If you are having a difficult time sleeping, always feel sick and can’t concentrate like you used to, you may be showing some classic symptoms of burnout. While the term isn’t recognised by the medical community, those who are overworked or feel that life is a continuous cycle of stress and exhaustion understand it all too well.
Doctors describe burnout as a chronic state of stress and agree that it can lead to both physical and mental exhaustion. When you are burned out at work, you are no longer able to function at a professional level and while it affects your job, it can also have an effect on your personal and family life as well.
Studies have shown that more than 45% of working days have been lost due to stress, anxiety and depression and that number continues to grow every year. Tighter deadlines, heavier workloads and more responsibility are proven to be the cause of a chronic state of stress and being burned out can even lead to hospitalisation for some workers.
What happens to our bodies when we become burnt out? The additional stress triggers adrenaline, the hormone responsible for our fight or flight response. Too much adrenaline over a long period of time leads to that burned out feeling that we sometimes experience. This can cause serious health problems if not handled properly.
Here are the key signs you could be suffering from burnout:
- Poor sleep
- An unsettled stomach and poor digestion
- High blood pressure
- Constantly thinking about work when at home
- Irritable mood
- Not enough time for work deadlines, projects, family or even yourself
- Poor concentration
- Socialising less
What steps can you take to avoid burnout?
To avoid becoming burned out at work, you want to follow some simple steps to reduce your stress levels and make them more manageable.
Look for certain stress triggers throughout your day and find ways to avoid them. A good example is to take more short breaks throughout the day. Go for a walk on your lunch break and you’ll be amazed at how much it can reduce your stress levels.
Another way you can avoid becoming burned out is to speak with a counselor or another qualified professional. Someone who you can talk to and who can show you ways to relieve stress and become more productive while avoiding workplace burn out.
Being burned out affects every aspect of your life and it could lead to illness. Avoid burn out by taking better care of yourself, making time for yourself and becoming more mindful of your body and what it is trying to tell you.
This great quote from Anne Lamott says it all
“Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a while…including you”
Thanks for reading.