Life is full of stress. The daily to-do lists, responsibilities, people who need us, bills to be paid… the list of possible stressors is endless. A cycle of ups and downs is normal and should be expected, as we all have bad days and even weeks. BUT, if those days and weeks seem to go on for an extended period of time, with little or no relief upon an achieved goal or met deadline, you might be experiencing burnout.
What is It?
Psychology Today defines burnout as, “a state of emotional, mental, and often physical exhaustion brought on by prolonged or repeated stress.” Stereotypically, it is something that occurs at work or due to your job. However, it can also be caused by an overloaded plate in other areas of your life as well. Parenting, household responsibilities, caring for other family members, health issues, etc. can also cause burnout.
How to Spot It
If you are feeling unhappy with your stress level, here are some signs to watch for (symptoms of potential burnout):
Feeling generally disinterested
Increased / unexplained exhaustion
Irritability / mood swings
Any of these symptoms can be caused by normal stress as well. Again, the difference is the length of time in which you are experiencing them, as well as whether or not the symptoms decrease upon reaching a goal or deadline, or removing a specific “stressor”. However, if you think you are experiencing prolonged stress or burnout, it’s not something to be taken lightly. When ignored, burnout can even have serious implications for your physical health such as:
High blood pressure
What to Do About It
To remedy burnout or avoid it altogether, there are a few things you can do. First, seek work that you feel passionate about. Having a true sense of purpose and value can help dramatically. There are understandably times when a job simply needs to get done. You’re not likely going to feel “passion” while cleaning your bathrooms (and maybe you do – I wish I did! ;)). Sometimes you need to go to work each day and do a job that you don’t love in order to bring home a paycheck, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But, you’re less likely to experience burnout if you’re able to find a way to add in something that drives your passions as well. Start a side business, pick up a hobby that you love in your free time, find something that challenges you in a positive, enjoyable way. You never know, it could soon become your fulltime gig!
What ever you decide, I do highly recommend that you establish boundaries. I have found that time blocking is essential for me to give to right amount time to all of my ventures while also being able to be present for myself and my family. That is what I love about my coaching business. I practice the tools that I share with you all.
Lastly, when avoiding burnout, be sure your needs are being met. Rest. Fuel. Enjoy your life. Learn to say “no” when your plate is full. Take a break. Take time off when you need it. Plan a vacation. Prioritizing your mental health and individual needs is not selfish. At the end of the day, remember that you cannot continue to serve others and serve your work if you are burnt out and not at your best.
Cheers to you.