Is every day feeling a little bit harder than the last? Are you constantly yawning at your desk? Does even the simplest task feel too hard? You might be on the road to burnout – a very common symptom of our modern 24/7 lifestyle where we never switch off.
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What is burnout?
Waves of moderate stress are normal, in fact they’re essential – it’s what gives you the vigour to smash out your goals! But, if you’re constantly battling chronic and overwhelming stress it could be burnout.
When you’re burned out, problems seem insurmountable, everything looks bleak and it’s difficult to muster up the energy to care. It can feel like a constant state of unhappiness and impact your job, relationships and health.
But, by recognising the warning signs, you can nip it in the bud early and take steps to prevent it.
So tired. All. The. Time. If this sounds like you, it’s one of the first signs of burnout. Ironically, to make chronic fatigue worse, it’s not uncommon to also experience insomnia and the inability to ‘switch off’. If you can’t get a good night’s sleep and life’s stresses are consuming your mind into the early hours of the morning, you’ll find yourself illogically sweating about the small stuff. On the other hand, oversleeping could also be a sign – too much sleep is also a symptom of burnout.
An increasingly cynical outlook is another common symptom of burnout. Most are totally oblivious of their negativity and how it is ruling their lives and even affecting others – below are a few signs:
- Constant state of worry
- The glass is always half empty: sunny day, too hot. Cloudy day, too cold…sound familiar?
- Always envisaging a bad outcome where everything goes wrong
- Very sensitive to criticism and even take compliments the wrong way
- Complaining a lot
- Convinced the world is against you
- Never move outside your comfort zone
- The word ‘but’ is your favourite word!
3. No motivation
If you find yourself withdrawing from responsibilities and decreased satisfaction from the things that once excited you, you’re probably demotivated.
4. Physical signs
Physical signs of burnout include frequent headaches, muscle pain, low immunity or change in appetite.
Thankfully, there are plenty of things you can do to regain your balance and start to feel positive again:
You know the saying “a problem shared is a problem halved”? It’s true – you are not alone! Reaching out to friends or talking to a professional is one of the most effective steps you can take towards beating burnout. Talking face to face with a good listener is one of the fastest ways to calm your nervous system and relieve stress. But don’t socialise with the expectation that person will “fix” your problems, they just need to give you the ear you need without judgement.
Surround yourself with positive people
Don’t hang out with people who will drain you even further! Positive people will help shift your focus from negative thoughts and train you to see the best in situations.
Reduce alcohol intake
Alcohol can be a depressant and further exacerbate feelings of helplessness or anxiety. It’s wise to cut back on it if you’re already feeling run down.
Detox from technology
Incidence of burnout is more common these days because it’s increasingly harder to disconnect digitally. We’re always attached to our phones – scrolling through social media, browsing the web, refreshing emails – we’re living out our lives online instead of in the moment. Set a time each day when you completely disconnect. Research has found you can reduce stress with nature simply by getting out for 20 minutes for some fresh air. Put away your laptop, turn off your phone, and stop checking emails!
Get a blood test
Unbeknown to most, you could be walking around each day severely lacking in iron and may need an iron supplement. Supplementation is another great way to boost energy levels. Take our quiz to get personalised recommendations for your burnout symptoms.
Take time off
Use up your annual leave or take a few mental health days to rest and reset. Ideally, remove yourself from your day-to-day routine and recharge your batteries somewhere unfamiliar.
Pound the pavement
Whether it’s a high intensity run listening to electronic music, working out with your partner or body weight training, there’s something to be said for getting some fresh air outdoors even if it’s just for 15 minutes. Dubbed the ‘nature pill’, heading outside can have a powerfully uplifting impact on your mind, body and soul.