You may not be aware that you are suffering from burnout. We have all gone through a traumatic experience dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. Is it burnout? Is it grief? Or are we all just having a really bad hair day?
Now that you are getting back to your usual routine, you may still feel exhausted and overwhelmed by the simplest of tasks. You might get easily angry or frustrated. Self-awareness about your role is key to recognizing physical symptoms of burnout. It might be due to your role at work, your role at home, or both. Life is not easy. So, let’s look at how to recognize burnout symptoms and what your risk of burnout might be.
What is burnout?
According to Psychology Today, burnout is “a state of emotional, mental, and often physical exhaustion brought on by prolonged or repeated stress. Though it’s most often caused by problems at work, it can also appear in other areas of life, such as parenting, caretaking, or romantic relationships.” You might be burned out as you navigate your life in a post pandemic world.
Have you heard the term, “work-life integration”? That’s when you can combine your personal life with your work life. It becomes a balancing act that mixes up your job and home life in a way that works for you and those around you. For example, you might have a doctor’s appointment in the middle of the day. You may leave work early to go food shopping. You may go into work late due to a parent/teacher conference. Accordingly, you make up the time by working later at night at home or working through lunch the next day. You decide how to integrate work-life. It’s more than balance . . . it’s integration.
Burnout has been happening more lately as employees are working remotely from home, making it hard to draw a line between the two. Therefore, rather than drawing the line, integrate the line, so you have enough time for your personal/family life while you get your job done. As a result, your professional quality of life and job satisfaction are both increased while you mitigate burnout.
4 Symptoms or Signs of Burnout
Exhaustion or fatigue is one of the foremost signals that you might be suffering from burnout, especially when coupled with one or more of the other symptoms that I have listed below. Wanting to sleep all the time is one of the symptoms of depression, but it can also be because of fibromyalgia, diabetes, chronic stress, sleep apnea or a thyroid disorder, just to name a few. However, if you are exhausted, have no energy, or find that normal tasks take longer to finish, you might be burned out.
Dissatisfaction or Apathy with Work
We all have days when we don’t really feel like working, but when that happens every day and becomes the norm, then there is a problem. Feelings of wondering what’s the point, not enjoying the work, or just a general feeling of dissatisfaction with the overall job can indicate that it might be time for a change. Rather than suffer through organizational challenges and a stressful job which has been shown to affect mental health and increase job burnout, you can focus on what is in your power to change.
We have all had a headache in our lives. They can really hurt whether they are from hormones, noise, food sensitivities, posture, or even the glare from a computer screen. However, recognize that burnout at work can cause a tension headache. If you are suffering from bad headaches on a regular basis, it could be because of chronic workplace stress due to your boss, coworkers, job tasks, or dealing with others in the workplace. For job satisfaction, you need to be a good fit for your job, have a trusted supervisor, and be accomplishing your goals. Lack of job satisfaction is a headache in and of itself.
Not Sleeping or Eating Well
Burnout can cause changes in your sleep patterns and how well you sleep. It can also cause some people to stop eating a healthy diet. If you are burned out, then you may be too exhausted to stand at the stove and cook a healthy meal. Is there a correlation between bringing home fast food and burnout? Probably!
These are the main symptoms of burnout, so if you are having an issue with one or several, you should take a close look to see if burnout is causing your issues. Talking with a therapist can also help. Our next post will help you with ways to recover from burnout.
Barbara is a leading authority and best-selling author on managing burnout, secondary traumatic stress, compassion fatigue, and vicarious trauma. As a nationally recognized keynote speaker, she motivates audiences to build their resilience and create work-life balance. Her programs help leaders and teams manage workplace chronic stressors and get over burnout at work.
Barbara's newest book, "But I Didn't Say Goodbye: Helping Families After a Suicide", is available now on Amazon - https://amzn.to/2FwS6JI
• Three weeks prior to giving birth to triplets, her father died by suicide. Her story was featured in the Emmy award winning documentary, Fatal Mistakes, Families Shattered by Suicide narrated by Mariette Hartley. Many employees are grieving personal loss. She offers programs for leaders on lost productivity and performance while managing grief at work.
• As a sought-after keynote speaker who has presented to over 500 groups since 1991, including corporations, state and national associations and non-profit organizations, Barbara offers work-life balance strategies for leaders to implement right away. With clarity and humor, her speaking engagements are designed to give audiences powerful and practical strategies of work-life balance, wellbeing, and self-care that can be implemented immediately.
• Barbara is a Board-Certified Expert in Traumatic Stress and Diplomate with the American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress. She received a Bachelor of Science in psychology and a Master of Arts degree in community health, with a concentration in thanatology, both from Brooklyn College.