The phrase “I’m so burnt out” has become increasingly popular in the last few years. And let’s face it, we all get tired of our jobs no matter how much we enjoy them. But burnout entails a lot more than just feeling lazy or uninterested. It feels as if you need superhuman strength to carry out the simplest of actions, not only at work but in your everyday life as well. It also involves feeling hopeless, useless, and stuck like a hamster who can’t hop off the wheel.
Burnout can cause long-term problems in professionals and can be caused by a variety of factors that include being overworked, carrying out tasks in a toxic environment, and receiving little or no support from superiors. Today, as cases of burnout rise, it’s more important than ever to become aware of what this syndrome truly is and how to reduce the risk of suffering from it. Here we present you with 6 signs that you’re burned out and what to do to feel well once more.
#1 - What Exactly Is Burnout?
Someone who’s not productive at work and doesn’t really feel like doing anything (much the less something productive) is usually labeled as lazy. But is it so? In the last few years, more and more people have been reporting feelings of exhaustion, excessive stress, and an inability to cope with negative feelings related to their jobs (1).
All of these symptoms refer to burnout, that is, a state of complete exhaustion caused by prolonged stress that makes us feel we are unable to meet constant demands. This, in turn, leads to demotivation and unproductivity that may be seen as plain laziness by others. More simply put, you show signs of burnout when you feel exhausted, useless, and start hating your job.
Burnout can be difficult to recognize because its symptoms can overlap with other conditions like stress or depression. Some of the most common signs include feeling:
- Constantly distracted and overwhelmed.
- Helpless and cynical.
- Forgetful of even the most important things.
- Too tired and with low energy.
- Demotivated towards your job.
- That you have nothing left to give.
Additionally, burnout can produce a foggy mind, making you feel your thoughts and actions don’t make sense anymore. Of course, your productivity at work will be affected. And burnout will not only have negative consequences on your job: it can take a toll on every area of your life and even make you vulnerable to catching a disease like the flu. That is why it’s important to understand why it happens and how to deal with it straight away.
#2 - Why Does Burnout Appear?
While you may think burnout appears if you have a high-stress job where you make difficult decisions every day, this is not the case. Even if you love your job or if you have a low-responsibility position, you can still experience burnout! Exhaustion is the primary component of this condition, but it’s not the only one. If you’d like to avoid burnout and feel successful and comfortable at work, you should learn what the reasons behind burnout are and how to avoid them.
Some of the factors that trigger this condition are:
- Inadequate training for a new job position.
- Working in a toxic environment.
- Juggling between too many tasks without any help.
- Unfair treatment by managers.
- Low wages for high-responsibility jobs.
- Dealing with too-tight deadlines.
- Having complicated relationships with co-workers or superiors.
#3 - Stress and Burnout: What’s the Difference?
Stress and burnout are intrinsically related, as we can say that the latter appears as a result of prolonged stress (among other factors). The main difference between these two conditions, however, is that, believe it or not, stress can sometimes be positive. Research has proven that a bit of acute stress can boost our motivation and improve our performance in the short run (2). We all go through some degree of stress at some point in our work life and this can even push us to our limits and make us perform better.
Meanwhile, we can’t say the same about burnout, which is considered to be a serious health issue. When stress is prolonged for too long and we start feeling moody and anxious, this is when the risk of burnout appears.
#4 -Signs and Symptoms of Burnout
Let’s cut to the chase: here are some of the most common signs and symptoms that will help you identify whether you have reached the point of burnout:
Loss of Motivation
Perhaps you’ve just wrapped up an important project and find it hard to muster the motivation you need to move on to the next one. Maybe you just feel drained and bored when it comes to work-related tasks. Either way, if you used to be self-motivated and a high-achiever but recently find yourself feeling exhausted, apathetic, and plainly unmotivated, it’s more than likely that you’re burned out.
Feeling Tired and Drained Most of the Time
This symptom may be tricky because it can also be confused with other conditions or with plain laziness. But one thing can help you be sure you’re suffering from burnout: you struggle to find interest in things that made you feel passionate and motivated before. No matter if it’s work, academic performance, or a sport, burnout can take away all the enjoyment you used to feel when doing the things you loved. To make matters worse, it may even lead you to resent or hate those activities because you pushed yourself too hard.
Skipping Work or Coming in Late and Leaving Early
This is related to the symptom above. As you don’t feel interested in your job anymore, you may have no motivation to arrive early (or arrive at all!). Similarly, you may be counting the minutes until you leave instead of actually working.
