Are you experiencing some burnout symptoms? If so, that’s something you don’t want to ignore. Going through your days without making significant changes will only make you feel worse.
In her “Psychology Today” article entitled “The Telltale Signs of Burnout…Do You Have Them?” Sherrie Bourg Carter Psy.D. shares the following:
“You don’t wake up one morning and all of a sudden “have burnout.” Its nature is much more insidious, creeping up on us over time like a slow leak, which makes it much harder to recognize.”
Still, regardless of the specific type of burnout, there are often some unifying or common burnout signs. This is true whether you’re speaking of the signs of burnout at work or the symptoms of nurse burnout.
If you’ve been under high-stress levels for a prolonged time and feel like you can’t keep going anymore, you may identify with some of these signs. Let’s take a look!
Increased Irritability, Anger, or Impatience: Do you find yourself ‘shorter’ with your family, friends, or co-workers than you usually would be. This could be a burnout sign as your resources and energy to handle the relationships around you deplete and break down.
Physical Ailments: Because feeling burned out affects your entire person, your physical wellbeing also suffers. Besides ongoing fatigue, you may also experience stomach pain, intestinal concerns, or headaches to the point of migraines.
Avoidance of the Burnout Cause: Is your job, schoolwork, or a relationship burning you out? If so, you’ll likely avoid that trigger as much as you can or set up defense mechanisms to help you survive if you can’t immediately avoid it.
Cynicism or Negativity: How do you avoid the cause of burnout, which often is such a big part of your life? Doing so can be extremely difficult to impossible, at least initially. As a result, you may become emotionally detached, cynical, or pessimistic about what’s causing your burnout because you struggle to see a solution or a way to feel better.
Emotional Fatigue: Just like your physical body feels exhausted, so does your emotional state. Because you feel so drained, things that wouldn’t normally bother you do. It becomes increasingly challenging to cope emotionally with your ongoing and unhealthy stress levels.
Difficulty Concentrating: Mental tasks become more difficult because of your cognitive fatigue. Activities like emailing, reading, and decision making can feel overwhelming when they usually wouldn’t be. Because of this, tasks tend to take longer to complete.
Poor Work Performance: Constant stress and resentment towards an area of life cause your effectiveness or performance to suffer. At first, the change may be almost imperceptible but eventually becomes evident. Besides decreased performance at work, you may also notice less ability to parent as you should or to engage in a relationship as you once did.
Decline in Creativity: We all have to problem-solve throughout life, which takes creativity. We need this type of ingenuity more than we realize. And this also holds true for individuals who wouldn’t typically consider themselves creative. A loss of creativity makes it difficult to find creative outlets, but it also makes it challenging to imagine a way out of your burnout or develop good solutions in all life areas.
Self-Medicating: Because you regularly feel stressed out to the point of exhaustion and don’t know how to get out of the situation, there’s a high tendency to engage in activities to make you feel better for at least a little while. That could include but isn’t limited to the overindulgence of drugs, alcohol or food. Some of these self-medicating attempts are healthy in moderation, but self-control becomes increasingly difficult as your burnout continually worsens. Until your burnout is addressed, none of your self-medicating activities will be able to dig you out of your ever-deepening mire.
Sleep Difficulties: All that added stress can make insomnia a greater possibility. You may struggle to fall asleep, stay asleep, or both. You may also sleep more than normal during any free time you have because you live in a constant state of exhaustion.
Sadness and Depression: If left unaddressed, prolonged burnout can lead to despair and depression. Many of the symptoms of someone who is ‘burnt out’ are strikingly similar to depression. After a while, it can be tough to know if your depression is causing your burnout or the opposite. When each new day comes and you regularly don’t feel you have the emotional, physical or spiritual energy to accomplish your tasks, that can be incredibly discouraging.
Anxiety: As your burnout grows worse, your anxiety may make it difficult for you to accomplish tasks at work or home. Your anxiety also may cause you to isolate yourself from others.
Can You Relate to These Burnout Symptoms?
Especially during the year of the pandemic, stress levels have been high. If you’re concerned that you or someone close to you is exhibiting these symptoms, it’s crucial to take steps right away to help combat burnout. Burnout counseling is a worthy consideration for individuals struggling in this way.
At the Relationship Center of Orange County, our team can help you figure out why you’re feeling burned out and offer evidence-based solutions to bring you relief. Whether you need individual counseling, marriage therapy or relationship counseling, we’re here to assist you.
We provide counseling in Newport Beach, CA and counseling in Mission Viejo, CA. Another option is virtual counseling (teletherapy) if that would work better for your schedule or is required because of the pandemic. Please feel free to schedule an appointment with us at your convenience.