What’s Burnout exactly?
Feeling ‘burnt out’ is not entirely about feeling overworked or just even feeling overly tired. In fact, burnout is actually recognized as a form of depression that can be caused by both life and work stress, equaled with overthinking, which can result in having an inner conflict.
In this article, we will discuss ‘burnout syndrome,’ which is now known for the first time as an official medical condition.
This ‘syndrome’ is due to having unmanaged and persistent pressure that can form from a multitude of things such as having bad relations with co-workers, not saying “no” enough, or simply from having too much negative self-talk about your job or current point of view in life.
And in order to cure anything especially when it comes to feeling burned out, you first to first figure out what’s causing it.
So let’s dive in to see what some of the symptoms of feeling burned out are and then discover a few straight-forward self-care action steps that’ll help aid your burnout to get you back to feeling your best again.
What triggers burnout?
Since we all know that work stress is imminent because a lot of us suffer from this pressure on a day-to-day basis, there are also many other triggers that can create this work/life imbalance that we feel. So in order to treat your burnout effectively so you can turn things around, you first must figure out what is actually triggering your burnout.
So what constitutes feeling ‘burned out’?
Feeling ‘burned out’ can be the result of many factors from feeling overly fatigued, having negative self-talk, insomnia, aches and pains throughout the body including headaches, and a feeling of listlessness like you can’t go on.
So in order to rediscover meaning and joy in your career and life, it’s vital that you have a plan and tackle the root and the first step to understanding your burnout so you can tackle the root, is to figure out and analyze what triggers it.
Dr. Maslach and her colleagues did a great job describing three distinct forms of burnout in their paper The Future of Burnout, which details the following:
- Interpersonal burnout: This is seen as the byproduct of stressful working relationships, environments, market changes, or interpersonal conflicts such as with a supervisor or a co-worker. Dr. Maslach and her colleagues also point out that market changes can trigger burnout just as much as everything else that is interpersonally listed above.
- Individual burnout: This is considered the byproduct of factors linked to overly negative self-talk. Negative self-talk can cause stress and havoc on the nervous system which can lead to burnout sensations. If you are negatively blaming outside circumstances, individual burnout could be the culprit that’s causing you the stress you are feeling without you even being aware of it.
- Organizational burnout: This is seen as a difference between the employee and the job. In short, there’s a workplace mismatch that’s going on, such as one could be in the wrong industry or wrong position within their chosen field. You must know that you can’t force nature. Organizational burnout could be the result if you are experiencing it all of the time.
Recognizable Personal Symptoms of Burnout to be aware of.
During a burnout phase a person who is suffering from burnout may feel extremely drained, have distorted and often cynical perceptions of themselves and others and may also recognize a few additional symptoms if they fall into one of the categories of having work stress/related burnout:
- Physical symptoms: Chronic stress can lead to symptoms such as headaches, intestinal problems, fatigue, body aches, and loss of appetite or overeating which are all due to work-related stress.
- Emotional symptoms: Feeling ‘burnt out’ can make people feel exhausted, incapable of functioning, tired, self-critical, depressed, listless, angry, and sad.
As you can see, if you have any of these recognizable symptoms listed, and you have discovered the root of your burnout from the suggested three categories Dr. Maslach and her colleagues outlined above, there is a way to turn it all around.
Here are 7 powerful self-care ideas that’ll help treat your burnout fast so you can get back to feeling like yourself again in no time at all!
1. Recharge your batteries.
Some individuals take pride in working around the clock and get burned out because of it. Not only that, but overworking is just one of the many reasons why people feel burned out, so if you can prioritize sleep just as much as you prioritize your busiest of tasks, you’ll be well on your way to feeling some relief.
Avoid worrying and begin to calm your mind before you go to sleep. If you want to feel good and healthy on the next day after an exhausting work week, recharge your battery and go to bed early the night before.
Recharging your batteries and getting great sleep is not only healthy for your body but when it comes to feeling burned out, you really have to sleep like your life depends on it. Take a day off if you can, and have at least eight hours of sleep each night to help get through this period of overwork and feeling burned out.
2. Take care of your own health and nourish your body.
When we are exhausted, our bodies need food and nutrients. Highly processed carbohydrates can cause our blood sugar levels to spike and then fall. So consciously making the choice to choose a nutritious lunch instead of a sugary plate will help ease stress.
It is also highly advisable to be extra mindful when consuming caffeine-containing beverages in the afternoon. Doing so will eliminate that next caffeine crash, plus, if you think carefully about how you want to feel when it comes to what you eat and drink, you’ll be eliminating your burnout sensations dramatically if you do.
