12 major signs of burnout

And how to avoid it

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Burnout is when your body is severely stressed, both physically and emotionally. It is your body and minds way of saying stop what you are doing and start making changes. It’s not like burnout happens overnight and often the signs start to appear subtly. Signs of burnout are appearing in younger adults, with many experiencing burnout signs as young as 30 years old.

Burnout is more common in certain personality types such as high achievers and perfectionists. These personalities tend to put enormous pressure on themselves and often take on more than they can handle, but lack the ability to recognise it. Often it is family, friends or work colleagues who notice signs of burnout first and can help by pointing out some of these signs.

  • Insomnia. In the early stages of burnout, sleep may be disrupted for a few nights here and there but as stress levels increase, the ability to fall asleep, stay asleep and have quality sleep are all affected.
  • Preoccupation with work. Being dedicated to the job is one thing but when you cannot relax and cannot stop thinking about what work you should be doing, it is a sign you are heading down the path of burnout.
  • Conflict at home and work. When the small issues are turning in big concerns and anger results, it is a major sign that the body is feeling stressed. When this behaviour is not normal, family, friends and work colleagues become aware of the change in moods and this should ring alarm bells that something is wrong.
  • Forgetfulness. Lacking focus and forgetting important events or meetings, is a warning sign of burnout. If this is left untreated, this will result in poor quality work and a decrease in work performance.
  • Depression. This may begin with mild depression or sadness but often leads to feelings of immense guilt and worthlessness due to decreased performance levels. With any form of depression, medical advice is essential.
  • Lacking motivation. When you are struggling to get out of bed or no longer feeling enthusiastic about work, this lack of motivation is a major sign of burnout.
  • The negative starts to outweigh the positive. If you are normally a glass half full person but lately everything seems to be half empty, it’s time to look into whether you are suffering burnout. The power of the mind can turn exhaustion into negativity and that only leads to a downward spiral.
  • Not taking care of yourself. Often unhealthy coping skills come into play like excessive drinking, smoking or unhealthy eating start to become the norm and this often results in a weakened immune system resulting in illness.
  • Loss of appetite. Any dramatic change in appetite should be looked at by a medical expert. It is common to have a reduced appetite when the body is stressed but when loss of appetite is combined with a lack of sleep and depression, it is a disaster waiting to happen.
  • Exhaustion. When the simple, every task like showering or making a coffee become challenging, fatigue has overtaken the body and mind and burnout is inevitable.
  • Believing nothing is ever good enough. The harder you work, the more you start believing that you will never achieve your goals or live up to other people’s expectations.
  • Disinterested in being around others. When being around people, including friends and family, seems like a chore and holds no enjoyment, it can be a sign of burnout.

I had a major burnout just over a year ago, something I didn’t see coming. I knew I was feeling negative and angry all the time but I thought it was simply because I was busy and needed to relax. I was unaware of what it was doing to my body and mind until I finally accepted what was happening and took steps to turn things around.

It took a professional to get me back on track, something I am so grateful for getting the right help. Sometimes we are just NOT OK and that is OK but there is nothing wrong with getting a little help to get you back on track.

Have an awesome day

Linking up with Kylie for IBOT & Honest Mum

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