Do You Know How to Recognize Burnout Before It’s Too Late?
According to the World Health Organization, burnout is “a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.” In other words, it’s a state of mental and physical exhaustion brought on by extended periods of stress. And while it’s most commonly seen in people who work in high-pressure environments, like physicians, attorneys, and police officers, burnout can happen to anyone.
The problem is that burnout often sneaks up on people. It starts with little things, like feeling slightly overwhelmed at work or having trouble sleeping at night. But if left unchecked, it can quickly send you into a tailspin and impact every aspect of your life. That’s why it’s essential to recognize the signs of burnout before things worsen. Here are five telltale signs that you might be contending with burnout:
- You’re routinely exhausted, even after a good night’s sleep. Exhaustion is one of the most common symptoms of burnout, and it can impact every aspect of your life. If you don’t sleep well to recharge your batteries, it’s hard to function. If you’re having trouble getting a good night’s sleep, especially if you follow recommended sleeping best practices, it might be worth taking an honest look at what’s causing the issue and making lifestyle changes accordingly. Remember, if you’re using sleeping medications as a crutch, they will only treat the symptoms but not the deeper underlying problem.
- You’re struggling to focus or concentrate. Lack of focus and concentration can be one of the first signals that something is wrong. If you find yourself struggling to concentrate, take a pause to consider what might be at the root of the issue. Is it too many hours working, too many meetings, or too much paperwork? When burnout sets in, it can be hard to summon up the energy or enthusiasm required for your work and personal life. If you feel apathetic and unmotivated even when it comes to things that used to bring you joy, it might be time to consider whether burnout is at play.
- You’re feeling desperate, helpless, or resentful. If you’re feeling upset or hopeless about your job and life, it could be a sign that burnout is the culprit. If this happens, it’s essential to find ways to increase motivation and positivity in your workday as soon as possible. People suffering from burnout tend to have shorter tempers than usual and become easily frustrated by even minor issues. If this sounds like something you’ve been dealing with, it’s essential to look at the surrounding circumstances and figure out what might be causing the issue before it gets any worse.
- You’re getting sick more often than usual. Burnout can weaken the immune system, leaving you more vulnerable to infections and illnesses. If you’re frequently under the weather, it’s essential to focus on stress reduction techniques that can help boost your immunity and improve your health. If you can’t remember the last time you felt healthy and strong, it’s likely that burnout has already started to set in. Meditation is a practice many people use to help manage stress and increase wellbeing. Still, speaking with your healthcare provider can set you on the path to becoming healthier.
- Your relationships are suffering. When someone is dealing with burnout, they often start to distance themselves from people about which they care. If you’re avoiding social situations or feeling disconnected from your friends and family, you could be suffering from burnout. Take a look at your work hours, diet, and activity level if you’re not in a good headspace. Speaking with a therapist can also bring a sense of relief to someone suffering from burnout. Don’t wait until you’re entirely overextended before taking steps to improve your mental health because it can make recovery much harder.
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, act before things get worse. Likewise, talk to your boss or supervisor about your concerns. They may be able to lighten your workload or give you some flexibility in how and when you get your work done. For instance, one common cause of burnout for many professionals is too much paperwork. A simple solution that can help alleviate excessive hours of paperwork is to hire a speech-to-text transcription service or virtual assistant company like Athreon. Athreon helps professionals reduce their workloads by ten hours or more a week. If you’re struggling with stress at work, don’t wait until it’s too late—talk to your boss or supervisor about your concerns and look for ways to proactively manage your stress levels.