I am sure you have all heard of the term “burnout” recently, and even more so as we are being more open with workplace well-being and finding that work life balance that we all need in our lives. Therefore, I think it is important to look at the signs if you are burned out before it turns into something more serious.
So, what does Burnout mean?
This term was first spoke about during the 1970s by psychologist Herbet Freudenberger. Freudenberger stated that this new condition as a state of exhaustion that is caused by prolonged working, and he borrowed this term of “burnout” to help describe it.
According to the World Health Organisation there are three elements when you are feeling burned out: feeling exhausted, poor performance at work and mental detachment from your job. But it is important to note that it can happen to anyone in any profession and at any time.
The first step to burnout is being able to recognise the signs. Here I explore 10 signs you are burned out…
Mornings are hard
Of course you might want to distinguish between “I am not a morning person” and mornings being hard due to feeling burned out. For example, before you might have jumped out of bed and now you dread getting up/ you are finding getting out of bed more difficult.
This could be even more predominant when it is during the work week and you know you have a to do list, or meetings and presentations to get through that week.
You have no excitement for anything
Another sign you are feeling burned out could be you have lost that feeling of excitement in your life. This is probably for a lot of us during the lockdown period and constantly living in the unknown.
However, if you are noticing that you have lost enthusiasm for your hobbies or even your work and you are struggling to find any passion or creativity then it could be due to burnout.
Finding it hard to start tasks
You could be about to start work or begin writing or doing your hobby and you just sit there wondering “well how can I start”. This can also be similar to other things as well (such as “brain fog”) but the underlying problem could be a lot deeper.
However, you can have a meeting with your team or manager, create a fresh to do list or even set yourself new goals. This could help reboot yourself, but as I said it could also be a deeper issue.
You are procrastinating
Linking into the point above, there could be tasks sitting on your to do lists and everyday you are just pushing them aside. It could be that you choose to do something else or distract yourself, just anything to avoid actually doing that task that needs to be done.
If this is happening think about if there are any patterns or if this is just occurring for certain tasks more than others.
You struggle with small decisions
Another sign of feeling burned out is struggling to make small decisions. It could be you are struggling with deciding what to eat, what you want to watch or do, where to go for a walk. These are small decisions but you just cannot seem to find the answers to them.
This could definitely be a sign of your mind telling you it is feeling overwhelmed and burned out. Therefore, your mind does not want to make anymore decisions/take on additional decisions and so does not want to make the effort at all.
You feel more irritable
Something else that is a sign of feeling burned out is feeling irritable. It could literally be over the smallest of things and you just find yourself irritated by everything and anything in your way.
When this does happen do take that moment or time to stop and think “would this have happened normally” or has your behaviour changed and become out of character?
Your achievements don’t mean much to you
I always go on about the importance of celebrating our victories and achievements no matter how big or small. It is good to appreciate your hard work and just you. However, if you notice that suddenly you are not reacting to your achievements as you normally would then this could be because you are feeling burned out.
Strained relationship with others
This could be your relationships towards others feels different. If you are normally a social person and now you are finding yourself cancelling plans or not replying to messages then it could be time to reach out for help.
When we go through any mental health challenges ensuring our relationships with the people around us is so important.
Struggling to concentrate
Feeling burned out and stress can both contribute to problems with paying attention or concentrating on tasks. This is because, when we are burned out or stressed we focus our attention on the negative element that we perceive as a threat. In the short term this is great and helps our bodies deal with the problem however, when this becomes long term/chronic this is when it can become difficult to concentrate.
Not taking care of yourself
When you are feeling burned out you might find yourself engaging in unhealthy habits. This could be eating too much fatty foods, snacking, drinking too much or even not being able to sleep.
You might find yourself relying on these unhealthy habits to get yourself through the day because at the time in the short term these habits make you feel good. However, these habits do not solve the long term or underlying issues which could be you being burned out.
There you have it 10 signs you are burned out. But please remember that if you need to then do ask for help and get that extra support you need. As I said the first step is to acknowledge the signs of burnout and then seek support where you need. However, do remember that some of these signs could be a lot deeper and could be related to mental health too.
Are you feeling burnout right now? Do you have any other advice or things you do to help when you are feeling burned out?
Thanks for reading,
Gemma Jayne x