Everyone experiences stress from time to time, some more than others. Whether it’s due to generalized anxiety or more day-to-day worries like large amounts of work, it’s essential that people keep track of their mental health and well-being to avoid burnout. Burnout is a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. It occurs when you feel overwhelmed, emotionally drained, and unable to meet constant demands. As the stress continues, you begin to lose the interest and motivation that led you to take on a specific role in the first place.
Burnout reduces productivity and saps your energy, leaving you feeling increasingly helpless, hopeless, cynical, and resentful. Eventually, you may feel like you have nothing more to give. The negative effects of burnout can spill over into every area of life, including your home, work, and social life. Burnout can also cause long-term changes to your body that make you vulnerable to illnesses like colds and flu. Due to its many consequences, it’s crucial to deal with burnout right away. But how do you know when you are experiencing burnout?
Increased Levels of Anxiety
Anxiety can make it feel like seemingly simple tasks, and situations become overwhelming and difficult for you to confront, leading to avoidance and procrastination. Something as simple as making an important phone call can become such a source of anxiety that you put it off, potentially making the situation worse or creating problems that wouldn’t have existed had you simply made the call in the first place.
Everyone experiences some level of anxiety now and again, but individuals who develop burnout will often find that these feelings become more pronounced and frequent. It might even build to a level where they cannot complete work that usually would have been easy or second nature. Anxiety is frustrating to deal with because it can make you feel like aspects of your life are insurmountable challenges and, by the very nature of avoiding them, you’ll make them so. If you’ve found yourself struggling with newly onset anxiety in areas of your life where work has been particularly overwhelming, and it’s gotten to the point of negatively affecting your life, you might be experiencing burnout.
Lack of Sleep and General Fatigue
Two common symptoms of burnout are the inability to sleep and a general feeling of fatigue throughout your day. A rough night here and there isn’t much to worry about, but when they begin to pile up and start to affect your ability to function in your day-to-day life, this can be a severe concern for your work and your health. You will be more likely to make mistakes and slow down in your work when you’re feeling exhausted, and this can make your general burnout even worse.
Lack of Creativity and Purpose
Losing your sense of creativity and purpose can be a depressing experience. The mind is like a muscle, and when it becomes exhausted, there’s only so far that you can push it further before you’re left drained and unable to access these crucial feelings of self-worth. It’s okay to feel a lack of drive from time to time–no one is impervious to periods of creative block and a sense of aimlessness. However, when these feelings stop being an occasional frustration and become a daily struggle, you could be experiencing burnout.
People suffering from burnout often experience a general emotional numbness. On the surface, this might not seem terrible, but in many ways, it is the most extreme and affecting symptom of burnout. It can be incredibly hard to escape this feeling. When you are in the midst of a numb emotional episode, you often lose a desire to escape from it and might even begin to consider this way of being normal.
Feelings of emotional numbness can also contribute to a poor work ethic, and you may find your interest in your work dwindling. Your care for whether or not something gets done can become less of a priority. This can become a vicious cycle, as someone who has been avoiding work due to a lack of care will often disconnect further to avoid confronting their declining output and quality.
A Cynical Outlook
It can be hard to be optimistic about our jobs sometimes. We’ve all been in a place where we look at what we’re doing and feel a sense that it’s pointless or irritating. Some light, occasional cynicism for a laugh is a very different experience than a completely cynical outlook. A person going through burnout might begin to strongly feel that there’s no escape from these feelings of pointlessness, that such feelings are just normal when working, and that things will always feel this way. If this happens, it is a telltale sign you are struggling with burnout that needs to be addressed.
Everyone experiences stress at some point in their lives. However, when this stress continues to build and is not dealt with, it can lead to burnout. Due to the consequences of burnout, it’s crucial to deal with it right away. However, sometimes it can be challenging to spot burnout vs. normal feelings of stress. Five telltale signs you may be struggling with burnout include increased anxiety, lack of sleep and fatigue, lack of creativity and purpose, emotional numbness, and a cynical outlook. If you are struggling with burnout in recovery, Hired Power is here to help. Depending on individual needs, we offer Recovery Care Managers and Personal Recovery Assistants (PRAs) or sober companions who work one-on-one with each client to implement healthy changes as they transition into a life of recovery. When you choose Hired Power’s sober companion service in Orange County, CA, you can feel confident that you’ll engage a qualified team of professionals. To learn more about our services, call us today at (800) 910-9299.