How to Tell if You’re Burned Out
Updated on: February 2023
Written by: Heather Burdo
Working through exhaustion may feel like a superpower, but continuing on that path can lead to burnout. Eventually, you will find yourself feeling unfulfilled and overwhelmed.
It can be challenging to recognize if you’ve reached a state of burnout if you’re the go-getter type. If you don’t take time to recognize and address burnout, you could find yourself experiencing depression and health issues.
Let’s dive into what burnout is and what the signs are so you can tackle your goals without harming your state of mind.
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What is Burnout?
Burnout can often feel like you’re in a state of constant overwhelm. You feel stressed and can’t meet any of your goals. Even simple tasks just seem too overwhelming to handle. According to Mayo Clinic, some experts believe that other conditions like depression can be behind burnout.
Signs of Burnout
Burnout can cause a lot of health problems. Recognizing the signs of burnout is crucial so you can address it immediately. The sooner you can find peace and climb your way out of burnout, the better.
Here are some signs to watch for:
- Prolonged stress
- Constantly tired during the day
- No joy in things that used to light you up
- Can’t perform your job or tasks
- Feeling restless
Burnout Vs. Depression
Burnout can often get mistaken as depression. Comparing the symptoms of both conditions, they are similar. They can feel the same. One key thing to remember is that burnout can lead to depression; however, depression itself doesn’t cause burnout.
Depression often doesn’t have a root cause, whereas burnout has a root cause (usually your environment.)
Common Causes of Burnout
Everyone is different, but according to Psych Central and therapist Aisha R. Shabazz, the common causes and potential risk factors of burnout are:
Feeling the pressure to perform or succeed in your job or a specific goal you have can lead to being overworked, causing overwhelm.
Long Work Hours
Some people pride themselves in always being available to work and being proud of not needing breaks. There’s nothing wrong with being driven and motivated, but you need to do so in a healthy way. Long work hours put a state of constant stress on your body, taking a toll on your physical and mental health.
Toxic or Fear-Based Work Culture
Many jobs provide a great atmosphere but there are some workplaces where the environment is hostile and unsupportive. An environment filled with anxiety can wreak havoc on an employee’s mental health and physical well-being.
Whether you’re placing unrealistic expectations on yourself or if your employer is, this can lead to a constant state of stress. You may feel you can achieve the goals and put in the work, but you quickly realize that the goals are unachievable.
If you constantly strive for perfection in everything you do, this can lead to daily stress. Over time, you will likely experience burnout because you just can’t keep up with your drive for perfection.
How to Recover From Burnout
Recovering from burnout is going to take some willpower to cut out the things that put you in that state in the first place.
For example, let’s say your boss is giving you tasks that aren’t even in your job description but you are a laid-back person and take them on anyway. You can have a friendly chat with your boss about how you’d love to help, but you’re doing too much and it’s starting to take a toll. Ultimately, no employer wants short-term productivity that results in long-term burnout.
Here are some other tips that can help pull you out of burnout:
Consider Your Mindset
This one is often overlooked. Your brain is powerful. It can help you but it can also be against you sometimes. What this can look like is constantly believing the thoughts you randomly get like, “I should be making X amount of money by X months,” or “If I can’t do this, then it means I just don’t have the willpower,” or “If I can’t do this perfect then I shouldn’t do anything.”
Statements like this only lead to more stress and anxiety in your body. By repeating statements like this to yourself daily, you’re setting yourself up to be disappointed.
Talk to People You Can Trust
Burnout can be so overwhelming that it can feel like you have blindfolds on and can’t identify the culprit. Someone on the outside can usually pinpoint it quickly. If you feel like you need help sorting through the causes of your burnout, talk to a friend or therapist.
Rest, Rest, Rest
The best thing you can do for your body when you’re experiencing burnout is to rest. Whether this looks like catching up on your sleep or just relaxing and lounging around the house, your body needs the downtime. If you take a few days of just total relaxation, you’ll likely notice an immediate lift of overwhelm.
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How to Prevent Burnout
Not everyone will experience burnout, thankfully. If you take the proper steps you can prevent it yourself.
The best thing you can do for yourself is set boundaries. This can look like:
- Not going overboard at work when it’s not even in your job description
- Telling your family members, you need to rest and they need to also do things for themselves
- Ask yourself if you have the energy and time for each extra task
- Pause before you commit to anything outside of your normal daily routine
This is important because without properly taking care of yourself, your mental and physical health can tank. This can look like going to the gym or exercising lightly at home to keep your body moving. It doesn’t even have to be a stressful commitment if you run low on time; a quick workout can boost your overall mental health.
Make relaxation and downtime a priority. For example, if you’re off from work a couple of days each week, do something you love. Go golfing, take a long bath, binge-watch your favorite shows, just anything that’s something you love and not stressful.
Keep Your Needs in Mind
Listen to your body. Whether that means you need to increase your water intake, if you’re feeling sluggish, try to eat healthier, and if you notice you need more sleep, make sure to do so. Yoga or meditation are great tools to sense what your body needs and be more in tune with yourself.
Burnout doesn’t happen to everyone, but it can feel impossible to climb out of when it does. However, with the above tips in mind, you can overcome the frantic state quicker than you thought. Make sure to take care of yourself, seek help when needed, and remember your priorities and boundaries.