5 Warning Signs You Are Headed For Burnout…And What To Do About It
People often say they have “burnout” just to describe any feeling of being stressed, overwhelmed, or overworked. But the term is often used too generally, whereas real burnout is an actual state of complete emotional and mental exhaustion.
WARNING SIGNS THAT YOU ARE HEADED FOR BURNOUT
If you don’t get help for your burnout, it can lead to a lot of negative consequences in your personal and professional life and make it much harder to get out of. Here are some warning signs that you might be facing burnout:
It is Getting Harder to Complete Simple Tasks – When you complete the same task several times, you know approximately how long it takes you to complete and how difficult it is. But when you suddenly take 2-3 times longer to finish that same task or you can’t seem to focus long enough to ever get it done, that is definitely a warning sign that something is wrong.
Don’t ignore these moments when it’s hard to do even the simplest of things, that you used to breeze right through. It can be a sign that something else is going on.
You Have Severe Mood or Behavioral Changes – There are many reasons to have mood shifts or behavioral changes, like stress and anxiety, but burnout can also be added to this list. You should never ignore changes with your mood, attitude, or behaviors.
Maybe you’re falling back into unhealthy habits and it’s becoming a crutch for dealing with your negative emotions or you’re getting irritable and angry at your loved ones at the drop of a hat. Sometimes, when you face burnout, the stress can overpower your logical thinking and it becomes harder to keep your cool.
Increase in Mental Health Problems – When you have burnout or overwhelm, you might notice that your other mental health disorders are also getting worse, like anxiety. Never ignore mental illnesses that seem to be getting worse, whether you are getting them treated or not.
Lack of Energy or Severe Fatigue – Have you noticed that it takes all your energy just to take a shower or get in your car to run simple errands? Among other things, this could also be a warning sign of burnout. If you have ruled out physical reasons for fatigue or energy loss, it’s time to consider your mental health and see if you might be heading toward burnout.
No Interest in Social Activities – You might also find that you don’t have much interest in anything you used to enjoy. This can apply to relaxing at night and watching TV, reading, spending time with friends, or creative projects.
Keep in mind this can also be a warning sign for depression, and many people experience both depression and burnout at the same time.
WAYS TO REST WHEN YOU DEAL WITH BURNOUT AND OVERWHELM
When people talk about mental health, it’s easy to assume it’s only about severe stress or mental illnesses like anxiety and depression, but it can also be about your general mental state at any given time. This includes if you are overwhelmed in your life and facing burnout.
It’s just as important to rest when you have burnout as it is when you are dealing with a diagnosed mental health condition. Here are some tips for figuring out how to rest your mind and body:
Find Your Stressors – Before you can figure out how to get more rest when dealing with burnout, you need to first understand what is causing the overwhelm or burnout in the first place. This is in the form of your stressors or triggers. A stressor or trigger is something that is causing you to feel more overwhelmed or anxious throughout the day.
Is something in your life different right now? Maybe your loved ones have been more demanding, you aren’t taking enough breaks, or work has gotten chaotic. It can be anything from your job to your home life to the people you are around.
Something as simple as falling behind on your daily journal can trigger burnout because you don’t have those few minutes to unleash all the thoughts in your head and stop obsessing over them.
Take a Break From Work if You Can – While this is not always an option, try to take a break from work in whatever form you are able to. This is, of course, not a privilege everyone has, but if you do, take advantage of it. Take a mental health day where you don’t even think about work and might even get out of your house for a day. Take a long weekend or go on a short trip.
If this isn’t an option, then try to lighten your workload. Figure out if you have any work tasks that can be delegated to other people or if you can move your schedule around to have a few days a week that aren’t quite as hectic.
Learn How to Say No – Learning how to say no is a beautiful thing and can benefit you in so many ways, beginning with helping you to rest from burnout. This might be personal obligations or people in your life who are always asking you for help or work being more demanding. Burnout can happen in such subtle ways where you think you’re just helping out a friend and don’t realize how much it is impacting your own life.
Find Ways to Practice Daily Self-Care – Self-care doesn’t need to be overly complicated or cost any money. It can be as simple as going for a walk after dinner, sitting in your office with the door closed during your lunch break, or reading a book in the evenings instead of watching TV.
FINDING A SUPPORT SYSTEM ON GOOD AND BAD DAYS
When you struggle with your mental health, it often feels like you need to keep it all to yourself. It can be difficult reaching out and knowing who to reach out to. But having a good support system is important. Not just on your bad days, but your good mental health days too!
Start With People You Already Know Who Support You – One of the hardest parts about finding a support system for your mental health is knowing who to turn to, especially when you aren’t sure how to meet the right people. But don’t worry – for now you can consider the people you already know.
Who in your life right now is someone you can easily talk to? Maybe it’s someone who already understands mental illnesses because they also deal with them or maybe it’s someone who you feel like you can open up to and won’t judge you.
It might be one person or a small group of people, friends, family members, colleagues, or even neighbors. The great thing about your support system is that you can support them as well.
Reach Out to Local Peer Groups – When you feel ready to get out of your own circle of loved ones, local peer groups are an excellent way to find like-minded people. Some people look specifically for support groups about their mental illness, like anxiety, depression, PTSD, or bipolar disorder, but other peer groups related to activities you enjoy, like running or artwork, can also help you to meet new people who might struggle with the same issues that you do.
Don’t Hesitate to Get Professional Help – Your support system also includes a doctor, therapist, or psychiatrist. They all provide different types of services that will improve your mental health and become part of your support team.
With certain mental illnesses, it is important that you don’t just “tough it out” and hope for the best. There is nothing wrong with needing professional help. Talking to your family doctor is a great place to start as they often have resources for mental health professionals. You can also look for a therapist or counselor that specializes in your mental illness, like anxiety or depression.
One last thing to keep in mind is that the first therapist might not be the right fit. Do not be afraid to try different people until you find the person you really click with and can freely open up to.
Take Charge of Your Mental Health
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