Isolating Yourself From Others
Feeling burned out is many times a synonym for feeling moody, irritated, and anxious. You may even adopt passive-aggressive behavior at work, pushing people away and isolating yourself from others because, let’s be honest, who would like to be around a person who snaps at you all the time? If this feels like you, this may be the right time to consult with a professional.
Changes in Appetite or Sleep Habits
Sustained stress can also take a toll on your digestive health. Stomach aches are common when you feel nervous and, if this is maintained over time, it can disturb your diet and make you lose your appetite. The same can be said about your sleeping patterns. The negative feelings and anxiety triggered by burnout can cause sleep deprivation, worsening your symptoms.
Sense of Failure and Self-Doubt
Burnout can feel like a vicious circle sometimes. Many times, it appears as a result of giving too much and obtaining poor results, making you feel like a failure. In turn, you lose faith in yourself and your job, which can result in very poor performance. This is when you start self-doubting and feeling like a failure (again!), so you need to break this circle before you spiral out of control.
#5 - How to Deal With Burnout
Burnout can make you feel stressed, lethargic, sad, and depleted. But even if everything looks bleak and insurmountable, the good news is that you can change the wheels in the right direction and reverse burnout by changing your routine and consulting with a specialist.
It may be hard to take action and muster the energy to do something about it, but it’s not impossible. Here are some ideas on how to deal with burnout and reclaim the enjoyment in your professional life that you deserve.
Reach Out to Others
Opening up to your friends, family, and partner will help you alleviate your burden. In addition to them being honored by your honesty and trust, they have likely gone through a similar experience at some point. They may even give you valuable advice on how to cope with burnout! Of course, don’t forget to consult with a professional who can give you options for available treatments in your particular case.
Take up a Hobby
Starting a new activity that helps you relax and focus on something else besides work is key to feeling better. It could be a sport, a religious activity, or even joining a support group that motivates you to get out of the house and forget about work-related stress.
Implement a Healthy Routine
But having a healthy routine entails so much more than just exercising. For instance, you need to have a balanced diet to make sure your body and mind have all the energy they need to function correctly. If you feel that’s not the case, here is some advice to start eating more healthily:
- Do away with refined carbs and sugar, such as French fries or candy, because they make you feel well for a very short time and then lead to a crash in mood and energy you don’t need when you feel burned out.
- Have more proteins, minerals, and essential nutrients like omega-3, present in fatty fish, seaweed, and walnuts. In addition to doing wonders for your health, these fatty acids can give your mood a boost. You can also try health supplements to get an extra boost of energy. For example, you can try the Ketone Energy Pro4, which helps you reduce stress, anxiety, and mood swings in addition to boosting your energy levels.
- Start exercising. If you feel burned out, chances are you won’t be in the mood for going for a run or starting pilates classes. But making an effort to start is going to pay off! Doing exercise is a powerful antidote to boost your mood, sleep better, and overall feel healthier. Only 30 minutes per day is enough to make a difference.
- Relax. Meditating, doing yoga, and carrying out breathing exercises, for example, help your body and mind relax, reducing stress and exhaustion.
Get Enough Sleep
Who doesn’t get grumpy when they sleep poorly? Feeling tired can make your burnout symptoms much worse, causing you to be even moodier and irrational. Getting a good night’s sleep, then, is essential to heal. Try to relax before going to bed, disconnect from technology, eat a light dinner, and maybe try out a natural health supplement like our Deep Sleep Mode to get all the hours of uninterrupted sleep you need to be healthy.
Take a Break
Nothing will help you do away with burnout symptoms like taking some days off. Getting away from the office will help you recharge your batteries and heal while you reflect on the value you can find in your work. Changing your attitude can sometimes work wonders when helping you regain purpose and control.
But if using your vacation time or sick days is impossible, try to look for opportunities to restock your mental energy by doing things that you love. Go for a run, enjoy the weekend without using electronic devices, or at least have lunch away from your desk.
You’re Not Lazy: You’re Burnt Out!
In a world where everything changes fast and we need to do our best at all times, more and more professionals admit feeling burned out. The extreme pressures we endure at work can make us feel debilitated and useless. And burnout is so much more than being less productive at work. This condition can affect all the areas of your life and leave you unable to cope with everyday problems.
To reverse burnout symptoms, you’ll need to take some steps toward recovery and prevention. In addition to trying to step away from what is harming you, you should prioritize your health, improve your diet, try to get a good night’s sleep, and overall change your perspective to try and find some value in your work. Seeking out help from your friends and making new friends at the office is also essential for healing.
Don’t let burnout zap the joy out of your career and reclaim the quality of life you deserve! And if you feel you need some help to regain your health and well-being, take our Free Comprehensive Health Assessment to get a personalized recommendation on which products to take.