What happens when your overachieving personality bites you in the backside? Burnout isn't just a consequence of being Type A, it can come on from taking on too much or being bored. When you're burnt out small tasks have become daunting, your attitude becomes negative, and all of your energy is zapped. This mental health problem is extremely common. In fact, some studies report burnout prevalence rates up to 69% for a given population. This phenomenon is especially present in millennials. A recent study showed that most women are experiencing job burnout before they reach 30. Crazy, right? Here we break down everything you need to know about this pandemic.

What Is Burn Out?

man stressed out

Burnout is used to refer to long-term exhaustion and a reduced interest in work, and it is often compared to depression. While both are similar in many ways, the sole cause of burnout is severe chronic stress and self-sacrifice. Over-commitment without giving proper attention to one's needs is also known to be a cause of burnout. Other possible causes include feeling overworked or under-challenged. Specifically, experiencing a heavy workload or doing monotonous work can take a toll on your mental health.

Unlike depression or anxiety disorder, "burnout" isn't a medical condition, therefore, there is no such diagnosis. That's why is important to check in with yourself and recognize the signs. If left unchecked, burnout can cause strain in your relationships, negatively affect job performance, and wreak havoc on your health.

What's The Difference Between Stress And Burnout?

Although the two are very similar, there are distinct differences between burnout and stress. First, stress is short-term and arises when you feel like work or circumstances are out of control. In other words, stress is a physical response to a stimulus. When the situation changes, stress decreases and disappears. However, burnout is a little different. To explain, burnout takes places over a long period of time. It happens when you disengage with your work and environment and simply go through the motions, which leads to the following symptoms.

Burnout Symptoms

Chronic Fatigue

tired man

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When you find yourself hitting the snooze button more than once and struggling to get out of bed you may be experiencing early signs of burnout. Most days, you will feel completely drained, and lethargic. No matter how much sleep you get, you still find yourself exhausted.

Insomnia

Speaking of sleep, you may have trouble falling asleep or wake up multiple times during the night for more than one night a week. Usually, insomnia stems from restlessness and persistent thoughts. As insomnia persists, you may find your fatigue worsening.

Anxiety

You may notice that you're more worried and tense than usual. Anxiety is a hallmark sign of burnout and can intensify as burnout persists and interfere with work and your personal life. If it becomes debilitating, seek the help of a mental health professional.

Anger

angry man

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Do you have an unusual case of road rage? Are you all of a sudden blowing up on your co-workers? Prolonged stress can cause irritability and even rage. Therefore, it's not uncommon for those with burnout to feel angry. This can result in strife in personal and professional relationships which leads to social isolation.

Loss of Appetite

In the beginning stages, you may notice that you not as hungry or eating less. As burnout persists, your appetite may disappear completely.

Physical Symptoms

Some symptoms may include chest pain, heart palpitations, gastrointestinal distress, shortness of breath, dizziness, fainting, or headache. If you're feeling any of these symptoms, seek the attention of a medical professional.

Decreased Concentration

distracted girl

During the early stages of burnout, you may find yourself re-reading the same page in a textbook over and over again or getting easily distracted while working. Additionally, you may notice that things slip your mind more often.

Increased Illness

Stress causes a weakened immune system. Therefore, you're more vulnerable to infections and cold and flu viruses. Also, you may find it difficult to recover from your illness.

Lack of Productivity

Since you're having a hard time concentrating, you're probably not getting any work done. Despite the pressure and stress, you can't seem to keep up with demands and meet deadlines. If you're noticing a dip in your job performance, then you may be suffering from burnout.

Lack of Motivation and Apathy

disinterested woman

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Not caring about the things that were once important to you is a major red flag. Chronic stress can bring up the sense that nothing matters or that nothing you do is good enough. This could lead to feels of detachment or a disconnect from the people around you and your responsibilities.

How to Prevent Burnout

If you feel like you may be burned out, don't worry, it can be cured. Here are some of the things you should do to recover and prevent it from happening again in the future.

Make Relaxation A Priority

This is the most important step in reversing burnout. Whether it's meditating, painting, listening to music, drawing up a warm bath or watching a funny movie, find something that you enjoy and do it.

Take A Day Off

If you're not focused and disconnected from your work, it's obvious that you need a break. If you have sick days, use them! Did you know that one in five Americans don't take sick days even when they're actually sick? Don't be one of those people. If you need to take a day or two off from work, don't feel guilty about calling in sick. If your burnout stems from taking care of a family member, use these resources to reach out for help.

Create The Perfect Balance

All work and no play make you cranky and tired. Therefore, it's crucial that you create an enjoyable non-work life. What do you like to do for fun? If you thought too hard about that question, you spend way too much time working. Try picking up an exciting hobby or volunteering in your community.

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