Do you wear your workaholic nature as a badge of honor?
Have you been, as the cliche says, burning the candle at both ends… Down to the depths of its wick?
Have you long been juggling work, kids, relationships, fitness, life; sacrificing sleep, rest and fun because, well, where could it fit?
If you feel stressed, overwhelmed, unusually emotional, even just “not right”, you could be suffering from burnout. This condition is so common that it has been named and defined.
According to an article published by Forbes, David Ballard, Doctor of Psychology, describes burnout as “an extended period of time where someone experiences exhaustion and a lack of interest in things, resulting in a decline in their job performance.”
But this condition is not strictly confined to occupation. Research shows that hassles in your private life can also take a toll.
Whether at work or in your personal life, there are 6 give-away signs that must be heeded.
Do you feel worn out, drained, or trapped?
Research published in Anxiety, Stress, and Coping: The International Journal noted that, “Emotional exhaustion is the central quality of burnout and refers to feelings of being emotionally overextended and depleted of one's emotional resources.”
In essence, working too hard for too long, with limited resources and support is the catalyst for exhaustion. The stress feeds into feelings of negativity and a cynical viewpoint. These are par for the course when you’re burnt out.
Dealing with anxiety
According to the American Psychological Association, anxiety is defined as an emotion distinguished by the experience of tension, worry, ruminating thoughts, and physical changes including high blood pressure and trembling, for example.
Maybe unsurprisingly, it is likely that people who are prone to anxiety are more likely to experience burnout, too. Feeling wired often leads to more feelings of being wired. Over time, this cycle becomes exhausting.
So, does the chicken come before the egg, or the egg before the chicken? In truth, it doesn’t matter.
Reducing stress by engaging in strategies like deep breathing, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), sufficient sleep, regular exercise, time to rest, mindfulness meditation, and addressing any triggers will likely provide relief.
If you’re finding it hard to speak up, roll your eyes at new ideas, feel like your ability to strive has flown the coop, if you tackle tasks in a reactive way instead of being at the front of the curve, or if your mind regularly wanders off-task, say *hello* to low motivation.
When you’re worn out and weary, loss of motivation is expected. After all, if you lack the energy to sustain a bare minimum, it’s hard to do any more.
As a nasty side effect, burnout can stop the very thing you need: sufficient rest.
Research has shown that we, humans, have a higher risk of burnout when we suffer from insomnia or non-restorative sleep. And, even in the face of high job strain, sufficient sleep can protect against burnout.
Sleep is a reset; essential for hormonal balance, cognitive function, recovery and, of course, relaxation. When slumber suffers, so do mental and physical health…
Making decisions and problem solving becomes difficult, lowering your productivity. Managing emotions and the behavior that stems from them is negatively altered. Coping with change and the day-to-day becomes more challenging. And, as The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute noted, insufficient sleep “has been linked to depression, suicide, and risk-taking behavior.”
As you can see, poor sleep is a massive factor in burnout… down to whether you will suffer from this condition at all.
Luckily, there are premium-quality supplements formulated to aid your slumber. ThermoSleep, for example, includes science-backed ingredients like Ashwagandha, gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), glycine, 5-HTP, magnesium, and melatonin, specifically blended to improve the quality and quantity of your sleep.
As Erinraquel M raved, “I love ThermoSleep! I take it 30 minutes before bedtime, fall asleep fast and wake up feeling so refreshed. I never wake up feeling sluggish.”
It’s hard to think straight when you’re under the pump and all your reserves have withered away. Add in poor sleep, and there’s little wonder that your inner critic might raise its vicious voice.
When you’re burnt out, performing and achieving at your usual standard can become difficult. This can lead to negative inner chatter, or self-critical thinking. As the statements repeat themselves — over and over — they can gather steam and become embedded in your internal monologue. This can worsen an already downward spiral.
Instead, stop. Focus on your breath. Let tight muscles relax and still your mind. The brain can weave the most poisonous ideas, but this doesn’t make them true. Instead, take the prattle as a warning sign that your life is off-balance. That you need to implement change. To shower yourself with kindness. To work out what has gone wrong and how you can fix it.
Do you find yourself procrastinating more than usual? Or are you trying to work but producing little to show for your efforts?
Imagine picking up a small rock and tucking it in your open, empty backpack as you stroll up a hill; simple enough. You won’t lose much time and the feat can be completed easily. It’s a productive task.
Now, imagine trying to do this when the pack is already full. You’d need to prop carefully so when you squat down you can stand again. The weight would make it hard to maintain a steady pace. When you bend, the rocks might fall out. There is more to think about, more to manage, and doing so is infinitely harder. This becomes a less productive task.
The reasons why are obvious.
In health, life resembles the first example.
When burnt out, life mimics the second.
A drop in productivity is not your fault. It is simply a symptom of overwhelm; burnout.
The way to fix this is not to focus on improved productivity, but to correct the reasons it has faltered…
If you are working too many hours, cut back. If you’re not sleeping, focus your attention and effort here. If you could benefit from counselling, get it. If you need to speak up, do it.
Burnout is a common and serious problem. Emotional exhaustion, dealing with anxiety, low motivation, insufficient sleep, self-critical thinking, and poor productivity are signs that you are running on empty; indicators that something needs to change. They are not reasons to beat yourself up further.
Take whatever steps you need to reverse this condition. Because the consequences can be dire. Mental and physical illness, reduced quality of life, or worse, are best dealt with promptly and actively. The cost of not doing so is too high.