Signs of Burnout: How to Identify and Deal with It

Signs of Burnout

Address burnout before it addresses you.

Burnout is a mental and physical state that occurs when someone is pushed to their limits. It can happen in any profession, but it’s most common among people who work too hard without taking time off from the daily grind.

The signs of burnout often go unrecognized until they have already begun to take a toll on your life and productivity. This makes them difficult to deal with once you’re experiencing them. Let’s work to identify the signs of burnout so that you can avoid or reduce its effects!

Why Do We Get Burned Out?

We often don’t realize we’re burned out until we start to feel the negative effects of being overworked, but burnout usually starts much earlier than that.

The constant feeling of rushing from one task to another can be exhausting and stressful for an individual, causing them to become overwhelmed by their workload whether it’s real or imagined.

The feeling of being overworked can be exacerbated by difficult coworkers or bosses who make you feel like they don’t value your time. This makes it even more likely that the individual will work longer hours with little recognition for it.

This is especially true for people working in service-based industries where their interactions with customers are often draining and stressful because no one is satisfied with the response they receive.

Burnout also happens if your work doesn’t have a clear direction or meaning to it. You may not feel like what you do has an impact or makes a difference.

It may sound counterintuitive but less pressure often leads to lower stress levels and a more fulfilling experience for employees who are allowed to do their job at a more reasonable pace.

What Are the Signs of Burnout?

Being overworked is one of the most common causes of burnout, but there are several other signs to watch for that can indicate you’re on track toward mental and physical exhaustion.

  • You may start making uncharacteristic mistakes in your work, or the mistakes might be more serious than usual.
  • Meeting deadlines will become a problem as you have too many tasks that need to be addressed.
  • You might experience physical symptoms like sleep problems or stomach aches, both of which can be caused by stress and anxiety at work.
  • Your body may feel like it’s “off” due to its natural rhythm being disrupted. This is normally due to your body producing the stress hormone cortisol, which gives you an energy spike but leaves you feeling drained and out of balance.

Exhaustion can be difficult to notice at first because it’s often accompanied by feelings of apathy and disinterest. This can make you feel like you’re in a rut or that your work no longer holds any meaning to it.

How Can You Deal With Burnout?

Once burnout has set in, the best thing to do is take some time off work. This won’t be easy for most people. However, more employers are starting to understand the importance of a healthy work/life balance. Talk to your managers and explain your situation to see about getting additional time off.

Consider These Tips

  • Take a vacation! Research shows that even two weeks away from work can have positive effects on someone suffering from burnout.
  • Exercise! Commit to working out as frequently as possible. This will get you away from your work for a little while so that you can decompress and release stress.
  • Switch it up! For example, take a walk a night to clear your mind instead of heading home and watching TV.
  • Get more sleep! Set aside some time each evening before bedtime to wind down rather than continuing with your routine.
  • Take more breaks! Go for a walk on your breaks and emphasize removing yourself from the workspace.
  • Ask for help! Try to reduce the amount of stress in your life by delegating tasks rather than taking on everything yourself.
  • Show appreciation! Try writing a note or email thanking someone each day, even if it’s just something small like saying thanks after receiving an important report from your co-worker.

Chances are you’re not the only one experiencing burnout. Others wrestle with stress and fatigue just like you do, so remember to be kind, patient, and gracious.

Remember to Uplift Yourself

When stressed, it’s easy to develop a negative self-image. We can feel like we’re failing at life, performing our jobs poorly, or unworthy of our achievements. I wrote a book, Life After Low Self-Esteem, filled with many tools to combat a negative self-image.

Check it out, and let me know what you think!

I Quit My Job During COVID-19. I Regret Nothing

You can take all the sick days you want. It won’t matter if you don’t have peace of mind. That’s what I learned during this COVID-19 crisis.

I am a person who is driven and likes to succeed. No matter what new role I fall into, I usually end up in a leadership position at some point. I take on challenges, and most of the time I conquer them.

This was not one of those times, but I still made it.

What Was My Job?

I was a claims adjuster for a major auto insurance carrier. It’s a tough job, one that isn’t for everybody. However, true to my personality, I was determined. I thought determination would be enough.

Basically, imagine running a marathon every day while people shoot projectiles at you. That’s how my work day usually went. I’d leave with a mountain of claims only to return with even more.

It became increasingly discouraging, but I was told it was just the nature of the job. So, I stuck with it. I wasn’t going to give up. That was never the plan.

When I Knew It Was More Than Stress

When I began to wake up and have panic attacks, I began to reconsider the role. Pretty soon, I was only getting up to 4 hours of sleep at night. I was drinking heavily. And the claims only seemed to get more complex and more demanding.

I take antidepressants, but they seemed to have no effect in regulating my mood. I would get nauseated just after taking them. In the middle of obtaining a recorded statement, I had to excuse myself to vomit in the restroom.

I knew then that it wasn’t just stress. It was the job itself.

When I Knew It Was Time to Leave

To this day, I still can’t completely explain what came over me. I got up, got dressed, and sat down at my workstation in my living room like always. We had been working from home for about a month at this point.

I turned on my laptop, said good morning to my co-workers via Skype, and I paused.

Then, I started typing out my resignation letter and packing up my workstation. Before I knew it, I’d turned everything into our branch office and was without a job. I felt the most free I’d felt in a long time.

And I was terrified.

There Can Be Courage in Walking Away

I didn’t know what to think when I returned home jobless during the COVID-19 crisis. Then, I began to panic again. What had I done? How would I take care of myself? What would become of me?

But then I had to remind myself that I was driven, ambitious, and determined. Most companies had paused hiring, but there were still plenty that hadn’t. I applied for jobs vigorously until landed something a month later.

I was able to spend the interim catching up on sleep, focusing on self-care, and planning my next move. It was the most restful time of my entire life.

I write all this to say I don’t condone just quitting your job without a plan like I did. But I also understand those who do so in order to protect their mental health. Society expects us to be overworked, underpaid, and in perfect health at all times.

I don’t regret walking away from what I thought was an amazing opportunity. Panic attacks are no longer part of my morning routine, and I plan to keep it that way. I don’t feel shame for quitting a job during the COVID-19 crisis.

And I don’t regret choosing myself.