7 Burnout Signs You Shouldn’t Ignore

Do you lack the energy to do the things you once loved? Do you feel like you’re dragging yourself to finish your work?

You may be experiencing burnout. Burnout stems from a variety of factors, like a work-life imbalance or a sense of a lack of control. But it can also emerge in more mysterious ways.

Here are burnout signs that you should never ignore.

You’re anxious about your work

Do you feel like your stress is preventing you from doing good at work?

Feeling anxious before a big test or a major presentation is normal. But if you feel it every day, a constant sense of dread can manifest in more serious ways and lead you towards burning out more quickly. Anxiety can exhibit symptoms like chest tightness, nausea, or even meltdowns—compromising your ability to function at work. If you feel that you’re anxiety persists long after work hours, it may be time to reevaluate how you feel about your job and find things that you can control to provide a sense of stability.

You are an insomniac

What thoughts pervade your head as you fall sleep? Excitement, neutral, dread?

Just like how an animal in the wild can’t sleep when predators are running about, you may find it hard to sleep when you dread what’s coming for you the following morning. According to a BMJ Open study conducted by Arnaud Metlaine and a team of French psychologists, insomnia has a very strong association with burnout. That’s why people who feel burnt out always seem to feel tired and weary. Aerobic exercise helps improve these sleeping habits and clock you more hours of sleep.

Your performance is dipping

Do you feel like you’re not keeping up with the tasks meant for you?

Burnout can be noticeable with how well you do your work. Has there been a considerable decrease in the quality of your work? If you feel like you have a harder time concentrating on your tasks or are starting to lack creativity, you might be experiencing chronic burnout. You can combat this by going on a walk with nature or spending more time to yourself by time-blocking tasks. Alternatively, switching your job or position might be worth considering as well.

You feel drained around people

Does being around coworkers or group partners irritate you?

When work is the only thing in your mind, you can start drifting away from your friends and family. You may start to ensue more conflict at home, irritated at your loved ones because they’re making it hard for you to concentrate on work. You may also be on the verge of breaking down every day — especially if your working environment requires you to be at your best every day. This can make you feel more isolated in the process. To combat this, you should find time to connect with your peers and try to spark connections with them again.

You feel physically ill

Do you feel like you’re starting to develop health problems?

Burnout doesn’t just limit itself to mental duress. It also manifests in our body physically. According to a study by Tarani Chandola, people who’re experiencing burnout run the risk of developing common ailments including diabetes, stroke, and heart disease. People who are on the verge of burning out also have a higher chance to abuse substances — which, in itself, increases the risk of various health issues.

You don’t have time for yourself

Are you constantly bombarded with a neverending stream of tasks?

Working for longer hours every week can take a toll on your physical and mental health. Even if you feel like you have all the energy in the world at the start, the work can slowly engulf you and wear you down. You can prevent crashing and burning by taking a breather and spending some time zoning off from work. Going to a park, playing with your pets, and calling your friends in your downtime can be a refreshing pick-me-up between your work. 

You have a pervasive unhappiness

Are you happy with your work?

No matter how much you’ve been praised by your managers and coworkers at work, if you feel burnt out, all these words will feel hollow and meaningless. Burning out can lead to severe exhaustion and depression, which can affect the life you live outside of work. Thankfully, it’s reversible. By changing your environment, you can unplug and cultivate a better non-work life with the things you’re passionate about.

Closing Thoughts

Do you relate to any of the signs above? Are you feeling burnt out?

Let us know in the comment section below. That’s all for now Psych2Goers.

References

Metlaine A, Sauvet F, Gomez-Merino D, et al Association between insomnia symptoms, job strain, and burnout syndrome: a cross-sectional survey of 1300 financial workersBMJ Open 2017;7:e012816. DOI: 10.1136/BMJ open-2016-012816

Chandola, T., Brunner, E., & Marmot, M. (2006). Chronic stress at work and the metabolic syndrome: a prospective study. BMJ (Clinical research ed.), 332(7540), 521–525. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.38693.435301.80

LearnVest (April 2013) 10 Signs You’re Burning Out — And What To Do About It. Forbes. Retrieved at https://www.forbes.com/sites/learnvest/2013/04/01/10-signs-youre-burning-out-and-what-to-do-about-it/?sh=41445952625b

Gariola, V. (Oct 2018) 9 Signs of Burnout (and What You Can Do About It). Readers Digest. Retrieved at https://www.readersdigest.ca/health/conditions/burnout-signs-never-ignore/

MayoClinic (June 2021) Job burnout: How to spot it and take action. Retrieved at https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/burnout/art-20046642

Scott, E. March 20, 2020. Burnout Symptoms and Treatment. VeryWellMind. Retrieved at https://www.verywellmind.com/stress-and-burnout-symptoms-and-causes-3144516

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