20 Signs of Burnout and How to Recharge
We have all been there, drowning in responsibilities at work or at home. Whether it’s tight deadlines or home projects you are anxious to finish, it can be overwhelming. The buildup of feeling overwhelmed or stressed for an extended period of time can make us feel like we are burnt out. But are we truly burnt out? What are the signs of burnout and how are we supposed to recharge?
- Burnout is defined as a state of physical, emotional, or mental exhaustion
- Signs of burnout take four different forms: mental, physical, emotional, and behavioral.
- When a person is stressed, they are still capable of functioning. In contrast, burnt out individuals feel debilitated.
Believe it or not, despite feeling burnt out, you may not actually be burnt out. There are distinct differences between the body’s reaction to being stressed and being burnt out. The most important difference between stress and burnout are the behaviors of disengagement and detachment related to burnout.
If you think you may be experiencing burnout, keep reading to uncover the 20 signs of burnout and what you can do to help recharge!
What is burnout?
Burnout is defined as a state of physical, emotional, or mental exhaustion. Burnout is the result of enduring unrelenting stress, frustration, or both for a prolonged period.
Typically, this stress or frustration stems from the workplace which leads to workplace burnout. However, the workplace is not the only place an individual can become burnt out. School and relationships can also lead to burnout.
Taking on too many responsibilities that one cannot handle is a major contributor to burnout. This is a tricky notion because we often do not know what is too much until we are faced with the situation. I’ve been in this situation before and I bet you have too! One minute you think you have it and the next it feels like you’re constantly putting out little fires everywhere.
Lack of self-care, recharge activities, and support also contribute largely to burnout. Without de-stressing and a strong support system, stress becomes chronic which inevitability takes a toll on one’s physical, emotional, or mental state.
Signs of Burnout
Signs of burnout take four different forms: mental, physical, emotional, and behavioral. Someone may experience one, two, three, or all four of these forms when feeling burnt out.
Mental Signs of Burnout
- Lack of concentration or creativity
Physical Signs of Burnout
- Low energy
- Gastrointestinal complications
- Frequent illness
- Muscle tension
- Poor sleep
- Change in appetite
Emotional Signs of Burnout
- Emotional numbness
- Loss of motivation
- Loss of satisfaction
Behavioral Signs of Burnout
- Substance abuse
- Inability to complete tasks
Burnout vs. Stress: What is the difference?
Stress and burnout are two different mental states. Essentially, stress is the foundation of burnout. When a person is stressed, they are still capable of functioning. In contrast, burnt out individuals feel debilitated.
For example, stressed individuals are still engaged, even over-engaged at times. On the other hand, burnout causes an individual to become disengaged. Oftentimes, stress is associated with anxiety and burnout is associated with depression. Lastly, another key difference is stress leading to loss of energy while burnout leads to loss of motivation and hope.
How can you recharge and combat burnout?
Recharging and alleviating stressors are key to combating burnout. If you are beginning to feel overwhelmed in any aspect of your life, take a step back, take a deep breath, and try implementing some of these recharge techniques. Remember it is okay to show yourself the TLC you deserve. Someone has to, right?
1. Build a strong support system
Building a strong support system of people genuinely invested in your life makes a world of difference. I know I would not be here today without my support system!
It can be frightening to lean on people for support and ask for help when needed. But remember, asking for help is not a sign of weakness, it is a sign of strength. Everyone needs a helping hand and outlet to vent to, we are humans for Pete’s sake!
Exercise is one of the best ways to naturally rid your body of stress by burning off the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol. In 2015, a 4-week study took place analyzing the benefits of cardiovascular and resistance exercise for reducing workplace burnout.
The study found that after four weeks of exercise, “participants had greater positive well-being and personal accomplishment, and [simultaneously] less psychological distress, perceived stress, and emotional exhaustion,” (U.S. National Library of Medicine). Furthermore, the study concluded that the results indicate exercise may be a highly effective treatment for burnout.
3. Step away from what is stressing you out
Sometimes, when you feel overwhelmed it is best to step away from the task or situation. A quick five minute stroll around the office or living room, time spent petting your pet, a fresh cup of coffee, or a quick stroll through TikTok can ease the mind. Stepping away can also create a fresh perspective when you come back!
Meditation focuses on mindfulness or fixed attention to clear the mind and achieve a state of peace. The mental state of peacefulness from meditation is achieved through practice overtime.
Keys to successful meditation practice include finding a comfortable space you feel safe in and a time frame. Beginners, try picking a short time frame such as 5-10 minutes. YouTube, Calm, Headspace, and Unplug are all great resources to find led meditation practices.
5. Build a self-care ritual
Setting aside time each day for you and only you is crucial to recharging your mental, emotional, and physical state. A self-care ritual may be journaling, meditating, cooking, exercising, skincare, or taking a bath.
Self-care rituals are not one size fit all. It is about finding something that you love and relaxes you. That way you can unwind and blow off steam from long, stressful days of hard work.
Becoming burnt out should be taken seriously in order to persevere mental, physical, and emotional health. Implementing recharging techniques into your day can help combat symptoms of burnout and prevent oneself from becoming burnt out. Life can be full of peaks and valleys, but remember we are all in this together! Keep on chugging along.
Written by Lauren Conklin