outbursts of anger for no real reason, as if someone is constantly ‘pushing your buttons’, thinking the worst of people. Possibly managing ok at work but taking it out on your family when you get home. Headaches, tension and stomach issues.
TRY taking regular breaks, make sure you have a lunch break, go outside if you can. Set personal boundaries and learn to say no. Take some time out for yourself. Deep breathing, meditation and exercise. Put yourself first.
2. Emotional Exhaustion
Having no energy, feeling tired all the time even after a full nights sleep, feeling constantly ‘wired’ and like your mind cannot switch off, having brain fog and difficulty concentrating.
TRY making sleep a priority and develop a good bedtime routine. Switch off all tech devices an hour before bed. Expose yourself to light early in the morning. Avoid caffeine after lunch time. Avoid watching the news or anything dramatic just before bed. When we are rested it can help build up our resilience.
3. Feeling Disconnected From Others
Avoiding people and places as much as you can, feeling disengaged with family and work colleagues, just wanting to be by yourself, making excuses not to do things, becoming more reclusive, lack of humour and no sense of connection or belonging.
Did you know that feeling lonely can be as harmful to your health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day? And when we are separated from ‘our tribe’ it creates a stress response in our body – primitively if we were on our own who would look out for us and help us if we became injured or ill? We would have perished without our tribe to support us.
TRY intentionally engaging with other people, meet with a friend, put something in the diary to look forward to on a regular basis, join a social group doing something you enjoy, reach out to someone and talk about how you are feeling – they may well have felt the same at some point.
4. Lack of Creativity and Motivation
Inability to get things done or even start something, everything is just mounting up, finding it hard to solve problems, feeling muddled and overwhelmed with even quite simple tasks, no interest in things you used to enjoy, rather do nothing than something, unable to make decisions, putting things off, knowing what you should be doing but unable to muster the energy or enthusiasm to do it.
TRY and do something that you love everyday, even if its just for 5 mins, it will build up your resilience to stress. Listen to music, read a book, watch your favourite comedian or comedy show. Break things down into manageable chunks, set realistic goals. Go out for a 5 minute ‘mindful’ walk.
When we stop and take a break we are at our most creative – have you noticed you often get your best ideas when you are out for a walk or in the shower – when you have switched off completely.
5. Lack of self-care
Making poor food choices, comfort eating, staying up too late, not getting enough exercise, not taking care of your self or bothering about personal hygiene, no longer making an effort, not making yourself a priority.
TRY having a selection of healthy food options in your cupboard/fridge. Stop snacking late at night as it will disturb your sleep. Pay attention to comfort eating and ask yourself is it really making you feel better and why do you need it – is boredom, loneliness or a treat? No-one ever regrets a walk or doing exercise (after they’ve done it!) just taking a 10-15 min walk is enough. Find the time to do the things you really enjoy and get pleasure from.
Make sure you define the end of your day and ensure you properly switch off.
Instead of having an endless to do list every day, take the top 3 things and be content that those are complete.
What does ‘done’ look like to you?
It doesn’t have to perfect and it doesn’t all have to be done today.
If any of these signs resonate with you and you need help addressing them and making some changes then please remember I am here to help.