No matter our role, profession, or stage of life, burnout is something we’re all at risk of experiencing. Burnout is serious – it can alter our lives in monumental ways. Burnout can cause us to make decisions that we will regret later. Burnout can cause physical illnesses and even chronic health conditions. Burnout can cause us to lose relationships and develop unhealthy habits. You’re worthy of staying healthy both physically and emotionally. You deserve as little burnout as possible in life. So let’s take a closer look at burnout so we can better understand what it is, what it looks like, and how we can prevent it.
What is burnout?
Burnout can be described as “emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and a decreased sense of accomplishment in one’s occupation.” Burnout can look like:
- Emotional exhaustion
- Feeling detached
- Feeling like you aren’t capable of accomplishing what you need to do, or feeling a low sense of achievement.
What are the signs of burnout?
The signs of burnout can look differently for different people. Burnout can manifest physically, emotionally, and behaviorally.
- Some possible physical signs of burnout include:
- Some possible emotional signs of burnout include:
- Negative perspective that keeps getting worse
- Self-doubt that wasn’t there before
- Feelings of worthlessness
- Feeling helpless and/or hopeless
- Detachment from things that used to interest you
- Feeling numb
- Losing motivation
- Not feeling like you’re accomplishing anything
- Some possible behavioral signs of burnout include:
- Isolating yourself from friends, family, or social groups you used to spend time with
- Backing out of responsibilities you used to be invested in
- Misusing food, drugs, or alcohol to cope or escape
- Losing your temper with other people
What are the consequences of burnout?
If you think you might be experiencing burnout, you need to take that very seriously! Burnout, if left unchecked and untreated, can lead to serious consequences. Burnout can result in mental health disorders, physical health issues, broken relationships, substance abuse, loss of a job, and even a shorter life expectancy. The best thing you can do for yourself and your loved ones is to keep an eye out for burnout and catch it in its early stages! And yes, sometimes saying no to burnout means saying no to extra responsibilities that could seem like good ideas on their own. But your health and happiness are always worth it!
How to avoid burnout?
- Know the risks of burnout and how serious burnout can be. Learn how to recognize the signs of burnout – and remember that the first stage of burnout can include self-denial.
- Give yourself time to reflect. If you’re working non-stop on the things that are causing you burnout, you might not be able to recognize that you’re burned out.
- Good ways to self-reflect can include: regular yoga practice, regular meditation, getting away on a retreat or vacation.
- Dedicate time and energy to reassess your goals and expectations. Ask if your schedule is reasonable or if you’re trying to do too much. Be willing to make adjustments as necessary. Be willing to say no to new tasks, projects, and responsibilities that could contribute to your burnout.
- Regularly re-evaluate your goals and objectives.
- Exercise or move your body regularly. Go for walks. Stretch. Even a five-minute yoga video can help! Remember that you deserve to stay healthy and happy!
- Make sure you’re eating a well-balanced and healthy diet. Prioritize your meals so that you’re able to shop ahead, prep meals, order meal kits, or pick up something nourishing. A healthy diet can help you work and rest more productively!
- Allow yourself enough sleep. Remember, your health comes first!
- Make sure you have a daily (not just weekly!) break to do something healthy and enjoyable – like going for a walk, doing a yoga class or video, doing meditation, journaling, using aromatherapy, or reading for pleasure.
- Regularly invest in your emotional support system (friends, family, life coach, counselor, therapist) and reach out when you need them. Remember that you can ask for help before you get desperate!
- Take time to spend with pets, friends, and family!
- If needed, take time with your work supervisor to discuss setbacks, roadblocks, and how you’re feeling about reaching your goals and accomplishing your tasks.
Remember, you’re worth avoiding burnout!