The term "burnout" has been quite the buzz word over the last few years as people have redefined what work-balance looks like since the start of the global health pandemic.
The official definition of burnout is: a state of physical, emotional, or mental exhaustion caused by high amounts of prolonged stress according to HelpGuide.org. Knowing the signs and symptoms of burnout will help in achieving your own personal optimal level of balance between work and personal life.
Depending on what your goals are, it can be hard to tell if what you're experiencing is burnout or just the daily grind to success. Here are a few signs that may help you in recognizing when burnout is present and what you can do to prevent it showing up in the future:
Aches and Pain
If you're having never-ending headaches and/or shoulder and neck pain that just won't go away, this is a pretty good sign that burnout is present. Tension headaches are likely the number 1 culprit when it comes to pain and burnout. Your body typically does a pretty good job in showing you what your physical, emotional and mental limits are. While tension headaches can be relieved with over-the-counter medication, it's always a best practice to talk to your doctor or physician to rule out any alternate causes or issues.
Another physical sign of burnout is feeling fatigued or overly tired. This is arguably the most relatable and easily recognizable sign that you are feeling unbalanced. Persistent fatigue is your brain telling you that it's working on overload mode and it may be time for a reset. When you're feeling exhausted from burnout, it can be a good practice to perform relaxing activities often and be intentional about the time you're committing to your nightly sleep routine.
Are you finding that you have a shorter temper as of late? Are you feeling resentful when it's time to get to work? A decrease in your patience can create a dysfunctional work dynamic for you, and others that you work with. When you do find your patience hanging by a thread, try identifying the root cause. Determining if the cause is interpersonal, or from experiencing a life hardship, or even caused from the day-to-day responsibilities that's demanded of you, once you are able to pinpoint the root are you then able to know how to proceed in eliminating that stressor from your life.
Team No Fun
A lack in motivation for doing fun activities or even the hobbies that usually promote joy and happiness within you can be a sign of burnout. Sometimes our desire to outperform or overachieve at work can send us into a spiral of unattainable success. The more we pour from an empty cup, the less time we spend doing things that we enjoy. Set aside intentional time for you hobbies and/or trying new activities. This will make it easier to eliminate burnout from your life altogether.
It's possible to feel disconnected from your loved ones when going through burnout. If you're finding it a challenge to stay present during family time or even during group gatherings with loved ones, burnout could be on the horizon. Not only can your struggling relationship cause you to feel disconnected from your environment and those close to you, it can also cause distrust and increased pessimism. This could eventually cause damage to long-standing relationships that could be preventable.
A messy external world can overload the brain. Decluttering your space will promote a sense of peace, calm and tranquility. Once your space begins to get cluttered, it can slowly start to snowball into feeling like you're slowly sinking in your space and cannot escape. Clutter ultimately weighs us down and doesn't promote a space for self-care or overall well-being. When thinking about decluttering your space, think about your digital space as well. Our brains can get overloaded with information, deadlines and instructions among other work-related materials.
Remember, burnout it directly related to our idea of seeking perfection at work, home, in our relationships and beyond. Understand that when we pursue this perfectionism, it comes at a cost to your mental, physical, emotional and sometimes, spiritual health and well-being.
To avoid burnout, get your work-life balance under control and recognize when the signs and symptoms are showing up in your life. Pay attention to your schedule in relation to your priorities and do things that support your passions and purpose.