If you’ve ever felt physically and mentally exhausted, you may have burnout. Learn about the different signs of burnout and how it impacts your health.
We all get tired here and there, but experiencing a constant state of mental and physical exhaustion is called burnout. It generally results from exposure to stressful situations like working long hours, caring for family members, or watching upsetting news.
However, because burnout isn’t always easy to spot, it’s important to know the different signs of burnout. The following are some common signs of burnout as well as how to help loved ones who are going through it.
How Burnout Impacts Your Health
Unlike ordinary fatigue, burnout is a severe stress condition that results in severe emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion. Those who experience burnout can often feel hopeless and like they have nothing left to give.
Burnout makes it challenging to cope with stress and day-to-day responsibilities. Moreover, it can lead to depression, heart disease, and diabetes if left untreated.
Anyone who continually experiences high levels of stress, either at home or the workplace, is vulnerable to burnout. According to a recent study, the condition doesn’t just affect working professionals but also parents. Other people at risk include perfectionists and those who need to be in control.
Signs of Burnout
You may not realize you’re experiencing burnout, so it’s important to look out for certain symptoms. If you feel exhaustion, isolation, escape fantasies, irritability, and frequent illnesses, you may have burnout.
Exhaustion can make you feel physically and emotionally depleted, as well as sleep changes, headaches, stomachaches, and appetite changes. Isolation is a result of feeling overwhelmed, which can stop you from socializing with friends and family.
Escape fantasies are common if you feel dissatisfied with your job demands, causing you to daydream about running away. Irritability results from daily tasks that seem insurmountable, causing you to lose your cool more easily.
Finally, burnout can lower your immune system, resulting in more frequent illnesses like insomnia, colds, and the flu. Moreover, it can also result in mental health conditions like anxiety and depression.
Stages of Burnout
We generally expect a health condition to hit all at once, but that isn’t the case with burnout. According to psychologists Herbert Freudenberger and Gail North, there are 12 stages of burnout:
- Compulsion to prove oneself (excessive ambition)
- Working harder
- Neglecting own needs
- Displacement of conflicts and needs
- No longer any time for non-work-related needs
- Increasing denial of the problem, decreasing flexibility of thought/behavior
- Withdrawal, lack of direction, cynicism
- Behavioral changes/psychological reactions
- Depersonalization: loss of contact with self and own needs
- Inner emptiness, anxiety, addictive behavior
- Increasing feeling of meaninglessness and lack of interest
- Physical exhaustion that can be life-threatening
If you’re experiencing these symptoms, it’s time to ask a professional help as you may not be able to overcome this on your own. However, you can also do certain things to maintain your physical and mental health as you deal with burnout.
By exercising, eating a well-balanced diet, practicing good sleeping habits, and asking for help, you can keep yourself healthy. In addition, you can help a loved one by listening, validating their feelings, offering kind gestures, and providing specific types of help.
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