Do you feel disillusioned, helpless and drained without any apparent cause?
If you feel a chronic sense of helplessness and find that every situation is a crisis, you may be suffering from burnout. Burnout typically occurs as a state of complete emotional and physical exhaustion often accompanied by anxiety or depression.
In fact, when you are in the throes of a full-fledged burnout, you may find yourself unable to perform on a professional or personal level. Burnout can be hard to spot due to its insidious nature. The condition creeps in silently over weeks and months and finally manifests itself in various adverse ways. The main difference between stress and burnout is the degree to which you experience symptoms (Burnout is far more intense). Awareness of warning signs of burnout makes it easier to avoid.
Let’s take a closer look at three warning signs of mental burnout and the preventative steps that you can take to avoid them.
3 Warnings Signs of Mental Burnout and What You Can Do About It
Increased feelings of cynicism and resentment
If you find yourself snapping at people, disconnecting from loved ones and feeling cranky all the time, you should probably pause and introspect. You may be stuck in a vicious spiral of negative, toxic thoughts that exhort you to work harder and faster. Feelings of inadequacy or helplessness may overwhelm you no matter how long or hard you work.
To prevent this, it’s a good idea to have a good work-life balance in place. Indulge in relaxing activities that help you unwind when you step away from the office. These activities could include spending time with loved ones, playing with your pet or simply taking a quiet walk on your own. Meditation and yoga are also excellent ways to rejuvenate a tired body and mind.
Stress over never-ending work and an overflowing inbox
If you find that work is never-ending and you are constantly racing against the clock, it could mark the beginning of mental burnout. Request for a private meeting with your boss and offer some alternative solutions including reducing or sharing your workload. Intimidating workloads handled over prolonged periods of time can be demoralising and stressful, and can even lead to workplace performance anxiety. A detailed job analysis will help you align your work in line with what you can reasonably handle. Doing this helps keep your mind relaxed and calm.
Unwelcome alterations in eating and sleeping habits
If you find yourself eating significantly less (or sometimes more) than you used to, or suffering from poor sleep, you could be suffering from burnout. If we have gotten ourselves into a habit of constantly eating in front of our laptops, it means we are not allowing ourselves enough time to nourish our bodies. Over time, excessive stress can destroy your appetite and disrupt healthy patterns of sleep. Persistent insomnia is a classic sign of burnout. An overworked mind prevents the body from falling asleep.
Getting enough exercise can help maintain fitness levels while helping us unwind and relax at the same time. Running, jogging, cycling or even brisk walking can help you ventilate your mind and body. Good exercise habits also pave the way for a good night’s sleep. Avoid watching TV or viewing your mobile phone screen late into the night.
Burnout is a state of intense mental, physical and emotional exhaustion caused due to prolonged stress. As a result, you not only feel drained and exhausted but also lose motivation and interest in your personal and professional life. Untreated burnout saps your energy and leaves you feeling resentful and cynical. The undesirable effects of burnout can spill over to every area of our lives; hence, it’s important to deal with burnout right away.
By Greg Redmond, Director Counselling in Melbourne, 2018
This article is for general educational purposes only and should not be relied upon as a substitute for individual professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you need help for an emotional or behavioural problem, please seek the assistance of a psychologist or other qualified mental health professional