Everyone gets stressed out from time to time, but if you’re overwhelmed for weeks or months on end, you may begin to experience severe side effects. That’s burnout. While the resulting condition isn’t formally diagnosed by most clinical practitioners, it can seriously impact your physical and mental well-being. Today, we’ll explain this phenomenon and give you some tips for how to recover from burnout.
What is Burnout?
Burnout is a feeling of complete and total exhaustion that comes along with being constantly overwhelmed. While it’s usually associated with high-achieving career professionals, this can actually happen to anyone who is subjected to prolonged physical, mental, and emotional stress.
Life’s one-after-the-other demands can pile up, leaving you frazzled, fatigued, and unable to keep up. Eventually, you’ll find yourself feeling cynical, resentful, and unproductive – even if you love the job that’s causing those feelings. That’s the burnout talking.
There’s a reason why burnout is often discussed in tandem with American working environments. During the current labor shortage, many people are being given unmanageable workloads, tight deadlines, and confusing job responsibilities. It’s not uncommon for one person to feel as if they are doing the work of an entire team. If this continues for a significant amount of time, it’s likely that this worker will find themselves burnt out.
Three major types of employment burnout have been identified:
- Overload burnout happens when you try to do too much in hopes of furthering your career – even when it negatively impacts your health and relationships.
- Under-challenged burnout affects those who are bored and underappreciated at their jobs.
- Neglect burnout is tied to imposter syndrome. If someone feels helpless and incompetent in their role (and if they’re not receiving clear instruction from higher-ups), they may experience this type of burnout.
Many people also find themselves feeling burnt out at home, especially after months of quarantine and stay-at-home orders. Long periods of togetherness without a break provide ample opportunity for interpersonal disputes, family drama, and petty disagreements. This is especially salient for single parents, who cannot divide a household workload, discipline, or other responsibilities between themselves and another adult. Children and teenagers are also vulnerable to the effects of burnout; peer interaction, conflict with siblings or parents, and heavy academic workloads all contribute to this.
So how do you know if you’re burnt out or just dealing with normal stress? There are a few key signs of burnout that you should be aware of. If any of this sounds familiar, consider seeking professional help and making some major lifestyle changes.
“I’m always exhausted.”
If your work or home life is draining you, you probably won’t have the energy to do much else. You may feel depressed and immediately fall asleep after returning home, neglecting responsibilities, self-care, and relationships.
“I don’t want to do the things I used to enjoy.”
That fatigue may also pull you away from the hobbies and pastimes that used to occupy your evenings and weekends.
“I’m irritable, resentful, and easily annoyed.”
Burnout makes you incredibly negative. You’ll resent your workplace, bristle at harmless remarks from coworkers, become impatient with clients, and begin to distance yourself accordingly.
“I can’t keep up.”
Becoming burnt out zaps your productivity in all areas of life. You may struggle to show up for loved ones, concentrate on tasks at work, or take care of household chores.
“I feel uncomfortable – I can’t sleep or eat.”
Burnout can actually manifest as a series of physical symptoms. If you’re achy, unable to sleep, or experiencing stomach and bowel problems, this may be why.
How to Recover from Burnout
Luckily, there are plenty of lifestyle changes that can banish these symptoms once and for all. Here are a few of our top recommendations for how to recover from burnout.
Ask for what you need. First, you should speak with the person in charge of the things that are affecting you – this can be your spouse or work supervisor. Explain how you’re feeling and find solutions for redistributing the tasks on your plate. Avoid casting blame; instead, focus on building open and healthy communication. This will create an avenue for you to reduce your workload and ask for support if you need it.
Learn to relax. Next, find a way to unwind on your own time. Many burnout sufferers find themselves dealing with chronic muscle tension. Relaxing exercises like yoga can provide an outlet for your stress while melting away that tense feeling.
Make yourself a priority. Be sure that you’re taking care of yourself. While it may be tempting to binge on junk food or self-medicate with alcohol, this approach will only create more problems down the line. Instead, go to bed early, get some exercise, eat nutritious meals, and set aside time to socialize with your friends and family members.
Practice mindfulness. Finally, mindfulness can be an incredible benefit to those struggling with burnout. Take a break to focus on your breath, the sounds around you, or one smile-inducing mantra. This can help you to reduce stress and navigate hectic situations with ease.
Find Rest at Lakeside-Milam
Did you know that Lakeside-Milam offers mental health services? Our outpatient centers provide individual and group sessions that can help you to overcome the stress, depression, and anxiety caused by burnout. Contact us to find a nearby Lakeside-Milam location in your area.