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Are You Suffering from Burnout?

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Burnout is something that seems to come up a lot these days – maybe not surprising, when you consider the changes we’ve been through. Never being able to log off increasingly seems to be the norm.

When work becomes demanding, most of us will do what we can to rise to the challenge; we give it our best and strive to meet our goals. Unfortunately, this work-centric attitude can also be detrimental to your mental and physical wellbeing. When we prioritize work over our personal lives, and cannot strike a healthy balance between the two, we risk experiencing a lot of extra daily stress. This is essentially what burnout is all about: taking on too much, becoming overwhelmed, and then feeling a sense of chronic stress as a result.

But what does burnout actually feel like, and how do we know when we’re experiencing it ourselves? To answer that question, let’s take a look at some of the symptoms…

You’re Feeling Anxious
Occasional, mild work anxiety can be fairly common for many of us. When this anxiety and tension begins to feel overwhelming, and interferes with your work and personal life, it can point to burnout.

You Can’t Sleep
When you’re trying to drift off to sleep, your mind may be racing instead with work-related concerns. If your 9-to-5 is causing you to lose sleep on a regular basis, it could definitely indicate burnout – not to mention insomnia.

Your Symptoms are Physical
When you think about work, do you ever experience pains in your chest, dizziness, an upset stomach or nausea, headaches or even heart palpitations? If so, it may be a sign that burnout is having an adverse effect on your physical wellbeing, too.

You’re Depressed
When work begins to feel overwhelming, this may be accompanied with feelings of hopelessness (“it feels like things will never get better!”) or worthlessness (“I’ll never be good enough for this role.”). As burnout becomes more prevalent, these feelings related to depression may persist.

You’re Completely Drained
Call it chronic fatigue, or like you’re just plain out of gas – either way, when you’re overwhelmed by burnout, it can feel as though you are constantly exhausted, both physically and mentally. This is the kind of exhaustion that arises before your work day even begins – because you’re already dreading what lies ahead.

…And You’re Getting Sick More Often
Stress and anxiety can cause plenty of physical problems as well – including a weakened immune system that makes you more vulnerable to catching colds, the flu, and infections.

When job burnout happens, it can feel demoralizing, stressful and downright exhausting. There are, however, things you can do to help mitigate the negative effects that burnout can have on your life. Staying physical and regularly exercising, meditating, sleeping more often, taking the breaks you deserve, and not taking on extra work are some coping strategies that may help.

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"When work becomes demanding, most of us will do what we can to rise to the challenge; we give it our best and strive to meet our goals. Unfortunately, this work-centric attitude can also be detrimental to your mental and physical wellbeing."

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Stronger Minds content is for informational purposes only, does not constitute medical advice, and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to establish a standard of care with a reader, you should always seek the advice of your mental health professional, physician or other qualified health provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding a medical or mental health condition. If you think you may have a medical or mental health emergency, call your doctor, go to the nearest hospital emergency department, or call emergency services immediately. You should never disregard or delay seeking medical advice relating to treatment or standard of care because of information contained herein. Medical information changes constantly. Therefore the information herein should not be considered current, complete or exhaustive, nor should you rely on such information to recommend a course of treatment for you or any other individual. Reliance on any information provided herein is solely at your own risk.