Zero motivation and productivity at an all-time low?
After celebrating a new year, it’s so easy to think that somehow we are full of newfound energy and all our anxieties have dissolved away. But in fact, we might be putting unrealistic expectations on ourselves as CNY approaches, and we are invited to multiple social gatherings, or we tell ourselves to set more goals and make the most of our time during the holidays.
If any of this sounds a little too familiar, you might be dealing with the symptoms of burnout.
In our fast-paced, highly-driven society, burnout is more common than ever before. But often, you may be so caught up in striving to achieve, working long hours and taking on more responsibility that you don’t even realize you’re on the brink of burnout until you fall over the edge.
What is burnout?
Burnout is a state of emotional, mental and physical exhaustion caused by chronic stress. It can manifest itself in physical, emotional and cognitive symptoms, and often brings on a sense of cynicism, detachment and hopelessness, as well as a decline in physical and mental performance. When you’re in a state of burnout, it becomes extremely difficult or even impossible to function effectively personally and professionally.
Reaching a state of serious burnout doesn’t happen overnight – it builds slowly over time, which is why it can be so difficult to recognize. However, there are several tell-tale signs to look out for so you can take action before your burnout reaches the breaking point.
Recognizing the signs of burnout
Burnout can manifest in physical illnesses or conditions such as headaches, stomach aches, intestinal issues, rashes, heart palpitations, chest pains, shortness of breath, fainting or dizziness. It can also lead your body to become more rundown, and in turn, more susceptible to catching viruses or infections.
In the early stages of burnout, you may experience feelings of tension, worry, overwhelm, sadness, guilt and negative self-talk. As your burnout progresses, you may end up in a state of severe anxiety or depression, which can critically impede your ability to work effectively or maintain healthy relationships.
You may start by feeling more tired and lacking in energy, but over time, this can develop into complete physical and emotional exhaustion, leaving you struggling to get out of bed or engage in your normal day-to-day activities and responsibilities.
Despite feeling constantly fatigued and lethargic, you may also be struggling to get to sleep and/or stay asleep most nights of the week. As your burnout progresses, you may begin to suffer from nightly insomnia.
Loss of appetite
What may begin as skipping a few meals because you’re not feeling hungry, could develop into losing your appetite altogether, leading to significant weight loss and further lethargy from poor nutritional intake.
Cynicism and apathy
Further negative emotions may begin to take hold in your life, such as feelings of pessimism, apathy and hopelessness. As your burnout progresses, these feelings often intensify and become crippling, stopping you from even attempting simple tasks.
Detachment and isolation
Burnout can leave you feeling disconnected from your work, the people around you and your environment. As such, you may start to remove yourself mentally and physically from your job or other responsibilities. You may also actively seek to isolate yourself and avoid interaction with others.
Increased irritability and anger
This may start as a short fuse or lower resilience when things go wrong, and you may find yourself lashing out unintentionally at the people around you. Increased irritability is an extremely common symptom in the early stages of burnout and can hurt your professional and personal relationships.
Burnout can also manifest itself in cognitive issues, such as lack of concentration or attention, forgetfulness, brain fog and lack of motivation. As your burnout progresses, these issues can become heightened, and your ability to work effectively may suffer, leading to poor performance and low productivity.
How to overcome the symptoms of burnout and start feeling like yourself again
The first step to overcoming burnout is recognizing that your current situation needs to change.
Not only does this mean acknowledging what has triggered your burnout in your external environments, such as a toxic workplace or an unhealthy relationship, but also understanding how to manage and repair the response in your internal environment – physically, mentally and emotionally.
Make small daily changes to reduce your stress levels
This could include such things as setting boundaries around your time and energy, scheduling non-negotiable time each day to switch off and relax, and prioritizing a healthy diet and sleep.
Support your physical health
Your body and mind are inextricably linked. So, to change your mental or emotional state, you also need to change your physical state. A healthy diet, regular exercise and adequate sleep are the first steps to reclaiming your physical health – but you can also provide your body with additional support by leveraging the benefits of adaptogens and neuro-nutrients. These natural supplements work with your body’s internal systems, such as your hormonal and nervous systems, to help you better manage and recover from physical and mental stress. Beams coffee elixirs were developed to offer an easy and convenient way to harness the power of adaptogens in your daily routine, helping you to take control of and support your physical health.
Talk to a professional
You may have a great support network of friends and family who you can lean on in times of need. But, when recovering from burnout, it may help seek support and advice from an external professional, such as a therapist or psychologist, who has a deep understanding of burnout, its impact on your health and the best strategies to overcome it.
Know when enough is enough
No matter what stress management strategies you have in place or how hard you try to adapt to a certain situation, sometimes the only positive step you can take to recover from burnout is to remove the source of your stress completely. When an external stressor cannot be changed or improved, such as a high-stress career or unhealthy relationship, it’s important to know when enough is enough and walk away. No amount of money, career stability or success is ever worth risking your health.
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