“I’m not good at my job.”
“I don’t want to get out of bed.”
“I haven’t had a new idea in months!”
“Why wont this headache go away?”
Listed above are just a few phrases you may say to yourself when your are experiencing burnout. Burnout is known to affect a person both physically and emotionally, and can appear when the body has reduced energy to perform at a job or in daily activities. This can be extremely frustrating! Psychology Today identifies burnout as “A state of emotional, mental, and often physical exhaustion brought on by prolonged or repeated stress.” Burnout can look like: frequent self-criticism, increased fatigue, lack of motivation to complete daily tasks, or lingering pain such as headaches or stomachaches. Luckily, burnout is treatable.
You may be wondering, ‘where does burnout come from?’ Burnout can be found in many areas of life; feeling overwhelmed at work or in caretaking roles, high-focused duties that lack breaks, intense involvement in areas that lack our interest, and even in relationships, whether romantic or otherwise. Experiencing burnout can be a sign to our mind and body that something different is needed. Oftentimes, taking a break can prevent burnout temporarily, but once you’re already in a burnout situation, something needs to change, whether it be a change in jobs, removing unhealthy relationships from ones life, or simply taking time for yourself through self-care.
Burnout is something that happens gradually and often isn’t predictable. However, if we pay close enough attention, we can learn the signs of burnout and implement coping skills early on. Preventing burnout can be done with certain self-care behaviors such as mediation, deep breathing, connecting with loved ones, proper sleep, talking with a trusted person about difficult situations going on in life, learning to implement boundaries, evaluating a change of job or living arrangement, etc.
Once we are physically in a burnout, we can implement the aforementioned strategies, but it may require even more of a step back from the situation that is causing burnout. Often we need to take a serious break to reset ourselves. Feel free to give yourself a pat on the back; you are a hard worker and life seemed to just catch up to you!
Article contribution by Maggie Berg, MS, MFT-IT