5 warning signs you’re heading for burnout (and how to prevent it)
Burnout is described as a ”physical or mental collapse caused by overwork or stress”. Contrary to popular opinion it doesn’t just happen to budding entrepreneurs or C suite executives. Burnout can affect everyone from students right through to retirees.
For many people, it can be a scary and isolating experience. Here are just some of the warning signs that you need to look out for as well as some advice on how to deal with the causes of burnout.
Are you struggling to stick to your regular sleeping pattern? Insomnia or lack of sleep is one of the main symptoms of burnout. In the beginning, you may have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep just one or two nights a week. However, as burnout progresses your insomnia may turn into a nightly ordeal that leaves you frustrated, tired and unable to perform during the day.
Burnout may originally present itself as mild worry or a general sense of unease. This feeling can grow into anxiety over time. If left unchecked anxiety can affect your ability to work and the relationships in your personal life.
Loss of appetite
Burnout affects both your emotional and physical wellbeing. As a result you may not feel hungry or be able to go for long periods of time without eating a meal. If this is allowed to continue you may begin to lose a significant amount of weight, putting your health at risk.
Lack of motivation
If you’re feeling unmotivated at work and generally unenthusiastic about things in your life then there is a good chance you’re experiencing burnout. Getting up for work might be tiresome but if it’s draining all your energy then something is wrong.
Cynicism and negativity
We can all be cynical about things like the Eurovision and The Rose of Tralee but if you’re starting to feel generally more pessimistic than you used to then something might be up. Everyone experiences negative emotions from time to time but it’s important to notice when these are becoming unusual for you.
How do you prevent burnout?
Prevention is always the best cure. While there is not a ‘’one size fits all’’ approach to preventing burnout, here are a few things that you can do to help.
Take a break
If you think you’re suffering from burnout then you really should consider taking some time off for the sake of your health. Take at least two weeks off to do something that you love. If that’s spending more time at home with your dogs or lying on a beach in Thailand, it doesn’t matter. Do what makes you happy.
If you’re feeling the effects of burnout do not be afraid to talk about it. Communicate to your manager or your colleagues if something isn’t working for you. The solution to your problems may be a lot simpler than you had originally thought.
Find your release
When you’re dealing with burnout, you’re facing a lot of stress and emotion. It helps if you can find a way to channel these feelings. Exercise like running or martial arts is a great way to boost your natural serotonin levels while creative hobbies like painting can help you to unwind.
It’s definitely a last resort but if you are suffering from severe burnout then calling it quits might be the best way to recover. Take some time out to assess whether this career is right for you. It might be time to make a change and start looking for alternative jobs. Your health should be your top priority.