Are You Burned Out?
A lot of us feel tired or frustrated by our jobs. Our work can be stressful and it is hard to manage our tasks, our boss’ expectations, and our work relationships.
Sometimes, though, stress and fatigue progress past normal levels. It’s possible to become truly burned out. Burnout includes physical and mental exhaustion along with cynicism, detachment, and a loss of motivation.
Someone who is burned out can’t function normally at work. Often, these feelings carry over into their personal lives as well.
Burnout is not a medical condition, but it’s vital to know if you have it so that you can take steps to get back on the right path. Here are some signs of burnout.
When you’re stressed, you may feel tired, but as you near burnout you begin to feel a lack of energy most days. If you don’t take action, you’ll eventually feel exhausted, drained, and depleted. You’ll have nothing left to give at work.
This exhaustion also impacts your personal life. It will make it hard to be present for your loved ones and friends. Little things will feel enormous, as though every task is equal to climbing a mountain.
You may need to take some time off – more than a single day – and get away so that you can get the rest you truly need.
Forgetfulness and Lack of Focus
Can you forget what you’re doing while you’re doing it? While that may be funny in a meme, it’s not funny when it happens to you at work. Being forgetful and not being able to focus on your tasks is a clear sign of burnout.
You may notice that your work is piling up because you’re not as productive as you used to be. You might forget deadlines or fail to remember assignments. Worst of all, because of the other symptoms of burnout, you might not even care.
If you notice that you forget more than usual and can’t focus at work, you may be burned out.
You’re Sick or in Pain
Mental and emotional problems have a way of showing up in our physical health. If you’re suffering burnout, you might notice physical symptoms as well.
You might have chest pain, shortness of breath, or heart palpitations as a result of high stress levels. You can also suffer from dizziness, pain, and headaches. Because burnout depletes your body, you may also get sick more often.
If you’re suffering more colds, flu, infections, or pain than usual, take a look at your stress levels and other symptoms. You could be completely burned out and need a serious break.
Anxiety and Depression
Anxiety and depression are common problems that affect you when you’re under a lot of strain. Mild anxiety symptoms include edginess, worry, and tension. If you’re burned out, however, you might experience anxiety that’s so bad you can’t get your work done at all.
Depression is the other side of the coin. You may feel hopeless, guilty, or unworthy. You might even feel trapped in your situation or severely depressed. If you start to have feelings of self-harm, seek professional assistance right away.
Anxiety and depression often occur together, and it generally takes professional intervention to overcome them. Don’t be afraid to talk to your doctor and a mental health professional to create a plan to escape these problems.
Loss of Enjoyment in Your Job
Maybe you were excited when you first started your job, eager to take on new challenges and embrace new goals. That motivation has long since evaporated, and now all you feel is dull.
This is a sure sign of burnout.
Losing enjoyment in your job and generally feeling cynical and unhappy is not something anyone expects when they take a new position. But over time, it can happen. If you find yourself with a negative attitude at work and looking for ways to avoid projects, you may be burned out.
Detachment and Isolation
Have you gotten to a point at work where you don’t care anymore? If so, your performance may be suffering but you’re not doing anything to fix it. You may feel detached from everything, like you’re going through the motions.
In extreme cases, detachment can get to the point where it feels like someone else is living your life and you’re just watching.
You may also isolate yourself from your coworkers and even your friends and family. If you’re experiencing these types of symptoms, you’ll want to take steps to get help right away. However, your detachment may make that hard to do.
If you can do nothing else, consider confiding in a trusted friend or family member and asking them to help. They can take action and get you connected to the services you need.
What Can You Do About Burnout?
If you’ve recognized yourself in this list, you’re likely to be burned out in your current job. Fortunately, there is something you can do about the situation.
If things have progressed significantly, you may need to start with professional help. Medication and counseling can help with depression, detachment, and extreme negative thinking.
From there, take some time to review your options. You might feel like there’s no way out, but there are always alternatives. Perhaps you can rekindle your enthusiasm for your current job, or maybe you need to change positions.
Likely, you’ll also need extended time off before you can healthfully make your next move. If you can, take vacation time or a leave of absence. This will let you get away from your current stressors so that you can see your situation more clearly.
Finally, make time for physical exercise and relaxation in your day-to-day life. Exercise can reduce stress and help you think more clearly. Relaxation activities can lower your blood pressure and bring clarity to your decision-making.
When you take care of yourself, you’ll be able to overcome burnout and get back on the right path. There is a way out. Get the help you need to move forward.