Stress is a part of everyday life for most of us, but there are some signs of burnout that you’d be wise not to disregard, as they could be a last-ditch attempt by your body to tell you that you need a break!
We all know the typical symptoms of burnout – namely, being tired and exhausted.
If you’ve been working at 100 miles an hour for too long, you will start to accumulate the wear and tear that involves, sooner or later!
However, there are many smaller, more subtle indications that you have pushed yourself to the limit and need to put your foot on the brakes before you do yourself permanent damage.
Here are the seven signs of burnout that at first might not be something you recognize as a warning bell:
1. Getting Angry at the Drop of a Hat.
Anger can be a justifiable and normal emotion. But have you ever felt like your temper is frayed before you step foot out of the door in the morning?
It might not even be anger, so much as feeling irritable and fidgety. Still, if you find yourself tense and on edge in every area of your life, it’s a great sign that your mind needs a break from the pressure.
2. You Feel Like Your Best Isn’t Good Enough.
When you push your emotional and physical resilience too far, you begin to chip away at your reserves and break down the building blocks of your productivity.
That isn’t always because you are doing a lousy job (although if you’re exhausted, it’s at least likely!), but it can mean you feel down, anxious, cynical, and unhappy.
It’s tough to feel positive and upbeat about your successes when you’re approaching burnout, so no matter how tempting it might be to push, even more, you need to do the opposite to get the bounce back in your step.
3. No Matter How Tired You Are, You Can’t Switch Off.
Another atypical sign of burnout is that you suffer from insomnia, twitchy legs, or can’t get your brain to quiet down, even if you’ve been craving the moment your head hits the pillow all day.
Unable to catch up on some rest when you need it most? That’s a typical sign you’re getting too close to your limit.
Lack of sleep can make every other indication of burnout even worse. Irritability, depression, and health issues are all severely worsened by not resting, so that’s a big flashing neon sign that you’re headed for some tough times if you can’t ease up.
4. It Seems Like You’re Always Getting Sick.
We all know that our mental health and physical health are intrinsically intertwined, and that never shows through stronger than when we’re pushing it too much and our body starts to give us warning signs.
If you have a constant headache, seem to be suffering from a never-ending cold, or have aches and pains with no discernible reason, your body is trying to send you a message – it’s time to listen up!
5. Your Job Doesn’t Seem Such a Big Deal.
In most cases, the signs of burnout stem from putting in too much overtime or failing to take a well-deserved holiday from a career. That isn’t always the case, though, and it could be anything from studies to volunteering, family commitments to DIY jobs – burnout isn’t solely a work-related problem.
Wherever you are putting too much of yourself into, likely, you’ll simply start caring a lot less.
Employers look for primary symptoms of burnout such as repeated absences, turning up late, reduced productivity, and low performance. Those are not necessarily signs that you’re thinking of moving on or aren’t trying hard enough – but that you have tried far too hard, for too long, and need to take a step back, even if just temporarily.
6. Everybody at Home Is on Your Bad Side.
Burnout can impact everything from your health to your relationships. Along with the emotional impacts of trying to keep your engine running on fumes, you will find that interpersonal relationships quickly start to suffer.
That can manifest in many ways, from being unusually short-tempered with your kids to neglecting your partner or initiating countless rows with friends you usually get on with harmoniously.
Combined with other signs of burnout, a deteriorating relationship is another sign to be watchful of since it might mean that you are projecting your exhaustion outwards, with potentially serious consequences.
7. Your Appetite Is as Low as Your Self-Esteem.
Reaching the tipping point can be extremely harmful, and just when you need as much rest and nutrition as you can get, you’ll find your body rebelling against you.
Mother Nature isn’t easily fooled, and even if you’ve ingested enough caffeine to run a marathon, your appetite isn’t going to keep pace. That is because, just as with sleep, your natural rhythms have been thrown off balance and won’t right themselves unless you take a close look at your depleted energy levels.
When you do eat, everything is likely to taste like cardboard since it ties in with your lack of care about work or relationships – your senses have been dulled by the effort required to keep going when you really shouldn’t. So it’s hard to find any enjoyment, even from your favorite meal.
Recognizing Serious Signs of Emotional Burnout
The key with any prolonged exposure to stress is to appreciate that you, like everybody else, have a finite limit.
While it may take much longer to get there, your body and mind will start to send you subtle nudges long before you might realize that they are signs of burnout.
If you resonate with any of these potential signs – or all of them, consider taking a rest, having a holiday, or taking a step back to give your batteries time to recharge.
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