Burnout is the state of physical and emotional exhaustion. Burnout comes from chronic stress, where the demands on you exceed the resources you have available to deal with those stressors.
Here’s some expert tips from those who identify it and have been there themselves:
Being burned out at work comes with serious exhaustion. We’re not talking about the kind of tired that can be fixed by sleeping in on the weekend. This can be mental, emotional, or physical exhaustion. This is about the sense of never having enough energy. Everything is so much harder to accomplish when you’re unbelievably tired.
Thinking About Work When You’re Not There
Even if you’re not there at the moment, the stress of being burned out and without enough resources means that you’re obsessing over work when you shouldn’t be, which then interferes with your ability to step away from the actual living you do (or should be doing!) outside of the workplace.
Also not shocking is that you don’t feel much of anything. No highs, no lows, no passion for either your work or anything in general. The usual hobbies and past times no longer interest you. You feel less pride, less motivation, and less enthusiasm.
Extra Cynicism or Anger
It can be something little that leads you to lose your temper in the workplace. Perhaps it’s the extra frustration, or the extra anger that erupts at something small. If your work doesn’t feel like it matters anymore, or you feel disillusioned with everything. Maybe a coworker, spouse, or friend has noticed you feeling more pessimistic that you usually do. While everyone has negative thoughts from time to time and no one leads a perfectly happy life, it’s worth noticing when it’s becoming different from your past behavior.
Your Work is Slipping
Thinking about something all the time means you’re better at it, right? Wrong. Remember that when you’re exhausted, you’re running on bad decisions, and you don’t feel much of anything- including motivation. That’s why it’s not shocking that people who are burning out have some of the worst productivity rates. For instance: writing an email used to take two minutes, but the same email now takes closer to an hour.
Not Taking Care of Yourself
Unsurprisingly, not feeling rested and constantly stressing out about work means that your decision-making process on other everyday things has slipped. It’s been well documented that humans should limit decision-making. This is the same reason that Steve Jobs wore the same thing every day – decisions are taxing. After a long day, your brain isn’t in good shape to choose the vegetables over the fried food. Left to burnout too far and this one aspect can lead to self-medicating or indulging in escapist behavior. This can include excessive drinking every night, smoking, having an affair, spending money recklessly.
If any of these symptoms sound like you, it might be time to recharge. Please check out our next post, about how to recover from burnout.