3. Find out what excites you and do more of that.
Even if you like what you’re doing, it can wear you down. And since burnout is inevitable whether your working day is to answer to other people’s demands or simply because you are asked to work on projects that don’t really excite you anymore. If you’re not enthusiastic about life or are not passionate about your career, you might have lost your interest.
Moreover, the sensation of feeling ‘burned out’ can also indicate that you have outgrown your profession, your role no longer offers the same happiness as it once did, or you have started progressing in the workplace and when this occurs, you may not feel as engaged or challenged enough.
In order to change course, strive to discover what gives you the greatest sense of joy and focus on that. It is vital that you make time for the things that you enjoy so you can alleviate stress.
4. Start thinking like an optimist.
If you feel like your burnout is worsening your temper, then now is the time to think about your situation and try to be more positive about it.
Even the busiest business people take time to value their accomplishments and failures, so they can work on the former and turn the latter into positives.
So when it comes to feeling burnt out, it all comes down to the narrative that you tell yourself, and that narrative is either going to be an optimistic one or a pessimistic one.
For the sake of your mental health, try to erase your negative thoughts and counter them by focusing on gratitude. Doing this may sound silly but gratitude is absolutely necessary for you to remain positive state of mind.
5. Know how to ease your ‘fight and flight’ response.
During a burnout phase, our nervous system is out of order and our ‘fight or flight’ response gets stress-activated. This means that your responses to stress during your burnout phase may be more volatile and reactive than you really want them to be.
As the fight or flight reflex is initiated, our bodies believe we are getting ready for combat, and when we are provoked, we produce both adrenaline and cortisol (that is injected into the body and bloodstream). When our fight or flight response gets activated it can make us have reactionary responses to certain things that are causing us stress. These stress hormones are then consumed by the body and only physical exercise and deep respiration (deep breathing) can help us feel calm and feeling like our natural self again.
The easiest way to combat this ‘rush of feelings’ is to incorporate a quick training routine that has a few basic fitness exercises that you can do comfortably at home, in the office, or on the road.
6. Start saying “no!” and more often!
During your burnout phase, you have to know that every “yes” that you say will also add to your workload and stress, and once again this will eliminate more time, enthusiasm, and creativity for yourself and your most basic needs.
So, the next time you are being asked to take on more than you can handle, think before you speak and ask yourself, can you really take on more duties, and if possible can you delegate that task to someone else?
If you ask yourself these questions first and think before you commit, you can relieve some pressure to recoup and start feeling like yourself again.
7. Carve out 15 minutes of “me-time” every single day.
One of the best forms of self-care, that is strongly urged to cure feeling burnt out, is to also schedule a time of day that is solely for you because doing so will help alleviate burnout’s number one culprit — stress.
So carve out 15 minutes of “me time” and make sure that this time is unwavering. Do your best to fit all of your other obligations around this time slot and make it important, uninterrupted, and solely for you. Your burnout phase will be greatly reduced if you can make “me-time” a habit that sticks.
To get more help, answer these important questions.
When it comes to feeling burnt-out, sometimes self-care can only go so far in the hopes of feeling better.
So if you tried all of the suggested self-care ideas above and you are still feeling an overwhelming sense of burnout, answer these questions to help you make the permanent changes that you’re looking for:
- Has your sleeping pattern changed?
- Are you pessimistic while you’re working and at home?
- Are you dragging yourself to work and do you find it difficult to start your job motivated?
- Do you need extra energy in order to be consistently efficient every day?
- Are you lacking the energy to be more productive even on weekends?
- Do you consistently use alcohol and food as a crutch to feel better after work?
If you answered “yes,” to two or more of these questions, you may have to speak to a doctor or mental health care provider, as these symptoms can also be signaling to deeper problems, including severe anxiety or severe depression.
Nonetheless, you can turn your burnout phase around, and it can pass, but only if you put yourself first and get the help that you need.
There you have it. When you are feeling burned out, it is possible to turn things around but know that it will take time. Take things slow and one day at a time, and make patience a practice of yours throughout the process. You can turn things around and I hope these self-care ideas help get you feeling like yourself again!
If you need some more proven self-care ideas to help you feel better, check out these 34 more ways to practice self-care on a daily basis.
Check out, How to Start a Self Care Routine Easily, next!
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Hi, my name is Rebecca and I am the face behind Everything Abode! I am a lifestyle and wellness writer based out of Vancouver Island. When I’m not writing or exploring mountains and beaches with my furry rescue, I love spending time learning creative ways to manifest a healthy home. Thanks for stopping by!
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