We all want to do our best at work and at home. However, if we push ourselves too hard or find ourselves in over our heads, it can lead to burnout. Burnout is a condition of chronic stress that stops you from functioning personally or professionally. When you are burned out, your emotional, physical, and mental health all come crashing down. You can feel incredibly overwhelmed and become unable to perform at the level you want.
As humans, we need to take breaks and manage the stress that comes from a busy life. Burnout builds over time, so knowing the signs to look out for is key to recognizing it. Avoiding burnout and taking a break before it hits hard is essential to protecting your emotional, physical, and mental health. If you feel as though you are overwhelmed and under constant stress, consider looking through this list. If you relate to some of these signs, it may be time to take a break.
1. Not Enough Sleep
One of the first signs you might notice on the path to burnout is a lack of sleep. Sleep is essential to protecting our health, as it allows our minds and bodies to relax and recharge. When we are under constant stress, our sleep suffers as our minds spin and can’t shut down. That means that you will add to stress and exhaustion throughout the day. All that added exhaustion adds to the cycle of stress, pressure, and overwhelming feelings.
Doing what you can to improve your sleep cycle is essential to avoid burnout and getting a good night’s sleep. Try going to bed earlier in case it takes you a while to fall asleep. You can also try to increase the comfort and enjoyability of your nighttime routine. Try wearing comfortable, loose clothes, adding extra warm blankets, and, according to Quince, sleeping on silk pillowcases. By making sleep more inviting, you can help yourself manage stress and avoid daily exhaustion.
2. Lack of Motivation At Work and At Home
We all want to do our best in our daily activities. That can include accepting new responsibilities at work, taking care of a family, or staying late in the office. However, when the pressure that comes with these tasks becomes daily stress, you can hurt your health. You will also hurt your own motivation. It might sound backward, but working too hard makes it hard to do good work.
If you start noticing a real lack of motivation at work or at home, it might be a sign of burnout. Even if you have tasks piling up and want to do work, burnout can halt your progress. By noticing that your lack of motivation isn’t a personal failure but is burnout, you can fix your issue correctly. Rather than adding more stress to yourself, take a step back. By taking a break and letting your mind relax, you can gain more motivation.
3. Feelings of Self-Doubt
Often accompanying a lack of motivation are feelings of self-doubt. When we think that stress is getting the best of us, we can take that personally. And since burnout kills your motivation, you can compile even more feelings of self-doubt about your performance. When we can’t perform at the level we want, it leads to negative self-talk and overall feelings of failure. This adds even more stress and makes it harder to avoid burnout.
If you notice that you are being too hard on yourself, it might be time to reevaluate your current situation. Stepping away from stressful situations might seem counterproductive on the surface. However, by taking a needed break, you can clear your mind and avoid negative feelings. Then, when you return to work, you can improve your motivation and confidence. This allows you to better manage stress and your own mental and emotional health.
4. Loss or Gain of Appetite
Stress has an impact on our physical health. One area in which that takes form is our appetite. When we are stressed, our habits around our dietary needs change. People on the path to burnout either find themselves eating not enough or too much. This is because overeating and undereating is a way for us to manage stress while avoiding the main issue.
If you notice major changes in your diet as a result of stress, it could be a sign of burnout. Try setting strict guidelines for your diet to ensure you get just the right amount of food. Don’t let yourself skip meals or add in snacks. By helping your diet remain consistent, you can work towards managing stress. It also helps you avoid negative feelings towards yourself and your habits.
5. Increased Anxiety, Stress, and Anger
Just as some amount of stress from work or home is normal, so are other feelings. Anxiety and anger are emotions that it is healthy to experience from time to time. However, if you notice a strong increase in negative feelings, it can be a sign of burnout. When we are stressed, we express that frustration in different ways. Bouts of temper and panic can be a sign of something more serious like burnout.
Trying to manage negative emotions is easier said than done. Recognizing that your changes in mood are something significant is key to identifying burnout. That allows you to take steps to manage your mood. You can take a break from work and step back from the stress that is leading to negative behavior. You can also try other methods of emotional management like meditation, exercise, or deep breathing.
Giving Yourself the Break You Deserve
Some level of stress from work or our home life is natural. But consistent stress that makes us feel overwhelmed and overworked on a daily basis is unhealthy. In order to protect your emotional, physical, and mental health, you need to take breaks. Otherwise, you can risk burnout, which hurts you and your work and personal efforts. Don’t be afraid to do what’s right for you and take a break or vacation when needed.