The burnout signs can happen at any time in your life.
When you least expect it, the burnout signs start to build up in your body until it explodes either mentally or physically. Either you’ll be employed, unemployed, or running your own business.
So, what is burnout?
Burnout is a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. It occurs when you feel overwhelmed, emotionally drained, and unable to meet constant demands.
It can indeed wipe off the joy out of your career, friendships, and family interactions. However, this silent predator is not easily detected. You can have these signs for years until it reaches a stage of depression.
5 Burnout Signs That Had Gone Way Too Far
Stare into oblivion – Mental and Physical Exhaustion:
- I first experienced this when I had my first baby. I was already 36 years old and completely clueless about how to take care of a baby. I used to say to myself “why don’t they come out with a manual”. You see, if I had a manual I could just follow instructions, and all was good. So I got one, “Gina Ford” book which saved my life at the time. However, the lack of sleep and adult interaction with my work colleagues soon drove me into postnatal depression. It was suggested by the midwife that I needed to see the doctor so that she could prescribe me something for my condition. I politely declined and got on with my life. There were times that I was climbing the walls and I was missing terribly going back to work, where I knew my job was valued and I knew exactly what to do.
- Once I was so tired that I was staring into my coffee machine waiting for the coffee to come out. My body was present in the kitchen in front of the coffee machine but my mind was somewhere else entirely. So much so that the coffee filled the counter and I burst into tears because I couldn’t control the situation. Exhaustion delays your reflexes and your ability to think quickly.
Unspeakable Health Issues:
- Stress will catch up with you either mentally or physically in your body. From the moment I was able to be free to do whatever I want, I always just did it. Meaning that I wouldn’t think twice about the consequences. My impulsive nature always guided me on the path that I was meant to be on. Most recently intuition is ruling my world. I suppose “intuition” has always been there but unfortunately I wasn’t able to use it properly. I was indeed very impulsive but at the same time courageous but I was missing a secret ingredient which was the ability to tap into my intuition.
- Most recently, stress caught up with me. Like literally and I didn’t even see it coming. Suddenly, all these horrible rashes started appearing on my feet and hands. Intense itchiness, redness, and formation of small blisters filled with clear fluid started to appear first on my foot and then in my hands. I immediately saw the doctor who was prompt to give me some injections but also told me that this was due to stressful situations in my life and if not controlled they will appear again. So, I urge you to be vigilant for any anxiety triggers in your life to avoid these eruptions in your body or even become aware of your emotional state.
- Your mind controls your body (aka the immune system) and when you have a weak immune system, all sorts of illnesses can appear spontaneously. Doing daily meditation can help you overcome these and heal you from the inside out.
Lack of Motivation and performance:
- It is September of 2014, and I’m having a strange feeling in my gut as I arrive at work. That day, the company was working for announced massive redundancies in the workplace. Even though my position was safe I felt enormous empathy toward my colleagues. Needless to say that days after my energy and motivation completely changed. It was the time that I said to myself “enough is enough” and made the bold decision to fire my boss in order to start my own business.
Constant worrying about what’s not yet concrete (aka the Future):
- “With great responsibility, comes great power”. This quote has been stuck in my mind for a while. It’s true that my life as I was growing up was simple and empty of life’s responsibilities. My family provided for me and that is A-Okay, they were teaching me how to embrace the POWER of responsibility. The moment I left my parent’s house to live by myself, I understood the “power” that I had. The responsibility of the work-life demands was at times very worrying. That’s why I had to tame the power I had in me to progress and move forward without worrying about what was to come. And this is why is important that you take care of the most important person in the world. YOU!
Not taking care of number 1 – ME:
- The moment you neglect yourself, things start to go downhill pretty quickly and burnout is inevitable. Choose time for you, to unwind, to do your hobbies, to just take a walk down the beach, to relax. I feel so re-energized when I pamper myself. It’s like I’m a new person, full of joy, happiness, and energy. Also, taking care of yourself increases your creativity and self-expression.
In this article from HealthLine you will find the Signs of Burnout:
- Exhaustion. Feeling physically and emotionally depleted.
- Isolation. People with burnout tend to feel overwhelmed.
- Escape fantasies. Dissatisfied with the never-ending demands of life.
- Irritability. Burnout can cause people to lose their cool with others more easily.
- Frequent illnesses. Burnout, like other long-term stress, can lower your immune system.
Have a look at the insightful Infographic with the 12 Stages of Burnout from Healthline.
Here’s another article that is very helpful to help you reduce stress. Did you know that “gum chewing may relieve stress responses?” I was pleasantly surprised too. Which of these 12 scientifically-backed ways to reduce stress are you going to implement today?
What can you do to prevent burnout:
Meditate to Alleviate
Creating a designated time to meditate consistently will help you to relax your mind from stressful situations. And meditation doesn’t have to be hardcore. I speak about this in my other article 5 reasons why meditation doesn’t have to be hardcore. It requires discipline though to start building a habit and to stick with it. Meditation has definitely helped me fight the burnout symptoms that I’ve felt throughout my life. It has helped me become aware of the present moment and reduce stress.
Hobbies can be a lifesaver
It is crucial to find something outside of work that you are passionate about doing. Whether be a hobby, sports or fitness activities, or even volunteering in the community with some charity work. It has been proven that those that keep themselves occupied even after retirement, have an active and healthy mind and body.
Play the “Pull the Plug” Game
With the evolution of technology in our present society, more distractions are at our fingertips. This is why is super important to set boundaries by unplugging and spending time with loved ones. Set a date for your next holidays. Imagine yourself already on holiday with your family or friends. For inspiration, check out our 5 daily habits to boost your creative power.
- Get Enough Sleep
I’ve always been a night owl and I know that many of you are too. However, I’ve recently realized how important it is to have proper sleep to stay away from burnout. The realization happened when after successfully completing a MindValley program with Dr. Michael Breus, The Mastery of Sleep. After many years of deprived sleep, your body starts to reach its limit, and therefore in order to refuel your brain and your body, it’s imperative that you have a healthy sleep pattern.
Often, when we are burnt out, we forget a lot. There might be a task or 2 that is going to slip through the cracks. Start planning your day, write down all the to-do’s you have for the week, and put them in your calendar to remind you. That way, it’s easier to be on top of things and you don’t panic when things are not done. Create a reminder system and not don’t just rely on what’s in your head. I use a digital calendar but I also have a planner which I carry around whenever possible.
Make Self-care Your #1 Priority
Make an appointment with yourself! No, seriously, when you feel that you are exhausted and your thoughts don’t make any sense. You are shouting and feeling quite irritable… PAUSE and take a step back. Ask yourself: “Where is this feeling coming from?”, “What has caused this event to escalate?”.
Asking yourself powerful questions will help you to find out why you are stressed out. 8 out of 10 times, these feelings come from internal challenges that we are feeling. So, prioritizing your regular self-care will keep you motivated, doing your best work, and functioning well. Self-care is a tonic for creativity, innovation, and happiness.
IT’S YOUR TURN
I would love for you to try some of the ideas I gave you above. Which ones are you more inclined to do? The important thing is not to overthink and just do it. Is there a hobby that you’ve been thinking of pursuing? Is that painting unfinished or needs a spruce up? When was the last time that you walked along the sea and felt the waves covering your toes and the soft ocean aroma covering your body with delight?
Burnout is a serious matter that can’t be ignored so watch out for those pesky signs and change your habits. Remember that you are in control of your current situation and it’s in your power to create change even if scary and daunting at times.