5 Warning Signs of Burnout Syndrome
If the alarm goes off and you just can’t face another day, you might be a victim of burnout syndrome. While burnout is not an official medical diagnosis and has no scientifically agreed-upon definition, burnout is understood as a feeling of exhaustion and dissatisfaction with life circumstances, whether at work or at home.
Most of us know what it feels like to have too much to do and not enough time to do it in. When we’re at our best, we can handle juggling everyday life stressors. (Need a little help? My free To-Do List Makeover will help you feel less frazzled!) But if you’re suffering from burnout syndrome, it’s more than just regular stress. You’ll likely feel several of these symptoms:
Feeling exhausted even if you’ve gotten plenty of sleep is a common sign of burnout. When you are burned out, you often feel a significant decrease in your energy level, which can lead to feeling much more tired than normal.
The stress that leads to burnout syndrome can take a toll on your immune system and cause you to be prone to headaches and upset stomach. An ER doctor once told me Sunday evenings were the busiest ER times because people under severe work stress are prone to chest pains, heartburn, or gastric conditions thinking about the work week ahead.
If you are normally highly engaged at work, but find yourself unwilling to get deeply involved in conversations and problem-solving, that’s a sign of burnout. Burned-out people pull away from their family and colleagues and they also use a technique called “depersonalization” to pull away when they’re in conflict with others. (Check out this article if you want a scientific take on burnout).
Not feeling your usual levels of happiness? Or even your usual levels of sadness? By the time you reach burnout, your emotions have likely been in such overdrive that it’s common to feel numb. You may think it’s great you don’t get angry so easily, but you also won’t feel joy or peace as easily, either.
Burned-out people aren’t great employees, partners, parents, or friends. Because of the other 4 factors above, you’ve lost your motivation to participate and achieve. You might be forced to admit to your burnout after a surprising performance review, or a counseling request from your spouse.
There is no single agreed-upon method for treating burnout. One of the first things you can do is manage stress levels. To get less stressed, ask yourself:
- Am I paying attention to the difference between important and urgent?
If you don’t already know about the Eisenhower Matrix, check it out!
- Am I doing the activities that are most important to reach my personal goals?
Download my free To-Do List Makeover to fit more into your life without being more stressed
- Am I burned out for a reason, and can I change my circumstance?
Many of the above signs can also be symptoms of depression, so if you implement new coping strategies or change your circumstances and STILL notice these signs, it’s a good idea to have a conversation with a health care provider in order to get to the bottom of it.
You can come back from burnout, so don’t let it ruin your career or your life. If you catch these 5 signs of burnout, you can manage your stress, change your circumstances, and get back on track.