A guide to identifying and beating burnout


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A burnout is a result of severe stress that leads to severe physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion. It makes everyday lives and activities quite challenging for people. People who are experiencing burnout often lack motivation, they feel like they have nothing left to give and may dread getting out of bed each morning.

Burnout is nothing to shy away from. It is important to address the issue and talk about it. It does not go away on its own and, if left untreated, it can cause serious physical and psychological illnesses like depression, heart disease, and diabetes.

Burnout can make socialising difficult for you, it can create unwanted stress in relationships. It develops due to factors like continuously dealing with an ill family member, working long hours, or witnessing upsetting news. Burnout symptoms are not always easy to spot, but here’s a guide to help you identify the signs of burnout, as well as ways to prevent it.

Some common signs of burnout include:

  • Exhaustion
  • Decreased satisfaction
  • Negativity
  • Isolation
  • Irritability
  • Cognitive difficulties.
  • Frequent illness and health problems like heart disease, obesity, etc.

The stages of burnout

  1. You may start showing too much ambition and pushing yourself to work harder in order to prove yourself.
  2. You will start neglecting your own needs and sacrifice self-care like sleep, exercise, and eating well.
  3. You may refuse to acknowledge that you’re pushing yourself too much and blame others for your situation.
  4. You will likely find no time for anything not related to work.
  5. Denial is noticed when you face a burnout. You may not be willing to take responsibility for the changes in your behaviour.
  6. You also begin to withdraw from family and friends, feeling detached from your life and your ability to control your life.
  7. Inner emptiness or anxiety can be very harmful. It may make you adopt bad habits.
  8. Mental or physical collapse can impact your ability to cope. Mental health or medical attention is necessary.

How to prevent burnout?

While most situations are not in our control, we can prevent a burnout by following these easy steps:

Exercise regularly

Exercise is not only good for our physical health, but it can also give us an emotional boost. Find some time every morning and do simple exercises at home. You may begin by meditating for a few minutes to gain focus. It keeps you active and positive throughout the day.

Eat a balanced diet

Eating a healthy diet is very important. You must consume foods that contain omega-3 fatty acids like walnuts, and fish, which acts as a natural antidepressant and boosts your mood.

Practice good sleep habits

Our bodies need adequate time to rest and reset. A proper sleep routine is essential for people of all ages. Avoid intake of caffeine before bedtime, do not rely on sleeping pills, reduce screen time, dim the lights,  and create an environment that promotes sound sleep hygiene.

Pay attention to your body signals

It’s easy to think that a headache is the result of dehydration, that a stomachache is the result of something you ate, and that an aching neck is from sleeping on it wrong, but that’s not always the case. Oftentimes, aches and pains are an accumulation of stress and anxiety. Burnout manifests in your body, so learn to pay attention to your body’s signals so that you can nip burnout in the bud. Your body is always talking, but you have to listen.

Take regular breaks and relax

If you are waiting to take a break until you feel tired then you may be doing it wrong. Taking breaks will increase productivity and keep fatigue at bay. You may also consider going on a holiday to a weekend trip to rejuvenate.

Ask for help

During stressful times, it is important to reach out for help. A solid support system can help you feel better. Sympathetic family and friends are capable of helping you. Spending time with people who care about you will eliminate the stress from your life.

Being exposed to continual stress can cause burnout. However, you can do a few things to prevent it or stop it from getting worse. Burnout can be avoided by making self-care part of your daily routine. Try going for a walk, talking to a friend, or watching an enjoyable program on television. Remember that the best solution is to disconnect in order to reconnect.