Self, Health And Wellness

What Is Burnout & The Symptoms That Are Your Body's Cry For Help

Photo: unsplash / Glodi Miessi
What Is Burnout & The Symptoms That Are Your Body's Cry For Help

When the stress of life becomes too much, it can lead to burnout, which is detrimental to your health.

What is burnout?

Although not a clinical diagnosis, burnout is a phrase describing long-term exhaustion, coupled with a lack of desire, interest, or motivation.

RELATED: Why Do We Get Burned Out & How Should We Deal With It

If you are burned out and exhausted, you feel tired and cynical. You are usually less effective at your job or task at hand.

Burnout is common among professionals. Moreover, it can be a dangerous way to ply your trade.

No one wants to be treated by a burned-out physician. No one wants a burned-out lawyer handling her case. And no one wants a burned-out airline pilot trying to land a plane through tricky cross-winds.

Burnout can be temporary. But if you don’t recognize the warning signs and symptoms and work on stress management, its effects will continue.

Here are 7 burnout symptoms you need to be aware of.

1. Lack of physical energy

Prolonged stress and anxiety are physically draining. Furthermore, if you are stressed out, you tend to have a hard time sleeping and may not eat a proper diet, exercise regularly, or do pleasurable activities.

You then wind up with a situation where cause-and-effect become one and the same. You won’t engage in the very activities that might make you feel more energetic.

2. Emotional exhaustion

As if being tired and lacking in energy isn’t enough, you may feel emotionally tired.

This may manifest as impatience, irritability, moodiness, or uncharacteristic silence and the skills you usually use to cope with day-to-day life are impaired.

3. Bleak outlook

You find it difficult to get excited about life, to expect the best, to not let little things upset you, and to be positive in general.

When suffering from burnout, optimism won’t operate as your antidote to stress. Instead, your bleak outlook feeds stress that you feel like a character in a Charles Dickens’ novel.

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4. Impaired performance at work and in other areas

You make more errors at work. You have a harder time concentrating. You find yourself engaged in more battles with staff, peers, or clients.

You may not even want to get out of bed to go to the office three-out-of-five days during the workweek.

5. Lack of time for family and friends

Are you interacting less with the kids? Getting complaints from your spouse about absences?

Has your workweek increased to 75 hours, leading you to eat poorly, skip exercise, and sleep less, which then feeds back into physical and emotional exhaustion?

6. Troubled interpersonal relationships

Instead of complaints about absences, are you withdrawn or in conflict with your spouse, children or friends? Did the Saturday night poker game with your buddies or the Sunday afternoon recreational volleyball league go away?

Do you feel like you have fewer allies and more enemies than usual?

7. Lowered immunity

Overloading your body with stress can create prolonged periods of "fight or flight" response. This leads to an overdose of certain of your body’s chemicals that in turn compromise your immune system so you may get the flu or a cold easier.

These 7 signs are all interrelated. Moreover, if you find yourself suffering from one of the indicators and digging deeper, you’ll probably see that more elements of burnout are present.

Can you exhibit one or two signs and not be burned out? Of course. Many of us have a poor balance between work and home. It comes with the territory of many of today’s work situations.

Furthermore, we all have periods where we are tired, emotionally drained, or ill. Being off the top of your game isn’t necessarily the same thing as experiencing burnout symptoms.

Nonetheless, if you ponder the issues that each of the seven signs presents, you will find that a little introspection may go a long way towards an understanding of yourself.

Knowing the warning signs may help you ward off a full-blown case of burnout so you can live a healthy lifestyle.

RELATED: How To Know If You Have Parental Burnout (And 6 Steps To Take In Order To Avoid It)

Ann Babiarz is a personal finance specialist who helps clients craft strategic plans for a successful and exciting lifestyle.